Have you ever thought about introducing (remote) hack days or hackathons in your company/team, but did not know how to set this up? Then this might help. It’s by no means a go-to, we’ll just tell you how we do it.

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Company hack days are a common format to break the cycle of everyday work, encourage collaboration between people, who usually don’t work together and to learn something new. They trade the constraints of (in our case) client work for a very different constraint: making something useful or fun within a single day.

We’ve done company hack days in the past, but they were always co-located in the office, with pizza and drinks for everyone, creating this special atmosphere, which is both more relaxed and playful than usual, but also strangely tense because of the end-of-day deadline.

When the pandemic hit in March, we abandoned hack days for a few months because we felt they’d introduce more stress into an already stressful situation and also we weren’t sure how they would work remotely. After a few months of working from home and settling into the new rhythm, we approached the topic again. …

How do you stay together as a team or rather connect as people in a time, where you only see each other on a screen?

2020 is the year everything is different. Covid-19 has changed the way we live and the way we work. We’re all missing human (like real human) interactions, be it in personal life or at work. As you can read here, our company is basically completely remote.

We would see each other’s faces from time to time during a Zoom meeting, but you hardly saw someone outside your dedicated team and you especially never saw everyone at once.

In most of 2020 there was no chitchat at the coffee machine, deep talks on lunch breaks or going out for drinks after work. …

Why we decided to let go of core working hours in favor of a completely flexible schedule

When the pandemic started back in March, we decided to close the office for a couple of months. We reduced our core working hours, which for years have been from 10 am to 6 pm, to a short 11 am to 3 pm and basically everyone was working completely remote. The office reopened in August, having adapted the mandatory Covid-19 regulations, but almost all of our colleagues kept working in home office.

Paired with the isolation Covid-19 has forced us into, undoubtedly work-life-balance got harder to manage. Probably you can relate: You don’t go out for lunch anymore, you don’t meet friends. On some days, you don’t even stop working, because you think something like: “Oh I’ll just have a quick lunch in front of the laptop” or “Hey, it’s just 30 min to dinner anyways, I’ll keep working on this”. …

Maria Gebhardt

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