How Otter.ai Is Helping Companies Transition to Remote Work and Distributed Teams

. 10 min read

According to research from Global Workplace Analytics, the number of US employees working remotely increased by 44% in the last five years. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, this trend has only increased. Some of the largest companies in the world, including Twitter, Facebook, and Google are transitioning to remote work with distributed teams. Though it may seem like a temporary shift, all signs point to a permanent move toward work-from-home businesses. Fortunately, Otter.ai is helping companies transition to remote work and distributed teams.

Remote Work All In One Place

When moving to a remote workplace, the immediate problem is: everything and everyone is spread out. Employees need to coordinate with each other from a distance, companies lack a centralized location to conduct business, and managers need to oversee projects through multiple communication channels. Without the right tools, this situation can lead to confusion, frustration, and inefficiency.

Thankfully, Otter.ai doesn’t just store information; it creates a virtual work environment in which your business can thrive, even when you’re working with remote, distributed teams. Let’s take a look at how actual users are using Otter.ai!

Quickly pull up info from the past, current, and future projects

Otter.ai makes it easy to pull up stored information with the click of a button. Whether you have year-old transcriptions that you want to cite in an upcoming presentation or notes you’d like to review from last week’s meeting, you can easily access all of this data with Otter.ai. Here’s what one satisfied user, Heather Applegate, had to say about Otter.ai’s accessibility:

It [Otter] is a way for me to quickly look through everything. Let's say the people I was working with sell candy. I want to know about chocolate, so I would just quickly click through and see who all talks about chocolate and then tap on that actual keyword so that it pulls it up." - Heather Applegate, UX Design Lead

Focus on essential data with summaries, keyword highlights, and precise quotes

You can’t give effective presentations or analyze data without staying organized. Otter.ai allows users to keep track of pertinent information via content summaries, keyword searches, and accurate transcriptions. Here’s what Jeremy Brodeur had to say about using Otter.ai to analyze hours of audio content:

“Once we found the quotes, we only needed to quickly listen to the file, follow the highlighted text as the audio played, and make transcription corrections as needed...it was much faster, easier to store, and easier to share...when you’re sorting through hours of dialogue, it makes returning to key quotes as easy as flipping to a page in a book.” - Jeremy Brodeur, UX Designer

Cut out the confusion by consolidating your work channels

If your business needs to transition to remote work and distributed teams, you’ll need to consolidate your work channels. Using dozens of platforms not only creates logjams with workflow, but it can also complicate file sharing. Sharing text, audio, or video files in different formats makes it difficult for distributed teams to access vital info.

Otter.ai has a UI that puts the user first. You won’t need to wade through a million channels to find what you need. Instead, you can customize your folders as you see fit and find what you’re looking for with a simple word search.

With Otter.ai, all of your company’s notes, transcriptions, presentations, and projects are stored in one place. Your content-sharing takes place within the same platform, which provides maximum protection and file encryption. You don’t have to switch between different programs and risk losing important data in the process. Here’s what Heather Applegate had to say about the benefits of consolidating with Otter.ai:

“I can go in and highlight and clip certain quotes, which really helps out, and then you can even export those and it's like magic. I'm not having to jump in and out and make all these contextual switches between Otter and an Excel spreadsheet.” - Heather Applegate, UX Design Lead

Get quality work done from anywhere

Transitioning to remote work doesn’t mean that all of your employees will work from home. In fact, many employees may need to travel and work from new locations all the time. At Otter.ai, we understand that remote jobs require tools that are adaptable to just about any work environment.

For this reason, Otter.ai uses high-quality recording and transcribing technology. Let’s say you’re out in the middle of nowhere and need to conduct a conference call. You can count on Otter.ai to provide accurate transcriptions of the meeting, even with sound interference and limited connectivity. Here’s what Paul Rogers had to say about working with Otter.ai in different locations:

“I’ve been stunned at how good Otter is at picking up audio when I’m in a cafe or use a microphone that belongs to the cell phone. I found it really versatile and effective.” - Paul Rogers, Freelance Management Consultant

Distributed Teams Run Smoothly

Otter.ai isn’t just about consolidating remote work to one place. We also want to make sure that your distributed teams can function seamlessly — as if you were all in the same room. That’s why we design our software to include real-time updates, user-friendly mechanics, accurate transcriptions, and a wide variety of features to meet your needs. So, let’s take a closer look at how Otter.ai helps distributed teams run smoothly!

