June 13th, 2022
Covid-19 has changed the way people work, with many now working from home. This year, after much deliberation, we decided to work remotely full time. In this blog we're going to look at the ways we are keeping staff collaboration and engagement up whilst working from home.
Before the start of the pandemic, the team worked out of our large office in the city centre of Cardiff. Like many other businesses, due to the government restrictions the company was forced to shift to remote working.
Now the restrictions have ended, we're still primarily working from home; although, we do still have an office in Cardiff which we all visit from time to time.
Working from home comes with many benefits. It means we no longer need to commute, which not only saves us time and money, but is also better for the environment. It gives our staff a great work/life balance however, we have noticed some drawbacks.
One of the downsides we've found from remote working (besides not getting tea made by a colleague) is that we no longer get to see each other as often as we did before. Although we do get to see each other in Teams meetings, the talk is mostly business which doesn't leave a lot of time for socialising or general chit-chat, which are all part of a well-functioning office environment.
To help solve this problem, our developers have created a new App we've called Let's Chat. You can think of Let's Chat as a replacement for the office water cooler, where the team can gather around and have a good old chin wag!
How does it work, I hear you ask? Every week a few members of the team (usually across multiple departments) are randomly selected by the App. They are then added into a scheduled video call. During the call they can talk shop, or about anything else they like! If the participants are feeling particularly shy, Let's Chat also generates a list of topics that the group can discuss - genius!
Although the team is a close-knit bunch, we wanted to ensure this remains the case going forward. At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, George was a fresh-faced recruit. George started at a time when remote working was in full swing. We asked him how he felt starting a new job where he'd had not met any of the team:
'On the one hand it was nice not being overwhelmed with lots of new people to introduce myself to all at once, but it did also mean that some members of the team were people I took a long time to really start to get to know.'
George is now a seasoned employee of Webfactory, but also happened to be one of the first people to try out our new Let's Chat App. We asked him what he thought of the application and if he felt it would help new employees in the future.
'Initially thought the idea felt a bit cheesy, like seating plans in school. After having one call, I then realised it's a great idea as we get to speak to those we don't usually get a chance to speak with, and it means when we meet up for social events, we've got more of a foundation to build up great friendships from.'
Now many of us are working from home, we feel that Let's Chat will become a fundamental tool that will allow employees, both new and old, form stronger, more meaningful bonds with one another which will only help strengthen the team!
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