Valuing conversation on non-work topics
Informal communication is important, as it enables friendships to form at work related to matters other than work. Those who feel they have genuine friends at work are more likely to enjoy their job, perform at a high level, feel invested in the company, and serve others within the organization.
For all-remote companies, leaders should not expect informal communication to happen naturally. There are no hallways for team members to cross paths in, no carpools to the office, etc.
Devote time to fostering relationships
In all-remote environments, there should be a greater emphasis placed on carving out time to get to know one another as humans. To connect and bond as empathetic beings with interests, emotions, fears, and hopes — people, not just colleagues.
If you've spent any length of time in a corporate setting, you've probably seen a company institute a weekly or monthly "happy hour," designed to gather employees in a shared space to converse about topics unrelated to work.
For colocated companies, the occasional team offsite — to take in a sporting event, to enjoy a shared lunch, etc. — may be enough to supplement naturally occurring informal communication in the office.
Below are a number of intentional facets of Notifire’s culture, created to foster informal communication. We welcome other all-remote companies to iterate on these and implement as desired.
- Social call: A series of optional calls once a month on a Tuesday, to which everyone in the organization is invited. We have no set agenda, but items can be added to the linked document. This is just a time set aside for everyone to openly talk where everyone is a moderator.
- Meet-together: An in-person, event where we bring the entire company together in one location to get to know each other better.
- Coffee chats: More details below.
- Coworking calls: More details below.
- Social hours: Informal social calls organized within our immediate teams to get to know each other on a more personal level.
- Local meetups: Co-located team members are encouraged to organize their own meetups, whether it's a coworking space or getting dinner together.
- Slack: We use Slack channels for informal communications throughout the company, whether it's a team-specific channel or a channel dedicated to sharing vacation photos with other team members.
- Zoom calls: Not only do we get to know our coworkers better by seeing them in real time during video calls, we also get to know their pets and families too. This visual engagement helps us relate to each other on a more personal level, so when we meet in person, we already know each other.
- Gaming: Notifire has a
#gamingSlack channel where fans of video games and digital board games can connect. Coordinating shared gaming sessions is a great way to informally connect with team members and collaborate toward goals outside of work.
We understand that working remotely leads to mostly work-related conversations with fellow team members, so everyone at Notifire is encouraged to dedicate a few hours a week to having social calls with anyone in the company.
It's a great chance to get to know who you work with, talk about everyday things and share a coffee, tea, or your favorite beverage. We want you to make friends and build relationships with the people you work with to create a more comfortable, well-rounded environment.
Scheduling a Coffee Chat
Notifire Team Members can easily schedule a Coffee Chat in Google Calendar and link it to Zoom, with a 1-click link to the video call.
- Search for the person in Google Calendar
- Click the time and name the meeting Name / Name coffee-chat
- Click on Make it a Zoom meeting
Google Calendar will warn you if the time is outside the other person's working hours, and you can select from a list of suggested times.
Conferences and events
Remote teams have a tendency to savor and anticipate in-person engagements. As in-person interactions are less common in a remote role, this presents an opportunity for leadership to maximize the utility of conferences and events.
Leaders should consider sending teams to conferences as an efficient way to organize a dense series of chance meetings, with each person then returning to saner spaces to process, distill, and put effort into newly seeded ideas.
Using emojis to convey emotions
Though emojis have commonly been reserved for personal conversations that occur outside of the workplace, all-remote employees should feel comfortable using them in everyday discourse with team members.
Too, emojis can create a more inclusive communication environment. When you're working with colleagues where the de facto business language isn't someone's first language, more universal indicators (e.g. "eyes" for "I've seen this" or "smile" for positivity) can reduce the mental burden of deciphering a message.