markdown guide
 

Send memes 😉

We were not a fully remote team but I was working remotely for a few months. Sending memes in the group chat helped us loosen up, connect and get to know more about each other especially our sense of humor.

That sense of camaraderie helped me when I finally arrived on site.

 

I totally agree that memes and comics can help to loosen things up. Humor is under appreciated.

 

Memelords rule! Humour helped me through a lot of distressing times at my last job :)

 
  • Lots of Hangouts and Slack Time
  • Don't be afraid to just dial someone on Slack if you need help. Treat it like you're simply walking over to their desk.
  • Lots of teams have a dedicated online chat where everyone can just drop in and mingle
  • Travel to visit from time to time if you can

Hope these are helpful!

 

From time to time, fly everyone to a paradisiac island, get endless amounts of champagne and get an agenda like boat + horse + bike + beach time.

We do that to stitch together all the parts of the company (2 offices + many people alone at the clients' locations) and it's totally worth it.

 

One of the teams at my company is half-remote and I noticed an interesting ritual they have.

Every morning after standup they take a few minutes and solve a small NYT crossword puzzle together.

Thought it was cute ☺️

 

I think the big one for us is getting everybody together in the same place for a week or so. Then don’t oversaturate it with full team meetings and events. Let people wander off into smaller groups where they’ll be more comfortable. We have a distributed team and we try to meet at least once a year in NYC where our HQ is. We will usually have 1 big team dinner and then everybody can do what the want the rest of the evenings. Got to know some people pretty good in small groups at a beer and whiskey bar :)

 

Transparency/visibility, approachability, and KPIs are important.

Transparency/visibility

This enables remote workers to not feel left out as they are kept in the loop of not only the projects they are working on but the company in general.

Approachability

They must feel that there is a channel or someone they can talk to when they have issues. Having a short 1-on-1 every 2 weeks to talk about even 'what did you do outside work? what did you learn? what was something interesting that happened' make such 1-on-1 less of a chore and keep the channel open.

KPIs

Every knows how hard other people are working. Motivates those who are working hard as they have a channel to demonstrate how much work they have done.

 

I asked my coworkers at a recent meeting of our "women who code" group - some of our teams do "Friday storytime," a casual video call hangout where they talk about their weeks, drink coffee/tea, and share fun stories as a team. I loved this - also love that they have twice-weekly pairing/1-1 sessions scheduled.

 

I wondered about this when I first joined Elastic which is largely remote. It made me anxious at first, but that was quickly alleviated.

We have a lot of non-work related Slack channels for starters so you can talk about common interests or topics. We also have a general "watercooler" or "idle" room where we talk about whatever. Great way to learn about remote teammates.

Teaching, pair programming, presenting, and demoing over video conference (zoom in our case). We focus on staying on topic, but just getting to hear from each other and say hi is important.

Speaking of video conferencing... we have some Zoom rooms that are always on. Folks can join at will, stay muted, chat, ask questions, or whatever else they might need. It's just another way to get face time. It's not mandatory to join, but it's left as an option.

Some teams have a daily standup (non-mandatory), not necessarily because we're trying to be agile, but just to hear what each other is working on and to get a bit of face time.

A couple times a year, we meet in person for a few days for an all hands to cover important topics for the team/business/etc, but we also make time to just be together.

With all of the above, in some ways it doesn't feel very remote at all.

 

To add to this, how about a remote team of developers who are on the other side of the globe?

 

We're not fully remote, but we do often work remotely & we have folks in different offices for part of the day. Often we'll have a Haiku competition. Someone will call out on Slack a particular random theme, like robots or hippos or something & then we all try & make something up that follows that theme.

 

Good communication and "breaking the ice" is the key to it. Its important to create interest and enthusiasm in the remote team members as that'll pave the way for future rapport and easy communication with them (which is totally needed as you'll be depending on them and them on you).

Things like casual introductions and cracking a few jokes will help in the first meeting. Preferably talk less about the project and chat about some other topics like Star Trek, Avengers, LOTR or Harry Potter as most techies are interested in these fictions (especially those introverts who prefer to work remotely!).

As you go through these conversations, try to assess the nature of each team member, how they interact and communicate with others, how they show annoyance or displeasure, etc. These things don't tell you much about their technical or coding ability but tells you a lot about their organization and detailing skills which are quite important to a project too.

 

Default to video calls; default to open Slack channels; use something like Donut to randomly match people up for 30min video calls to get to know each other.

 

In case you were curious..searching "Donut video" only surfaces...donut videos.
What's donut?

 

Maybe it's just me, but I couldn't make head or tail of what that product actually is from that link. Their website just seems to be full of feel-good nonsense and vague promises of how they're going to make everything awesomesauce. Not a good look for a product that's supposed to be about improving communication.

 

One on one talks. IRL dinners when possible (like once every 1-2 years?!?).
Also, I did that for 15 years for a piece of free software, it kind of worked until it failed, and I quit.

 
 

We have "water cooler" meetings on our video conferencing app 3 days a week to just shoot the breeze. I think this and getting everyone physically together once in a while really helps.

Classic DEV Post from Nov 1 '18

Is Today the Best Time to be a Developer? No...but We're Getting Better.

While working as a developer certainly has its rewards, there are some major issues we need to address.

Jess Lee profile image

dev.to now has dark theme. 🌝

Go to the "misc" section of your settings and select night theme

P.S. You can also change font to sans serif, which a lot of folks prefer. 💖