If you follow my content, you know that remote first is kind of my vibe. Even though I am a strong advocate for asynchronous collaboration and the end of all meetings, sometimes a little chatty chat is what connects us to our co-workers. Something we missed when we started to experiment with remote and asynchronous communication.
What We Tried:
- A permanent Zoom Call, but we forgot to that the room exists too often
- All sorts of gamified virtual office tools. Too much friction. We didn't stick to it.
Finally, one of my co-workers made a brilliant suggestion. With his background in gaming, he came up with Discord. A tool for permanent voice chats (among other things). If you grew up with MMORPGs, like I did, you might remember TeamSpeak or similar. Discord is like a mix of Slack and TeamSpeak.
Everyone Can, No One Has To
The idea is that there is a way to feel present, without being physically at the same space. The app should be approachable, self-explaining and deliver on its promises. Discord does all that. We bought a server, created rooms for different topics. For gaming, coffee breaks, 1:1s and more. It's important that is not mandatory. Enter a room if you feel like you need some social interaction. Or to hang out with other people while listening to music and write an essay (this is what I did when writing this piece). Some people are more online than others, some have specific times, everything is fine.
Besides all the rituals we introduced for social interaction while working remote, this was an important piece to keep us connected as a team.
Personally, this helped me not to feel alone when working from home.