By David Scott, Managing Member at Avid Communications.
We’re a bit of an old-school operation. While we do have a keg in the office, it only gets used on late Friday afternoons. We don’t have a ping pong table and we don’t have a free in-house lunch buffet. Off-site team builders are somewhat of a rarity.
But the nature of our work is very social, very interactive, both with our customers and with each other. So the Coronavirus crisis, with about 75% of our people working from home, is a real challenge. Our communications tools, including a Slack-like platform called Ryver, are excellent, but they are somewhat dehumanizing.
Enter Matthew Sutton and Tim Campbell.
Matthew had a recent tenure at a company where work-at-home was routine, and he suggested a variety of things to bring people back together on a personal level. Tim has worked remotely for a decade–most of that time for Avid, and he had advice on keeping a daily work routine while telecommuting.
Avid’s First Virtual Happy Hour
Recently, we held our first virtual happy hour using our own Accession Meeting service. It was remarkable, as we heard the war stories from the week, were introduced to people’s pets (and sometimes children), and got to see each other’s smiling faces for the first time in two weeks. (Note that in the photo, it’s Taylor Cates, our Director of Sales, in the owl costume.) With about 20 people in the meeting, the audio and video quality were great–thank, Accession Meeting!
Water Cooler Talk and Food Channels…
Matthew had suggested we set up some completely non-work related channels in Ryver. It was there I learned about the show “Tiger King,” which I plan to watch if the kids ever go to bed early. Our “Water Cooler” channel is for any random small talk, such as which stores have toilet paper in stock. Our “Food” channel is a good place to find out which restaurants are offering carry out.
Our “Water Cooler” channel featured an anagram challenge: “WILD VARMINT HOLDS HOG”, and nobody was surprised when resident genius Joel Huffman solved it in a few minutes. (Answer: David M Hollingsworth).
All of this helps lighten the burden of today’s challenging world, and reminds us all that we are privileged to work with a pretty special group of people.