Feeling disconnected when working remotely? How one special Slack channel helped us.

#Pulse to the rescue


Written by @Haje, @Screencloud’s CCWYAUTATMO (Chief Curious-what-you’re-up-to-at-the-moment Officer)


At ScreenCloud, we’re building the future of digital signage. That’s pretty exciting. We’re also spread all over the word — Also very exciting, but with staff in geographical locations with a huge variety in time difference, we were finding that it’s tricky to have a feeling for what everyone is working on at any given time.

In the end, we found a really simple solution that makes a huge difference: A Slack channel and a IFTTT integration.

Keeping a finger on the #Pulse

The Slack channel is called #Pulse; A bit poetic, perhaps, but the problem we were trying to solve was very much a “I don’t feel I have a finger on the pulse of what’s going on throughout the company” — and #Pulse seemed to make as much sense as #Checkins or #wotwedid

The idea is simple:

  1. When you start your work day, you post whatever you’re planning to do that day
  2. When you complete your work day, you post what you did, or what you’ve got up your sleeve for the next day

“Rules”

So far, we’ve let the channel be pretty laissez-faire, but I feel that it works best when there’s no discussion in the channel — If a developer says they’re trying to crack a tricky bug, people trying to help tend to get in touch in the #Dev channel instead.

It also helps when the status updates are kept really brief. After all, the whole point is that you’re meant to be able to feel up to date with what has been going on when you’ve been away surfing, sleeping, working on the next day’s hang-over, or whatever it is you do when you’re not working.

Reminders to build a habit

Two IFTTT -> Slack recipes post reminders to people

To help build the habit of using #Pulse, we created an IFTTT integration that posts a reminder twice per day:

Oh what a beautiful day! :heart: . What are you working on today, @here?

and

Crikey, it’s {{DayOfWeek}} already! What are you up to today, @here?

Note the use of the @Here command — it makes a lot more sense for us than using @everyone or @channel; The two latter commands sends a notification even to the people who are likely to be asleep, whereas @here only notifies you if you’re ‘active’ on Slack; an important consideration when at any given time, part of your team may be off duty.


Photo at the top of this post is Abstract Depths (cc) Nullfy.com

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