How Cactus Labs Quarantines
We’re all social distancing. Some of us are just better at it.
It’s been a bit over a week since Cactus Labs, the innovation and R&D cell at Cactus Communications, started working from home. With the exception of a few (Shrikant, Sam and Charlotte), pretty much all of us worked from office. We were kind of used to sitting in our bay and being at a 90° swerve from each other. So, as you can imagine, WFH took a bit of getting used to. They say, ‘Home is where heart is,’ but they forgot to mention that home is also where your bed, food and the rest of your family is. You guys can probably relate; using your CHEEL space (a.k.a. your room) to work can be a bit of a challenge. Nevertheless, even with the plague 2.0 looming over us, one must move forward. And move forward, we did.
We surmised that this change in environment would affect team morale which, in turn, would affect productivity. So, we devised some simple but effective ways to ensure that we’d all get through this. Here’s a glimpse of what a day in Cactus Labs is like:
- Starting with Stand-Up;
Since we’re all at home, most of us (with the exception of Tai a.k.a. Amruta) did not consider dressing up as we normally would. So, at Tai’s behest we dressed up just for the stand-up (the rest of the day was up to us).
Giving our daily update after making a bit of an effort proved to be fun, refreshing, and created a really cool team moment too.
2) Business as Usual;
Despite initial doubts, work continued at more or less the same pace. Deployments were made on schedule, meetings conducted and for many, productivity went up instead (ask Mayank for proof).
Photographic evidence of people at work:
Photographic evidence of people at work that have completed their evolutionary purpose:
Most of us took some time to get used to this, leaving our perpetual remote team members wondering what the big deal was.
3) Checking In;
Right around noon, Tai would check in with us. This was to kind of see what we were up to, and if we had experienced any issues being at home (and also to make sure none of us had fallen asleep, which, y’know, one is prone to do when a bed is nearby).
The idea of taking long distance tea breaks came from there.
4) Chai pe Charcha;
Back in the year 2019, when we were all still working from office, our team would usually take a tea/coffee break at about 4. During the whole WFH thing, we realized what that 4 pm cup of tea meant to us. It was kind of our designated bonding time; 4 pm was when we’d eat, relax, talk and make fun of Krishna. So there you have it, everyday at 4 we share (or spill) a cup of virtual tea and miss each other a little less.
Suffice to say, these are trying times. Outside (on the streets of Mumbai) there is deathly silence but inside there is noise. We’re surrounded by a lot of uncertainty, fake news reports; even the stuff that’s real seems to change a lot. Many are filled with dread, many with concern (and many with longing, let’s not leave them out of this). But in the midst of it all, I’m grateful there’s still work (believe it or not); something normal and stable to go back to. And on top of that I’m grateful for my team, working with them makes everyday a little bit more bearable. Just the knowledge that everyone is trying their hardest to make this work (including people in the field) is kind of a beacon of hope in itself. And I’m grateful for that too. Let’s stay strong, all the best to us!