Apptelic - making the most of on-line collaboration
After years of experience in visual media Philip and Sharon Hopkins started Apptelic, an innovative video app and software company in the heart of picturesque Lymington. Apptelic creates bespoke media player applications and licensed software for clients across the EU and the US. With an impressive list of customers ranging from one of the largest TV channels in America – CBS to Sweden’s SVT and Norway's NRK, Apptelic seamlessly manages and delivers global projects.
Apptelic is also innovative in their approach to online collaboration, which proves that teams can work closely together from several, even distant locations. With a weekly meeting in Apptelic’s head office in Lymington, team members exchange ideas through Skype, manage projects through Basecamp and share documents in Google Drive the rest of the time. All from several remote locations across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight
Philip believes that you can have a close-knit team working from different locations:
‘We usually meet once a week to discuss projects and the rest of the time everyone works from home. The team members often choose their own hours and it has worked really well. We are all available to contact each other within specific times but as long as the projects are delivered on schedule it doesn’t mean that they have to be at their laptops from 9 to 5.’
As the company often serves global projects, flexibility also works both ways:
‘Recently we’ve worked on a streaming feed for the NBA in America with games starting at 11pm at night (in the UK) and as we all are open to mixing up our hours, being available at that time wasn’t a problem. More importantly, we were able to immediately address the client’s queries, which wouldn’t be possible if we worked standard office hours.’
Flexible working also stimulates creativity: ‘Some of our programmers might get a great idea in the middle of the night, which will then have a significant and positive impact on the project. They are more likely to pursue it if they know that they won’t have to be up at 6am to commute to work.’
Philip is happy to allow his staff choose their own hours and their constant engagement outweighs the benefit of the staff being in the office every day. ‘Some of our team members would have to commute for over 2 hours. Then when they would finally arrive at the office they would be exhausted. I think that other employers (in our field) who are not utilising what on-line collaboration has to offer really miss out and are not getting the most out of their staff.’
The benefits of a more flexible approach are also apparent in the team’s high spirits, below are just a few of their comments:
‘Choosing your own hours allows us to do more for ourselves and pursue hobbies that would otherwise be unavailable, whilst still making the most of the job that we love.’
Additionally: ‘All of the stores, doctors surgeries and banks are open from 9 till 5, it is great that you don’t need to take a day off just to deal with everyday errands.’
‘For me it is also great to avoid the stress of commuting. Why would you want to travel at the time when all of the roads and trains are the most congested? Especially if you can talk to your team and exchange ideas at any time on-line. ’
Naturally none of that would be possible without a reliable Internet connection.
Philip and Sharon’s own local broadband cabinet in Hordle has recently been enabled with superfast broadband through the Hampshire Superfast Broadband Programme and already Philip has noticed a game-changing improvement.
‘As a software developer, a reliable connection and an increased upload speed is crucial. I am consistently working on code from home and it is essential that the changes that I make can be uploaded and shared with the rest of the team as soon as possible, as any code modification can also affect the work of others. With the improved superfast connection I can now upload newer versions quickly and I can work much more freely without having to worry about the unreliable connections. ‘
‘And the Skype connection finally doesn’t drop off in the middle of the creative process’ added Sharon.
Philip sees Superfast Broadband as the absolute key for the future of software and digital fields: ‘Superfast Broadband is crucial for the future of our business and others alike. Thanks to the improved connection we can now work on global projects without constant flights and instantly exchange ideas at anytime and from anywhere’.