About half of the developers at Glitch are remote. I'm one of them, working from Chicago, so we've gotten a lot of practice trying to make sure everyone feels like they're a part of the team. As more and more companies move to working from home, we'd love to share how we connect and collaborate remotely.
Named after our mascot from back when we were Fog Creek, Kiwihouse is a remote meetup over Zoom for small talk. You might see Esteban's adorable new puppy. Or cute babies! Chat about weekend plans or fun baking experiments. Kiwihouse happens twice a week because we have employees across so many time zones.
We use Slack as both an important collaboration tool and a virtual watercooler. #Aquarium is Slack channel for casual chat but there is also a tradition of sharing status emoji. Like a hamburger if you're having one for lunch or a rain cloud if you're starting work on a rainy day. It's not mandatory but it's a simple a fun way to stay connected in each other's daily lives.
Coffeetime is an app that pairs co-workers for weekly remote video chats. It was originally a Ruby app but now is a Slack bot hosted on Glitch. I love how it pairs me with people on different teams that I don't always work with so I can get to know them.
We've had several remote reading clubs where we read a chapter every few weeks and discuss on Google Hangouts.
- Business reading club: Shape Up: Stop Running in Circles and Ship Work that Matters
- SRE reading club: Google's Site Reliability Engineering book
Sometimes we don't finish a book, but that's OK. Plus there are fiction book clubs too. I'm in the sci-fi one where we read The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin and Kindred by Octavia E. Butler.
Do you feel like you get more work done if you're at a library or coffeeshop? Our library hour is like a virtual library where you can work quietly on Google Hangouts and see your other coworkers doing the same.
A biweekly Google Hangout where we watch a conference talk and discuss it online. Hygge is a Danish word that roughly translates to "coziness and comfortable conviviality". Some talks we watched include:
- Burnout by Jessica Rose
- Sparky the fire dog: incident response as code by Tapasweni Pathak
- Designing Against Domestic Violence by Eva PenzeyMoog
It's almost as good as going to a real conference together.
Our office admin Hosanna Tolman puts together cute and fun care packages that she sends to us. You never know what you'll get. Will it be a Glitch mug or a gummy heart Krabby Patty? We often post our reactions in Slack.
Glitch is a rare software company because we have more tea lovers than coffee lovers! The leader of the tea club creates random pairings and we send each other our favorite tea. It's like a year round Secret Santa.
How do you connect with your colleagues remotely? Let us know in the comments.
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