All in the Family:  Getting to Know Others While Working Remotely

Working remotely can be hard. You work in the same office everyday, potentially moving from said office to the living room to really shake things up. When you join a remote team, it can be daunting, as you think, “How in the heck am I ever going to get to know these people?” At TeamSnap, we use some great tools to make sure we’re in constant communication and get to know each other quickly.

One of the first things that happens as a new TeamSnap employee is you are sent an invitation to Team No. 1, which is our own TeamSnap team. Yes, we do eat our own dog food around here. This team is used to hold all our contact information (great way to use TeamSnap, right? hint hint…) and essentially acts as our company directory, with a little humor thrown in for good measure. For example, as one of the six Jennifers in the company, my jersey number is “867-5309.” (Bonus points if you get that reference!)

Next comes your invitation to Slack. If you work remotely and haven’t used Slack, you are missing out. Quite simply, we could not function nearly as well here at TeamSnap without it. We have channels, similar to chat rooms, set up for individual teams, as well as for the company overall, “random” postings that usually center around funny stories and cat pictures, and even one for sharing recipes. To up the fun factor, our developers have extended the existing bot capability so we can have it randomly look for YouTube clips, images, songs, etc. Images can also be triggered by keywords so, for example, if you mention that something is a surprise, you might see this:

Surprise Chicken

Using Slack makes it easy to chat with others throughout the day. Especially in our Support team, we are back and forth between our Support tool, Zendesk, and Slack throughout the day as we ask each other questions about particular issues. In between are comments and questions about our kids’ activities, TV series, marriage, what we had for dinner last night … you name it.  It is through these conversations that we get to really know each other without ever having met each other. It’s the “water cooler” talk for the 21st century.

However, nothing beats having face-to-face conversation and for that we use Google Hangouts. Our Support team meets once a week to discuss any larger issues that may be ongoing or to participate in training on a particular or upcoming feature. We also get a chance just to see each other, put faces to names and chat for a few minutes if we’re on early.

Each of these tools makes it easy to get to know our coworkers. Whether it’s reaching out directly to ask a question about something a developer is working on, participating in a goofy Slack conversation, or having a face-to-face conversation in Google Hangout, today’s technology makes it super easy to get to know the Jen across the country just like they were your neighbor Bob next door!

As the Director of Customer Experience, Jenn is responsible for the entire customer experience, from helping to design new features to writing documentation to answering support emails. Like everyone on our support desk, Jenn was an enthusiastic TeamSnap customer before she joined the company. Jenn hails from Maryland, where she lives with her husband Glen and two enthusiastic soccer-playing kids. When not helping TeamSnap customers, she spends her weekends driving the roads of suburban Maryland and Virginia and camped out on soccer fields.

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