By now, most companies have all or some of their employees working remotely, but even with the pandemic seemingly winding down, many companies are going to stay in a remote/hybrid style (ahem, as I predicted in some blogs last year). I consider myself lucky to be at a company like Isos Technology that already had a very strong culture before the pandemic. But many companies weren’t in this same boat. So they had to adjust in a big way to compensate for no longer working in person. Now, if they want to continue working remotely, they will need to continue to invest in ideas to support culture and collaboration on an ongoing basis. So I wanted to reflect on a few key things we do here at Isos, that I think do just that.
These are simply just a 30-minute 1-on-1 conversation with a colleague that we do roughly every two weeks. The app we use randomizes the selections to make sure we don't meet with the same people very often, if at all. But these meetings have become, at least for me, a great way to meet people that are new to Isos, and catch up with longer-term colleagues much like you would in an office setting with the cliché water cooler talk. When you work remotely, you don't realize how much you miss the simple social interactions you have with people in the office. These Donut meetings give us a way to get back to that.
In the different teams here at Isos, we have meetings where we just sit on Zoom calls for an hour with each other. These meetings have no agendas or rules, other than no work talk. Isos also kindly lets us purchase lunches on the house, which is the cherry on top for a lot of us. But these meetings have a lot of the same conversation themes as the Donut ones do, only this time in a group setting. This is really great for team bonding, and honestly just taking a step back to remember that your coworkers all have lives outside of work. It's crazy how much remote work makes you forget that at the end of the day, we all have other stuff going on outside of work. And it's nice to sit back and talk about these kinds of things every once in a while.
I can't speak for many other teams on this one, but I know I love hopping on a call with a co-worker and knocking out some code or tasks together. Not only does it make the task at hand more fun and engaging, but it also helps you stay more productive. While working from home, it's easy to slack off with all the distractions of your own home around you, but pair-programming or pair-working help you stay focused and get things done all while having fun, as well. Not to mention that you also have someone there to help call out those goofy mistakes you tend to make while working in isolation at times.
Off-Topic Slack Channels
Yes, we use Slack primarily to communicate and work more efficiently, but we also have a handful of channels that are completely unrelated to work. For example, we have a "foodie" channel where we talk (and often debate) about food and share things we cook with our co-workers. We also have a "random" channel that is mainly filled up with memes and goofy conversations. My personal favorites, however, are our
"moozik" channel and our various sub-culture-type channels, like our "crypto-chat." These are also a great way to talk about non-work-related things and share ideas, memes, and everyone's favorite...pet pictures.
I know these concepts may seem simple, but from my perspective as an employee, I am very grateful that Isos allows us to do things like this. I believe that if more companies hopped on ideas like these, they would have much happier, and more efficient employees all-around. It's truly a win-win for both companies and their employees.