Real-time Updates

Nothing limits efficiency more than delayed updates. In most situations, you can’t do your job well without the most up-to-date information. This is especially true when teams are spread out. Team members need to have relevant information to meet deadlines and operate in a fast-paced, remote work environment.

Otter.ai updates all notes, transcriptions, and messages in real-time. With Otter.ai, there are zero delays, which means that you can work knowing that you have the latest information, even if you can’t join the meetings. Here’s what Jason Gurwi had to say about the importance of getting real-time updates with Otter.ai:

“The Streamable is very much like a real-time news destination for people to learn about these things. So, as we're writing the article during these people’s presentations or panels, we could have an article ready to go the moment that it is over, and it saves us from having to type the quote word for word. We could very quickly put in what we thought we heard, and then do a quick search on Otter and write the exact quote before we publish the story.” - Jason Gurwi, Co-Founder of The Streamable

Easier Collaboration

Real-time updates aren’t the only thing that increases efficiency. To help create a seamless workflow between distributed team members, you need tools to integrate with your workflow and fit your work habits.

With Otter.ai, you can quickly see an overview of your company’s work activities. You can see who is online, which projects they’re working on, and what edits they’re making in real-time. Here’s what Heather Applegate had to say about collaborating with their remote coworkers:

"I have a partner that was running the session at the same time I was and I was like, I didn’t know can I record both in the same account! I was very excited by that." - Heather Applegate, UX Design Lead

Mitigation of Errors

Transcription technology has been around for a while, but quality varies greatly. If you’ve ever tried to get an audio-to-text transcription using the built-in software on your phone, you’ve probably noticed a lot of inaccuracy. This is why so many businesses choose to transcribe audio or video content manually, which takes a great deal of time and, in the end, can still lead to some errors.

On the other hand, human memory is unreliable, especially when it comes to details. Scientists have found that prompting an eyewitness to remember more can generate details that are outright false but that feel just as correct to the witness as actual memories. The same for people’s memory about action items, decisions and other details discussed in meetings.

At Otter.ai, we pride ourselves on the accuracy of our transcriptions. Using proprietary tech, you can transcribe live or recorded content with one tap. This minimizes the risk of errors that occur with other automated services, allowing you to spend less time editing transcriptions. Here’s what Tina Bizaca had to say about the accuracy and reliability of Otter.ai transcriptions:

“I was very impressed with the accuracy of the transcription. How easy it is to listen, see the text, and edit in place. ‘Oh, they actually said this,’ and I can fix it quickly.” - Tina Bizaca, Senior UX designer at Macmillan Learning

Meet Diverse Team Needs

Every business works a little differently. The same is valid for employees. When transitioning to remote work and distributed teams, these differences are amplified. Some employees need to work on the road, while others can do their remote jobs from the comfort of their home office. In any case, businesses need platforms that can meet a wide variety of needs.

For example, let’s say that you have some coworkers with conditions that prevent them from hearing audio content. During a conference call, Otter.ai can provide live text transcriptions of the call so that everyone can stay on the same page.

Otter.ai’s team-based platform addresses needs that you may not even know about yet! When developing our software for distributed teams, we tried to predict how our software would be used and potential pitfalls that users might encounter with remote work. By focusing on problem areas, we developed a platform that resolves issues from the start. Here’s what Peter Kattan had to say about how Otter.ai met their specific needs:

“One of the things that I’ve struggled with is when I'm sitting in a conference, and I'm a little bit away from the screen. I take a photo of what the speaker has put on the screen behind them. [With Otter,] I noticed that when I go to take a photo, I can zoom in and include it in the recording.” - Peter Kattan, Head of Design at CrowdLinker

Make the Most of Meetings, Interviews, and Presentations

Going remote is not easy. However, there are ways to ensure that your remote workers and distributed teams get the support they need. It will require your business to develop a plan that makes sense for your remote employees.

