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Cover image for The Way to a Tight Knit Remote Team
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The Way to a Tight Knit Remote Team

emaroto profile image Elena Maroto ・5 min read

If you've been following Codegram for a while, you must know by now that we are a remote first company.

That doesn't come without challenges, but that's not what I want to talk about today. Instead, I want to give you some insights about how Codegram works as a remote company and how we keep the team spirit going.

Start with why

(Why I'm doing this post, not why Codegram is a remote company. Sorry! 😅)

So, the why is a nice comment I received today from my colleague Svenja (you know her, she's the one in love with RegExp 🙄).

See, one of the nice things we do every week is meeting for coffee with one or two other people, and then our friend Donut asks for a nice comment on it (spoiler: Donut is actually an app). I admit I am bad at leaving those comments (I don't know, I feel cheesy and I would most certainly cry while writing them... don't ask), but aside from being useless at that, it is always nice to receive a message from someone else. My dear colleagues, take this both as a thank you and a sorry. 🙏🏼

So, that's it. I received a nice message from Svenja (she made my day) about our last coffee and then I thought of the nice things that make us feel connected in this company and that I enjoy so much. And I thought it would be nice to share it with the world out there. Sooooooooo

First, the non-work stuff

https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1496843916299-590492c751f4?ixlib=rb-1.2.1&q=85&fm=jpg&crop=entropy&cs=srgb

Cause, you know...

The Codegram Times - This might be classed as both work and non-work related.

It is first in line because it comes usually on Monday and to be honest, it makes me start my week with a smile on.

Georgina, our office manager, prepares every week a curated bulletin in Notion. It starts with a culture note, then goes on with inputs from tech leads on advancements during the previous week, then she shares some off-work stuff from team members. This could come from twitter, private conversations or from our Telegram "Offwork" group. And you learn pretty interesting things about your colleagues that way! (Don't worry, she always asks before publishing.)

The Times ends with one or two questions like "What are you reading right now?" or "What is your favourite smell?". And we can all participate with our comments afterwards. It is very entertaining!

I know for a fact that I'm not the only one who starts the week smiling thanks to this.

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Coffee-buddies

Another great thing to keep the team connected.

See, when you work remotely you don't have a coffee machine where you can chat about everything and anything, so you gotta do something right? So we've set up Donut for Slack.

Our friend Donut pairs up 2 or 3 people every week and then you schedule a short meeting of 30 minutes... just to chat. This is a very nice thing to do, cause it allows you to meet your peers wherever they are.

Then Donut asks for a comment on how it went and... well, you know the story.

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Tacos! Tacos everywhere! 🌮

Have you watched "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs"? At Codegram is "Sunny with a Chance of Tacos".

So, here is the thing. One day our Engineering Cheer Leader (or CTO for short) decided (don't ask why or how) that it would be a nice thing to offer tacos here and there. Oh, they are virtual tacos, but they are so fun!

Your last blogpost was a hit? 🌮 You helped someone else figure out something and unlock them? 🌮 You learned something new and shared it? 🌮 You get the idea. Tacos! Tacos everywhere!

🌮🌮🌮🌮🌮🌮🌮🌮🌮🌮🌮🌮🌮🌮🌮🌮🌮🌮🌮🌮🌮🌮🌮🌮🌮🌮🌮🌮🌮🌮🌮🌮🌮

We're out of tacos for now, but I know for a fact that there are more in the making.

Off-work Slack channels

Because not only of work the man lives (pun intended... I know, I know... 🙄).

We use Slack mainly for work (did I tell you we work as well?), but we have a few off-work channels to, you know... not work.

Examples are:

health-and-fitness - fueled by love handles 100%

jukebox - 🎶 Share your best jams!

random - General banter

languages - A channel to share resources about learning new (human, non-programming) languages

camera-cafe - A channel for everyone to join when having a coffee / lunch or just looking for watercooler conversation ☕️

Off-work Telegram group

Another place where we keep connected off-work and off-computer.

Here you can find a little bit of everything. The last vegan recipe, the last picture of a cardboard castle built during lockdown, pics of sluggish dogs, cats, bread, bad jokes (many bad jokes). Everything goes! That is, everything respectful. R E S P E C T. Always.

Weekly company wide video call

This started during lockdown, so we could be (more) connected but I bet it is here to stay. It happens every Friday at 4 pm and every week there is a theme.

This week's theme? "Imagine that you have applied (maybe with your family too) to go to Mars and in an interview you have to say why they should select you, what you can contribute and what sector you’d like to work in". Apparently Georgina came up with that idea during breakfast... and it was really fun!

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Other theme's have been, "What's something you've done in your life that you are really proud of?" or "Show and tell. Show us your favourite object and tell us why" or yet "Tell us a moment of your life when you were really, really embarrassed".

These calls make for some interesting conversation and are a very good kick start for the weekend.

And speaking of weekend, it is Friday and I'm off!!

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Oh, yes, there's still the work part right? Ok, ok, I promise I'll come back with it. Stay tuned!

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