Offering clients the ability to take their businesses anywhere
WHO are you?
Natalie Ruiz, CEO at AnswerConnect, an award-winning executive, a mentor, a published writer, a repeat podcast contributor, a speaker, a thought-leader on remote work, and a working mom.
WHAT did you do?
Starting back in 2007, I helped lead my company, which provides answering service to small and mid-sized businesses, through the transition from our brick and mortar office in Portland, Oregon to its current state - a global enterprise with over 1,000 employees who work from their home offices all over the world and support our clients 24/7/365. We also have developed our own software to support our global remote workforce.
HOW did you do it?
It is said that necessity is the mother of invention, and this was true for us. We were running out of space in our office. We had choices to make: buy a bigger building and install more cubicles, or take a leap and try something new. Fortunately for us, technology was coming available to make our leap to remote work possible. We started out small - with just one remote worker! We set up an office for her above a dry-cleaning business that was near our office. Not only were we experimenting with the technology and logistics of the transition, but we were also working through our own perceptions and assumptions about work at a distance.
From one remote employee, we moved to transition teams and eventually entire departments. We recognized along the way that there was a deficit when it came to the right tools to connect distributed teams. Initially, we used multiple existing applications to have video calls, direct messages, and create team collaborations, but eventually, we decided to build our own software. At the time, we were one of the first companies of our kind to make the transition, and the off-the-shelf solutions didn't hit the mark for us.
Not only do we utilize our own tools to support and connect with our staff around the world, we are now able to offer our clients the ability to take their businesses anywhere - and we give them the technology, the tools and the support they need to thrive.
WHEN did you start your company?
AnswerConnect was founded in 2002. I joined the company in 2006, and we began our transformation to remote work in 2007.
WHY are you innovating with this product or service?
With our move to being a fully distributed company, we have seen measurable positive impacts on our triple bottom line: people, planet and prosperity. I want to be able to offer these wins to more businesses. On the people front, we are able to provide a superior product to our clients. We’re staffed 24/7/365 with team members who love their jobs, have flexibility and balance in their work and tend to stay with our company for much longer than when everyone commuted to a physical office each day. This comes through in the service our company provides.
Remote work allows for a different approach to so many aspects of a business. When it comes to the impact on employees - including recruiting, onboarding, training, career-mapping, schedule flexibility, etc - the wins have been massive. Our workforce is more diverse, inclusive and equitable because of this model. The wide net we can cast for talent acquisition ensures we are bringing the best talent - not the closest. It also means we have the benefit of employees from varied backgrounds and geographies. The flexibility of scheduling and location mean that working parents, caregivers, military spouses and people with physical disabilities have the same opportunities to grow and ascend as anyone else - this is important to me.
With our focus on the planet, AnswerConnect is committed to not only lowering our carbon footprint by allowing employees to work from anywhere, we are also planting trees each month. As of this writing, we are up to nearly 250K trees planted around the world. We are all going to spend a great deal of our lives working. It is essential that I am pouring myself into something that matters.
WHERE are you from?
Portland, Oregon USA
Company Website: https://www.answerconnect.com/
Company LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/answerconnect
Personal LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nataliesanywhere/
Personal Website: https://linktr.ee/natalieruiz