Viget keeps its creative workforce connected with Chromebox for meetings

Editor's note: Today we hear from Andy Rankin, co-founder and president of Washington, D.C.-based tech software design agency Viget. Read about how Viget, an early Google for Work adopter, uses Chromebox for meetings to create a single team across time zones, increase employee retention and save $40,000 a year.

My brother Brian and I founded Viget in 1999. The internet was just taking off and we wanted to be a part of it. Since then, our talented designers and software engineers have tackled projects like overhauling a wildlife nonprofit’s online presence and optimizing a news organization’s 2016 Presidential Election media coverage. We’ve grown to more than 60 employees, and Chromebox for meetings allows our remote employees and three offices to work together seamlessly. It’s part of creating a unified company culture that thrives on sharing creative ideas.

We were early adopters of Google technology. When we started migrating to the cloud in 2008, we switched to Gmail. Using Google Apps was a natural next step as we grew the agency, and now we use Apps daily — to write contracts in Google Docs, allocate people’s time using Google Sheets and create client presentations in Google Slides.

We started using Chromebox for meetings the day the product launched in 2014. We built our first videoconferencing tool in-house in 2011, but it was too expensive to maintain. By switching to Chromebox, we save $40,000 each year. We also save time: we spent 300 hours building and maintaining our in-house tool over the course of a few months; now with Chromeboxes, I spend 15 minutes each week. Unlike other solutions, Chromebox turns on in seconds. It syncs with everyone’s Gmail accounts and calendars. There’s no dial-in to look up or minutes wasted logging on. And as both Viget’s president and sole IT person, this ease is incredibly valuable for me. So much so, that today, we have 11 Chromeboxes and plan to buy more as we continue to grow.

Our designers and developers work in tight-knit teams, so getting facetime with one another is important. Chromebox and Google Hangouts allow our teams to meet for scheduled check-ins and impromptu brainstorms. Most teams have a mix of employees from different offices, so they rely on these tools for all their communication. They also help us build relationships with our remote colleagues. Trevor from Charleston joins video Hangouts with his dog Newman. Sometimes, Kansas City-based Kelly’s two-year-old daughter sits on her lap during meetings so we can say hello.

Chromebox has one unexpected but important benefit: employee retention. As any creative agency knows, the competition for talent is fierce, and keeping great people is our top priority. So when a trusted employee tells us she plans to move to a new city or start working from home several days a week, we give her the flexibility to work remotely rather than find a new job.

Teamwork is at the center of our agency’s growth. Chromebox for meetings and Google Apps make it easy to work closely together on creative projects and develop strong relationships from anywhere. Seeing people’s faces every day makes us feel closer as a company, and the ease of communication helps teams to do their best work.