We made the decision to start working full-remote on March 16th, along with rescheduling client meetings to be over video conferencing and postponing any events we’d planned to be at.
In this post I’m going to share what has and hasn’t changed for us, how we’re coping individually, and new things we’ve started doing as a group to get us through this.
Full-remote isn’t as big a change for us as it is for other companies. With 3 of us in London, 2 in Sweden and 7 in Norway we’re used to practicing remote-friendly working. The 3 of us in London only go into the office twice a week at most, as well.
As the weeks have passed, we’ve fallen into a rhythm that works well for us. We already do most of our meetings over video conferencing in Slack or Webex (Webex lets you see peoples’ faces even when you’re screen sharing, while Slack doesn’t). Most of our text communication is over Slack as well. We seldom use email.
We already meet with non-Nordic clients over video conferencing, so meeting Nordic clients this way as well hasn’t slowed down our sales team. Only one meeting has had to be cancelled without rescheduling, and we’re keeping up the pace in onboarding new clients.
As for project management, we use Clubhouse and integrate it with Slack. On top of using productboard to keep track of things customers are requesting, we have a good handle on who is working on what, and what’s a priority.
“What I like with having meetings over the web instead of in person is that the few meetings I had with clients take much less time than before, and it’s much easier to be on agenda and actually spending more time on the goal of the meeting than traveling, waiting, and talking about other stuff.
It's also easier to take notes while in the meeting, as we are all sitting at a computer anyway.
I have been able to join more customer meetings than before, just because they take less time. ”
The customer success team is also carrying on with quarterly webinars, and will reach out to our customers when sessions are available. Newsletters will be released on a quarterly basis as well, and will sum up all the new features in the tool created in the last four months.
The biggest changes have been in our personal lives. Now that we can’t go out, visit loved ones, and have to shop like we’re an extra in a zombie film, we’ve all come up with individual coping mechanisms. I asked people to answer the question: “what are you doing to keep happy/motivated?”
"I spend a large amount of my time feeling grateful for the privilege I have in being able to stay inside comfortably. I have several friends who don’t have healthcare or have temporarily lost job opportunities (including my partner who I now haven’t seen in 3.5 months but who's counting??). So as much as I have my cabin fever days, I find they’re actually more short-lived than I would have expected… At some point, we’re going to find ourselves in the hustle again and dare I say “miss” this time where staying inside is considered responsible as opposed to "lazy".
OH! Also, Animal Crossing!"
“I found I was getting restless sitting in the same place for the whole day. I would often work from coffee shops in the afternoon for a change of scene, but of course that isn’t an option at the moment. I’ve been trying to create several mini working spaces around the house, to give myself a bit of variety, and that has actually helped quite a bit. An old sideboard on the landing is now a pretty functional desk, and I’ve been rotating between the dining table and kitchen island to keep things fresh. I also bought myself a new keyboard, and I’m making use of the motivation you get from a shiny new desk tool to counteract being stuck inside all day.”
“Looking forward to my twice-weekly trip to stand in a queue for twenty minutes to receive rations.”
3 of us in CV Partner are parents, and 1 of us is expecting.
“I don't have any problems keeping busy at least. I'm not bored.”
Erik, Tech, 2 kids
“I think it’s worse for Erik.”
Erling, Founder, 1 kid
“I’m glad mine is young enough to not want to go outside and play yet. We’re taking him on walks in his buggy regularly and that seems to be just enough outside for him.”
Sam, Tech, 1 kid
“I keep buying things on Amazon.”
Jon, Tech, 2 cats
“I’m too fat to move anyway.”
Anna, customer success, expecting
To replace the usual casual conversation that happens over lunch, we’ve taken to Slack during lunch time. The first couple of times we did this we inevitably ended up talking about the Corona virus, comparing symptoms we thought we’d had, and sharing tweets we’d seen on the topic.
Over time, though, we’ve gotten better at making text-based smalltalk. Topics have included: pictures of my son’s antics (prompting the creation of the #cute channel to hold them, and other assorted cuteness), a comparison of the different types of milk, Betteridge’s law of headlines, and a debate on how much chilli powder is too much chilli powder.
Every friday we’ve started spending the last couple of hours of the working day playing games together over video conference. Nicolai has been preparing quizzes for us using Kahoot, James hosted an evening of Drawful, we did an evening of skribbl one time. It has been a blast and is a really nice way to round off the working week.
I hope this has given you some inspiration for ways you can make coping in this strange time a little easier.
All things considered, we are extremely grateful to be able to continue working in comfort and safety, and our thoughts are with those who are suffering through far worse conditions in these unusual times.
Stay home, stay safe. 🙏