Working Together While Apart: Why We Invested in Friday
One out of every three American workers is still completely remote, with another 25% sometimes remote in what we now know is very much the new normal for the U.S. workforce.
Some are still stunned that this shift hasn’t drastically impacted efficiency, with 94% of employers reporting corporate productivity is the same – if not greater – than it was before the pandemic.
Still, the skepticism surrounding remote work lingers, with 41% of managers agreeing with the statement “I am skeptical as to whether remote workers can stay motivated in the long term,” according to HBR.
The likely continuation of a remote workforce, alongside the movement towards a more location-flexible or hybrid approach, puts these organizational leaders in a precarious position of balancing trust in their teams with high expectations of communication and output – all without being overbearing.
As Underscore continues to invest in the future of work, the solution we’re most excited about in this space is Friday – an app that is proving its value by increasing employee productivity, communication, and output for remote teams. Today, we’re proud to announce we’re supporting Friday’s growth with our participation in its $2.1 million round of funding, led by Bessemer Venture Partners.
Here are a few of the reasons we’re excited to be investing in Friday.
Solving an Issue Ahead of its Time
While the COVID-19 crisis certainly expedited the move to remote-friendly working, the team at Friday had the foresight to acknowledge the inevitable. The Founder, Luke Thomas, inspired by his own challenges working remotely, created a solution for remote pains while the phenomenon was still in its relative infancy.
Make no mistake, the need for Friday’s asynchronous remote work platform pre-dates the pandemic. While we’ve seen a forced acceleration of technology to ensure business continuity, the hunger for creating team synchronicity has been a constant factor driving Friday’s growth. It’s also what’s been driving our excitement for the company’s future since 2019.
The product, which resembles a shared work journal and planner, allows team members to give and receive status updates, and for managers to align their employees with goals and reporting.
For a seamless introduction into the daily routines of new users, Friday integrates with popular team messaging apps like Slack and Microsoft Teams, alongside project management tools like Trello and Asana, to make user adoption simple and immediate.
Friday’s relevance – and the tangible results it drives – have resulted in an already stellar lineup of early adopters. Thousands of teams at leading organizations like Twitter, LinkedIn, Quizlet, Red Hat, EA, 10up, and others are benefitting from Friday.
A Suite of Remote-Friendly Features
Friday’s app is equipped with tools to ease the disconnect that happens when teams are no longer working together in the same room. The ones we were most excited about include:
The daily planner allows individuals to roadmap their day and see their meetings, tasks, and goals in a single view. This helps create a structure that is lacking when working remotely.
Automated Status Updates
For the employee worried about their contributions not being seen or valued and unsure of how to make their accomplishments known is the routines tool. This feature can be controlled by a team leader to share regular updates – and based on permissions, these accomplishments can be shared with the team or company at large.
With its integration with communication tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams, these updates are shared immediately when completed in Friday. Instead of spending time in status update meetings and experiencing Zoom fatigue, Friday helps teams accelerate meaningful discussions in meetings, because the updates are done and out of the way.
Physical distance has resulted in severe social disconnect from peers at work, but Friday’s power-ups break down some of the barriers that occur when close proximity is not an option.
Users can track goals and offer up ideas to the company at large, and more informally, they can give coworkers kudos and answer icebreaker questions – all in a running activity stream for each person.
Friday is actionable – and we love that.
As much as the product emphasizes the human connection element missing from so many distributed teams, the app boasts powerful reporting capabilities to quantify work, productivity, and employee sentiment.
Through automatic reports, stakeholders can see aggregate responses and trend reports to important team questions. The feature is valued by customers like Blake Wittman of GoodCall Recruiting, who says, “Friday allows us to action small issues before they become big ones. I can also see month by month what is the mood of the company.”
People We Connected With
Friday’s product is all about engaging with others, so it’s no surprise that their people who brought the product to life are entrepreneurs you want to cheer for and help succeed.
We became acquainted with the Friday team thanks to Underscore Core Member John Short. When we started speaking with the minds behind the product, we were impressed by their vision, their experience, and their grit.
Founder Luke Thomas is a seasoned expert in the startup realm, having previously headed up product and growth at multiple companies. He began working on Friday full-time back in October of 2019.
For those interested in trying Friday, they can try it out for free or explore the remote work guides available on their website! And, as always, feel free to let us and the Friday team know how it transforms your remote experience.