As you probably know, Officehours connects individuals for one-on-one advice sessions. Over the past months, we’ve worked continually to improve this experience. We still have a long way to go, but we think we’re heading in the right direction.
Along the way, a number of folks tried to register accounts for their companies and organizations. Additionally, they asked how their organizations might display all their team members on a single Officehours page. This led us to work on Officehours Teams. Since then, we’ve refined the UX around this service, and rolled it out to with the first few organizations. They’re just getting started, but current teams include: The University of Minnesota, The Graphic Designers of Canada, LIFT Comox Valley, Vancouver Island University, and University of Virginia Darden School of Business.
The Officehours concept is foreign to some. It takes a session or two to properly understand how it works—and how it can be useful. Similarly, some don’t know why they’d need to create a Team. Truth be told, with Teams being so new, we’re not entirely sure how folks will use them. That said, here are some scenarios we anticipate seeing:
Universities and colleges
Many university/college faculty members are contractually obligated to stay on campus to provide office hours. This can be tedious—especially if no one shows up. Through Teams, a school’s faculty members can make their availability known, and provide support remotely. The frees them from their offices. Additionally, it’s a way for admissions advisors to speak with prospective students, regardless of location.
Have you heard about The Swedish Number? It is a wildly-successful campaign by the Swedish Tourist Association that allowed anyone to talk to a random Swede. (In 179 days, they received more than 191,809 calls). The only downside: the callers had to pay long-distance fees. Officehours Teams allows Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) and Convention and Visitor Bureaus (CVBs) an easy way to link prospective visitors with local ambassadors—without forcing visitors to pay for the call. We think this is a huge opportunity for tourism groups who want to connect better with prospective visitors. Wouldn’t you prefer to receive travel tips one-on-one, from a local?
Startup accelerators and VCs
Many startup accelerators already hold office hours on site. This is fine when the batch is small, and in close proximity. When founders are further afield, though, this becomes more cumbersome (determining meeting times, coordinating time zones, dealing with overlapping sessions). For these groups, Officehours removes a lot of headaches and messing around. Additionally, VC’s overwhelmed by startup pitches can regain some control by scheduling founders into set blocks on Officehours. Meanwhile, the 10 minute restriction forces founders to present a strong, clear pitch—OR BE TERMINATED. ;-)
Job interviews are taxing for all involved—and often run too long. Fact is, within a few minutes, you know if the discussion should continue. That said, most feel bad calling a meeting to an end—even when the applicant resembles Pauly Shore in Encino Man. Officehours Teams affords your HR team a way to pre-interview applicants. The 10 minute time restriction allows for faster and more focused meetings. This allows you to screen applicants in less time, and get a sense for who you should schedule an in-person meeting with.
I hate meetings: Waiting for people to arrive. Idle chit-chat. Lack of focus. Bleh! Teams allow your staff to quickly scan when other team members are available to talk—and request an Officehours session. Your staff can schedule their meetings into set blocks (e.g. each team member sets aside an hour a day for office hours). During this time, they provide 10 minutes of help to whoever needs it. At the end of that time, they’re done, and can get back to uninterrupted work. We think this will work doubly well for distributed organizations, and even those with a few remote workers.
Initially, we’re starting with the basics. This means a subdomain for your brand (e.g., harvard.officehours.io). This Team is then styled to match your brand specifications (description, color, logo). It also lists all of your organization’s advisors. Additionally, you have access to admin/management functions for your team.
Teams are offered in tiers, based on your requirements. These start at $25/month (for up to 5 team members). Effectively, you pay $5 for each team member. (Team members are advisors who work within your organization. You can support as many learners as you’d like. They don’t pay anything to access the sessions.) However, as we add features to Teams, we expect our costs to likely change. As such, these prices will likely be revised as we get a better sense for our costs.
Teams launched last week, and are now available to everyone. So, if you think you can benefit from our Teams offering, we welcome you to learn more about Teams or register one now. Got more questions? You might find the answers you’re looking for in our Teams WTF.
Read the associated press release: New online service introduces The 10-Minute Meeting for Teams