Cofounder and Vice President Brendan Philp shares his team’s tools and tricks for working when not on campus at StartWell.
How are you maintaining routine as a team – through the day and the week?
We are maintaining our sprint planning on the same schedule as well as our morning scrums with video calls instead of physical stand ups. We’ve also added new routines to keep the team connected like weekly socials and live working sessions over video chat.
Are you carving out time to socialize online together – if so, what do you guys do and how technically is this achieved?
We have a weekly social just like StartWell on Thursdays no less! On Fridays we’ve been doing a little round up at the end of the day to play some games and bring up any challenges we’ve had. We’ve lastly scheduled “brown bag hours” which are informal fun presentations.
Favorite video conferencing application and why?
So far we use Uberconference for external calls since the rooms are static and the audio quality is good. For internal we use GSuite. That being said, Zoom is the only one we’ve found with breakout rooms which would be a great feature for things like socials.
Compared to meeting in person, how has it felt to rely on digital communication tools to speak with:
Clients: Our clients know we already had work from home days so that wasn’t a big challenge, it’s more been them adapting to working from home and being empathetic to that on our end.
Colleagues/team-members: We’ve had to make sure we’re listening to all our team members are stress levels are high with the amount of negativity in the media and their isolation from others. Letting people try their own ideas to stay connected and making sure we check in with everyone consistently is essential.
Partners: For partners who don’t often work remote, we’ve had to adapt to understanding that their original timelines are not always realistic as they bring their operations remote. We’ve helped with advice, and lots of ad hoc calls to help them adapt.
Any other software or other tools you’ve started using because of not coming together in person?
We’ve used Jackbox to play games together, Jukebot (a slack plugin) to have a communal playlist so we can all listen to the same music, and Teamwork for project management.
What do you miss most about being together?
Collaboration and connection. No matter how good digital connectivity is, you can’t connect emotionally the same way over text or video as seeing someone face to face.
Why are you looking forward to coming back together at StartWell?
OMG the natural light, meeting rooms, broader socials, and decorating our new office…. I have plans…
Are there specific features/amenities of membership here at StartWell which the team misses – collectively or individually?
We miss the coffee bar for the random chats and meeting fellow business owners.
How will you work differently when you come back to the office?
We won’t to be honest, aside from being far more grateful for what we have and what we get at StartWell. We’re blessed to transition to WFH without a lot of difficulty so we won’t change ourselves too much coming back.