No Office. No Employees. No Email. How Makeshift Produces Their Brilliant Magazine

I'm Michael, part of the creative team here at Podio. I love sharing stories from teams changing the way they work for the better.

Makeshift is a print and online magazine about creativity and invention in informal economies around the world, from roadside engineers to pirates to collaborative consumers. It’s edited and designed by a global team based in New York, Mexico City, Athens and Madrid.

They also have contributing researchers, journalists, photographers and videographers who search for stories of street-level ingenuity in dozens of countries.

However, Makeshift has no office and no full-time employees. They also send no email.

We caught up with Makeshift director Steve Daniels to learn about the magazine’s mission and how his global team stays connected and structured with Podio.

Collaborating at Makeshift was not always so straightforward. “We were trying to coordinate across different time zones all over email. A lot of us are freelancers or volunteers so we have other jobs. We have other projects we’re working on so the stuff for Makeshift was just getting lost in the mix,” explained Steve.

“I wanted something that was integrated. I wanted something that could handle our contacts, our workflow – a workflow that is unique for publishing – and Podio was so flexible it could handle all that.”

“We got our most basic workflows up first, like publishing the print magazine. We had a team Podio week for the seven of us. We banned email for the week and we haven’t sent a single internal email since.”

“Building out the apps and the workspaces in Podio forces you to think about how you would do it right and sometimes it takes a bit of iteration. But once you do have it right and things start moving very smoothly, that is a really nice feeling.”

That boldness to cut the email umbilical cord and embrace a different way of working has been highly rewarding. Steve pointed out, “Now that we’re using Podio for everything and we’re totally off email there’s more transparency, there’s more agile communication – you don’t have to wait until someone sees an email. Because we’re so distributed we need something like Podio to make us feel like a more cohesive team.”

“Last year, before we were using Podio, we put out three issues. Now that we can plan and track, and have accountability and transparency, we’re going to put out four issues this year and more stories are being told from the economic fringe.”

To learn more about Makeshift’s fascinating magazine and the way they work, check out our interview with Steve above. If you’re not on Podio yet and you’re looking to bring a new level of focus and connectivity to your teamwork – sign up for free here.

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