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Our stories after week 1 of everyone working from home

Written by Ashley van der Tuin-Gottula on 23rd March 2020

At Spindle, we as colleagues have always had the option to work at home from time to time. Working away from the office goes along with Holacracy – you choose what you do, when you do it, and where you do it, providing it fits with the purpose of the company. But now, due to the current global situation, every meeting and conversation is virtual because the office is closed and all of us are working from home. Even though we have some work-at-home practice, we are still figuring out how to do it on this scale. We wanted to share some experiences and learnings from our first week as a completely remote company.

Tweaking the workflow

Most people have a work routine. They come into the office, get their coffee, give their desk plant some water, and then start with their work. Even though these things seem trivial, they help get your mind in the right place. Here are a few experiences that colleagues shared about adapting their workflow.

  • A colleague shared that he has been riding his bike every morning, walking or jogging in the afternoon, and tries to get outside at lunchtime when possible as well. Because everyone’s office is now (probably) smaller than normal, it’s logical that we would  move around less during the day. Another colleague shared that his step tracker is way off since he isn’t walking back and forth between the Spindle and our sister company Voys offices anymore.
  • One of our colleagues noticed after just a day or two of working at home that he missed his daily commute to the office and really needed that time to switch from home-mode to work-mode. To compensate, he made a new routine to start his morning which includes watching the news, having breakfast, and getting dressed (no PJ’s or sweatpants he said!) before he settles in to work. He recommends using  tiny habits for this.
  • We all saw that we need to find a new way to be connected with each other in order to collaborate and just stay in touch. One circle has started sending a good morning giphy each morning. Another team now starts each day with a virtual standup to hear what each team member is doing. A third team is spending a lot of their working time connected to the newly set up Discord server so that they can still chat with each other like they would in the office.
  • We have tried (as best as we can) to move our physical workspaces from the office to our homes in order to be as comfortable, and therefore productive, as possible. Two of our colleagues even drove through Groningen delivering office chairs to those who wanted them. The biggest complaint right now seems to be the lack of standing desks at home.

Rethinking the tools on your workbench

Most companies and teams already have a lot of online tools they use for daily work. For us the list includes Slack, Asana, Jira, and our Vialer mobile apps and Webphone, to name a few. Even though we use these things every day, how we use them has changed this last week. Here are some experiences about the tools we use and how we use them.

  • One colleague shared a message saying that he was happy that we are all so used to using Slack because he has heard stories from friends having to deal with incredibly long email chains and conference calls where a public Slack message could have the same effect. He appreciated how used we are to using Slack, and that we moved our conversations online easily.
  • The amount of Slack messages in most channels, but especially our announcements and informal channels, has gone up this week. We also have new channels like one for feedback about working from home (which was used to gather these tips and learnings to share) and one for social time. Using emojis to show if you are working, eating lunch, or even doing your groceries has also been a helpful way for us to know who is available or not.
  • Conversely, a few colleagues noticed that they got really distracted by the amount of Slack messages that were popping up Monday. It has taken us all some time to get used to more messages coming in and having to use slack for the majority of our communication.
  • There has been a weeklong debate about using Jitsi or Google Hangouts for virtual meetings. While Google Hangouts can support more people, we have our own server for Jitsi, so depending on the call, right now we are using both.

All week there have been pictures shared of new workspaces, and even of kids working next to their parents. Conference calls have been more noisy due to the younger family members also being home. But the most important thing for us is that we are all in this together, and together we can make being a remote company successful!

How has this first week of being at home been for you? If you have stories to share, leave a comment on this blog, comment on our social media posts, or send us a message. We will update this post with your stories!

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