Managing a Remote Team for Meyer Hatchery

My name is Meghan Howard and I am the website manager for Meyer Hatchery. As the website manager, I am responsible for a variety of things, including the e-commerce website itself, SEO, digital content such as product descriptions, photographs, the blog, help desk articles, all social media channels, as well as digital customer service with our customers via chat and email. Basically, if it’s online, it’s under my umbrella. I started working for Meyer Hatchery over the summer of 2016 and was the first remote team member (I actually live in Missouri!). Since then, I have added an additional 7 team members that are employed year-round in 3 different states and are adding on additional team members for our extended chat and email hours during the busy season.

My management style is a little different than your typical manager. I have a background in Holacracy and use this management style with the remote team. I am a team leader, not a boss. We collaborate, we learn and we grow together. We use a variety of technological resources to stay connected, such a video and chat communication. We meet every other week for team meetings and I meet with everyone on a weekly basis for a one-on-one. We talk about what’s challenging them, what are our customers asking for, what are their goals, and life. Everyone sets their own schedule and enjoys a lot of flexibility in the workspace.
Because technology is such a huge part of our jobs, a high technical aptitude is an absolute requirement. You also have to be a fast learner, be excellent at all forms of communication, and be a highly motivated self-starter. Another requirement I have because of the industry is an ownership and love of poultry! With this experience, we are able to authentically talk poultry with our customers. Many of the pictures you see on our social media, blogs, and product photographs are pictures of birds from Meyer Hatchery that we own and took ourselves.

The best parts of my job? As a single mother, I enjoy the flexibility and the ability to simultaneously be here for my family as well as provide for them. I love that as long as I’m connected, I can do my job. This means I may be working on my back porch watching the dogs play in the yard, I might be at a coffee shop to get a change of scenery, I might be in Ohio working from one of the remote team member’s homes. I also love working with this awesome group of people. I love watching them learn and grow. They spend every “working” minute being creative, getting things done, and bettering Meyer Hatchery.
I asked the remote team to also share their thoughts on the best parts of working remotely for Meyer Hatchery. Here are their answers:
Jess: There are so many aspects of my position with Meyer Hatchery that I find to be exciting.  First is the technology aspect. I get to work in a field that is newer, that being a remote worker.  Being able to understand and put this technology to work for the company is really great. Second, I get to be creative and help propel Meyer Hatchery forward, mixing technology with creativity.  This job allows me to be home with hours that fit my schedule, and I can in turn work towards growing our homestead. Lastly, I get to work with like-minded people (yay! Chickens!) and be a part of something truly special.  
Amanda: I absolutely love the flexibility of being able to work from home as I am a mother of three.  But I also love the challenge of it. You really need to be self-motivated in order to succeed. I really enjoy being able to work with a great group of people with such an amazing ability to use our talents for the betterment of this company.  I have gained and continue so many skills within my position. I love that there is always room for growth and new opportunities. I also really enjoy getting to share my poultry knowledge with the great wide internet!
Sarah: Apart from learning something new every day about poultry, my favorite part of my job is being able to use my creative side.  I’ve enjoyed learning fun graphic design tools that have allowed me to create fun graphics for social media, and also working with a very creative and talented team on fun contests and giveaways.  The other great aspect of the remote team position is the flexibility in my schedule and being able to work literally anywhere. As my fellow remote team members know, I am one to work from the car on the way to vacation, or even outside as I watch over the chicken yard.  I’m not sure if my friends and family love that I talk chicken as much as I do, but I know when I come to work I am around people who will talk chicken with me all day long!
Elizabeth: There are quite a few aspects of my position with Meyer that have proven to be a great fit for me.  The flexible schedule really helps juggle my own toddler, and I am also available to help my mother-in-law with her busy schedule of being a foster parent to 5 kids. I left my full-time “dream job” to be home with my baby more, and I wouldn’t have thought my little chicken hobby would have turned into a job where I can do productive work and still contribute financially. The knowledge I have gained has also been invaluable, not just tons of chicken knowledge, but also about social media management, graphic design, website management, and blogging. On a personal note, I also truly enjoy my remote team members who love chickens, work hard and get ‘er done!
Molly: My favorite part of working at Meyer Hatchery remotely is the awesome people I work with! We have so many things in common- CHICKENS, homesteading, parenting, and more. My other favorite thing about working from home is that there is no travel to and from work, and when it is break time I get to spend it with my family (and chickens). I often find myself collecting eggs or refilling waterers during breaks. There are so many things that I enjoy about this position which the others have mentioned, but these are the things that come to the top of my mind as the best 🙂
Marie: My favorite things about working remotely for Meyer Hatchery is the flexible schedule and the chance to help our customers learn more about chicken keeping. I also enjoy the chance to use my research and writing skills to grow the blog and bring great content to our customers. But my very most favorite thing about working remotely is that I save a TON of money not having to buy work clothes and gas to commute to an “in office” job!

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