That said, coordinating live meetings, interviews, or presentations can be tricky when everyone is spread out. With Otter.ai, presentations look and sound better. Additionally, people can quickly join meetings and get up-to-speed on what they’ve missed by scrolling through the transcript for the meeting. Finally, Otter.ai gives you more options by integrating with popular business platforms and providing multiple ways to save, share, and consume files.

Otter makes it easier to conduct meetings, interviews, and presentations

Conducting remote meetings, interviews, or presentations is far more complicated than doing them in person. However, one issue that applies to both remote and in-person business events is note-taking. It’s not always easy to remember what was said or jot down the most critical points while you’re trying to participate in the conversation.

With Otter.ai, you don’t have to worry about taking notes, because the software does it for you automatically. Not only that, you can easily go back and reference the notes during a meeting, interview, or presentation. Here’s what Dupe Ajayi had to say about conducting meetings with Otter.ai:

“I have this thing where I like to engage the person that I am speaking with, so [Otter] has just really been a lifesaver for me and it frees up space for me to be present and to not stress over writing down exactly what was just said.” - Dupe Ajayi, Marketing Consultant

Otter speeds up data sharing among the team members

Sometimes, you need to conduct work outside of your primary work platform. However, you will probably need to add it to your usual work channels at some point. With some platforms, it can get complicated to share files. Video and audio content might also lose quality during the transfer process.

Otter.ai ensures a smooth knowledge-sharing process. Even if you conduct work outside of the Otter.ai platform, you can quickly upload any file to it and have your team work with the content in real-time. Here’s what Tina Bizaca had to say about Otter.ai’s file-sharing capabilities:

We did another thing recently where some of my teammates had very detailed notes, but we wanted the details in our work. So, I just uploaded all of our interviews to Otter and shared the transcripts with them, and then we copied and pasted snippets.” - Tina Bizaca, Senior UX designer at Macmillan Learning

Otter gives users more options

At the end of the day, you don’t want your business to get stuck with static software that doesn’t give you any room to improvise. You need a system that adapts to the way you already do business. When it comes to transcriptions, you also need software that will allow your remote workforce to consume info in a way that works for them.

Otter.ai integrates with many of the most common business platforms, including Zoom and Dropbox, enables you to work with your existing technology stack.

Moreover, Otter.ai provides transcriptions that will keep all of your team members efficient. Do you have a team member who prefers to listen to audio recordings when they work and another that has to see everything in a text format? Not a problem. Otter.ai can make it happen. Here’s what Tina Bizaca had to say about Otter.ai’s versatility:

“I have a large team of researchers and we typically pair up, with someone leading the interview and someone else taking notes. But sometimes it’s really hard to get someone else in there, or, in my case, sometimes I get notes but they aren’t as thorough or are missing something that I was looking for. Sometimes, people write on paper and they just can’t get everything down...It gives people a choice. They can have the option of reading, which is a little easier to scan while you’re multitasking, or you can listen, which is a little more impactful but it’s hard. No one wants to listen to a whole interview for an hour. I just don’t have time, so I share a lot.” - Tina Bizaca, Senior UX designer at Macmillan Learning

Get Started Today

COVID-19 stands to make remote work the new normal. Most companies will have to adjust to a business environment in which clients, vendors, consumers, and employees must interact from a distance. While it may seem like a huge and costly change, it doesn’t have to be. Otter.ai offers a solution for your transcription and project management needs that is fast, affordable, and user-friendly.

Does your business need to transition to remote work and distributed teams? Do you need help boosting work from home productivity? Finally, are you in need of note-taking and transcription software that provides accurate, real-time updates? If so, sign up for a one-month free trial of Otter for Teams!