What does it take to make remote work wonderful? Outschool, a virtual learning company, knows something about overcoming physical separation to make teamwork work. Both their product (a virtual marketplace for small classrooms) and their company (with a team fully distributed across various time zones) rely on virtual collaboration and the technology that makes that possible.
Jim Blomo, Outschool’s Head of Engineering, spoke with us about how Clockwise is helping relieve the headaches that all too often come with schedule management, especially when working remote. Blomo has been using Clockwise for years, so naturally, we were eager to hear how he and his team use it day-to-day.
“Calendaring, which I believe should be a verb, has always been a little bit frustrating — and the idea behind Clockwise made a lot of sense to me really quickly,” he said.
Blomo first started using Clockwise at a previous workplace, where his calendar had become quite overwhelming. Even with the help of an executive assistant, he still found Clockwise hugely beneficial. “Clockwise has always helped fill in the gaps,” he explained. And when he left that company for a position without an assistant, that’s when he found that “having Clockwise there was essential — and really helpful.”
Fast forward to May 2021. When Blomo joined Outschool, he was delighted to see a few other Clockwise users. “Those other users were excited that I was a user and asked me if I could figure out how to buy a license,” Blomo said. “And I was excited to support the company, build a closer relationship, and see what kind of enterprise offerings there were. And so I reached out, went through that process, and we are a happy customer now.”
Finding the most optimal meeting arrangement can be difficult, especially when there are so many factors at play, but Outschool’s team lets Clockwise take that task off of their hands, which frees up more time and energy for them in the long-run.
For Blomo, Clockwise is the fulfillment of the wish, “If only you could shuffle things around to make room…”
When asked about the challenges Clockwise helps solve, Blomo said, “It was a matter of all of the different cadences in which meetings could take place and wanting to fit time in my schedule that could theoretically work. You know, if only you could shuffle things around to make room for some more ad hoc meetings, meetings on a different cadence, and especially one-on-ones often being flexible within the week. And so that all just fit in well with being able to reshuffle the calendar.”
Another challenge Clockwise helps solve: Coordinating meeting times with employees who live in different time zones. “We are a fully distributed company, so we have folks across all time zones in the US and Canada, except for Hawaii,” Blomo said. “So being able to have that taken into account for meetings — and being confident that if things get reshuffled, they do get reshuffled within working hours — is helpful.”
Respecting other people’s time zones is just one way Clockwise is making the scheduling process more streamlined. “Being able to quickly find slots that work to minimize loss of Focus Time or gaps in the schedule and that respect the other person's schedule has helped me schedule more quickly and with confidence,” Blomo said. “And having the UI baked into Google Calendar means that I can use both of those feature sets seamlessly.”
Outschool knows from firsthand experience the value of virtual collaboration. Outschool first launched their virtual marketplace for small classrooms in 2015. Since then, they’ve seen enormous success as parents began to rely solely on virtual means of education.
Blomo shared with us his thoughts about the future of work. “Outschool provides virtual classes for kids and that enables kids to have experiences they wouldn't normally be able to have. And similarly, we're working remotely now and we're able to hire people in places and time zones that we normally wouldn't as a smaller startup in one city. Clockwise is a big part of making that happen. There was a wave of physical offices being a differentiator for companies. And I believe that the virtual office and the tools that a company provides in order to make virtual work wonderful is going to be one of the differentiators going forward.”