It has been an unprecedented few weeks.
As we embark together on this remote work journey, it becomes more important than ever to maintain and strengthen the relationships we've built, despite the physical distance that separates us.
We spent days imagining how we might bring a more connected remote work experience to our team and to Polly users across the globe. Then we gathered all hands on deck, with every functional role on our global team leaning in to bring it to life.
The result of that collaborative exercise is our all-new Remote Essentials.
Remote Essentials consist of two main elements: the Social Essentials, and Productivity Essentials. While each solves its own unique set of challenges, the core concept is the same: bridging the physical distance between teammates with engaging collaboration tools and lighthearted group entertainment.
We've always taken lunchtime and team events seriously. No matter how busy we are, we break bread together as a team nearly every day. Sharing strange facts, learning about one another, trading recipes, and arguing passionately over meaningless trivia brought us together in a way that we all value deeply.
In the absence of that exchange, we set out to capture some of our favorite elements and trigger the same brand of fun, informal interactions that we regularly bonded over.
Here's what we built to satisfy our craving for lunchtime lunacy:
🔥 Hot Takes 🔥
- Is a hotdog a sandwich?
- Is The Fast And The Furious a better franchise than Star Wars?
- Which is the superior bear species?
- Are birds even real?
Some things even Google can't answer definitively, but if you come together as a team, there's a chance you'll reach consensus (or start an entertaining debate).
We built Polly Hot Takes to bring the team home, even if just for a few moments, to revel in and challenge one another's outrageous beliefs before getting back to business.
🛎 Trivia 🛎
As a team, we've always loved to earn and share knowledge as a group, and at its core, that's what trivia is all about. But we wanted to bring that experience to places it hadn't been before, so we brought it to Slack.
Every team’s tastes and backgrounds are unique. For that reason, we knew that it wouldn't be enough to have a small bank of questions to choose from.
Instead, we added thousands of questions across dozens of categories, so you and your team can challenge each other endlessly on your favorite topics and find out once and for all who knows the most about nothing.
🏅 Company Awards 🏅
Say what you want about the effectiveness of "Employee of the Month" schemes, there's no denying a little spirited competition can offer a nice boost to morale.
But just like when someone brings a bag of Starburst to our Seattle HQ, we were compelled to pick out the best bits and leave the rest (in Phil’s desk).
With Company Awards, you'll finally be able to lay to rest longstanding contests, like:
Who consistently has the best Zoom backgrounds?
Who has the most fun-looking home office?
Who is most likely to show up to a meeting with a cat on their lap?
In addition to the fun and games of the Remote Essentials, we wanted to bring some new operational efficiencies to the WFH experience.
We wanted to make it easy to make your remote experience as good or better than your co-located experience. The only way to do that is through open dialogues with your team, so we crafted some tools to make that easier.
💓 Pulse surveys 💓
You're already doing everything you know how to make the remote experience good for your team, but there are things you might not know you need to do, people you might not know you need to spend extra time with - and that's where pulse surveys come in.
These are simple touchpoints that you can use to measure the overall mood of your team or focus on colleagues who might need more support.
✅ Check-ins/standups ✅
Check-ins give you a window into the day-to-day experience of your closest collaborators. While everyone is adjusting to the new normal, work is still coming in, and there are still projects in motion.
Daily check-ins give you and your team an opportunity to discuss how the work is flowing in a clear, concise way that doesn't require too much of anyone's mental bandwidth.
These check-ins are useful in a co-located office but essential for a remote team. There is no water cooler, so if you're not talking about projects and initiatives in a structured way, there's a good chance things will slip through the cracks.
Polly's WFH Library 📚🦜
We also took time to jot down some of the things we’ve learned through our experiences as a distributed team, from setting up a functional home office, to leading a WFH team effectively. If you haven’t already, check out the latest additions:
To help teams stay connected and be productive as they adapt to working remotely, we've partnered with Slack to offer our customers a 25% discount off Slack for 12 months.
Looking forward; staying positive
We're still reeling from the changes in the world right now, but as members of the global community, we wanted to do our best to bring some good things into being. We wanted to take this situation as a call for creative solutions to novel problems.
We're proud of what we built and hope that it brings Polly customers across the globe a sense of community and shared experiences in a time when they're needed most.
Written by George Dickson
Lives to learn and build cool things with good people.