With the coronavirus epidemic, governments are encouraging businesses to work remotely as much as possible.
Working from home has become the new norm. In the future, we will probably meet our colleagues "in person" solely for exceptional events. At IWD, we believe that NOT sharing is a waste of time, so we wanted to share with you some of the initiatives and good practices we have taken to make this situation as enjoyable and as productive than if we were still at the office.
We were already working together virtually, but we clearly have taken it a step further. Working remotely requires creativity, agility and responsiveness; the same goes as for a quality software. The kind of software IWD provides.
Maintaining social interactions
Overcommunication using e-mail, Slack or a similar tool is essential.
As a software company, we love and take advantage of all cloud-based tools. We have used and abused Google drive, Asana, Typeform and even Collaborative online scrum, to name a few.
IWD is a big family where everyone is in the same boat. The founders' offices are always open. Without having to knock on their doors, we can share our ideas and our jokes. Paradoxically, we are an international company, which means we often have meetings with different offices around the world. Everyone is in front of his or her computer even if they are in the same office and part of the same meeting. Getting in-person time with co-workers is essential, but being on the same page during meetings is just important.
In our 4 offices, the kitchen is a place of exchange and we all miss it. So we created a virtual Coffee Room with an associated Slack channel. Remote workers can meet there for coffee, discuss the weather, or even introduce their children.
Before the lockdown, we had Random Lunches. Every month, employees had lunch with 3 other employees drawn randomly. It is a very rewarding experience that allows a person from the Administration to have lunch with a Developer, for example. We wanted to maintain this ritual and therefore organized virtual Random coffees. Fifteen minutes talks with a colleague.
How are you? Like, for real.
A person who is alone in their small city apartment will not experience working from home the same way a person who is with family in the countryside will. The weekly mood survey became a kind of constant way to check-in with employee’s moods and dailies. It allows us to make changes when need be. We asked about their mood, but also their productivity and need to communicate with colleagues. Of course, rules of confidentiality were in place so people could really open their hearts.
We also offered a free psychologist for those who needed to talk or felt depressed.
Finally, we asked a comedian to read stories for employees' children. Parents just had to be with their child, dial the storyteller's number and take a 15-minutes break. He totally wowed them with "Le Petit Nicolas" adventures.
A sound mind in a sound body
Instead of going around in circles like a lion in a cage, employees have the possibility to follow online sport lessons: Bootcamp with Bash and Yoga with Sylvie. This served as an additional opportunity to meet colleagues from all over the world outside the office context.
The key is in the timetables. Since IWD is on 4 different time zones, we have to be mindful of our timings.
And you, what are your working from home tips?