A year of working from home

Our learnings (and tips) from a year of remote work

Like most tech companies, we had to redefine how we work and connect in 2021.

We had a bit of practice in 2020, as we started working from home in spring that year. The foundation we set in 2020 for organising our remote work processes really helped to have smooth sailing in 2021. We stuck to our daily standup routine, planned work in short sprints, and moved a massive chunk of our creative work to Figma, Whimsical, and Dropbox Paper, ensuring easy access, transparency, and a good collaboration experience for everyone.

However, besides having great remote work practices, we quickly realised how important the social connection is for maintaining a good team’s health and smooth collaboration.

While in 2020 we were meeting regularly for social activities, right from the start of 2021, we were faced with a lockdown and multiple restrictions, which meant that we could not meet in person for more than 6 months. We had to look for new creative ways to connect with each other beyond just work tasks.

Here’s a bunch of things that worked well for us to keep the team spirit during the lockdown:

  • Friday Hangouts. We introduced a weekly video call, where 2 or 3 colleagues had to present something they were passionate or curious about. Our topics ranged from aquariums to Counter-Strike, and we even had a live session of cake-making, where team members chose the toppings of a cake made in real-time by our colleague Bianka. What a way to wind down and finish the work week!
  • Quizbreaker. We enjoyed this fun, personalised weekly trivia that helped us learn a lot about each other. And we awarded the winner at the end.
  • Mental wellbeing day. At some point in spring, after several months of restrictions, we could all feel the toll it took on us. We decided it was a time for a day off, with an intention to take care of our body and mind — going for a long walk or a run, reading a book, or just preparing nice meals and taking multiple naps. Whatever made any of us feel relaxed and grounded.
  • Care packages. To boost the spirit, we sent our team members little parcels that we named “care packages”. It included some healthy (and not so healthy) snacks, good wine, and a bouquet of tulips to decorate our home offices.
  • FigmAdventure. You know how we all love Figma. So we just had to try this fun game (all based in Figma) with the team.
This must have been a great 💩 joke, but what happens in Google Meet, stays in Google Meet.
  • Satisfaction surveys and 1–1 meetings. Throughout the year, we sticked to a regular schedule of our employee satisfaction surveys (we use Workday Peakon) and quartely 1–1’s to have a solid platform for both direct and anonymous conversations about all-things-work, as well as our experiences working remotely.
  • Team retreat. When it was finally safe to do so, we went for a two-day team retreat in a beautiful historic castle close to Copenhagen. We mixed work sessions with fun games and long dinners.

This past year was quite different from what we had been used to, but it gave us an opportunity to find creative approaches to how we grow together as a team.

Now we look ahead and hope for a fun and hopefully a bit more hybrid 2022.

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A blog about icons, illustrations, design and designers

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Ieva Andriuleviciute

Ieva Andriuleviciute

Marketing and Partnership Manager @Iconfinder

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