Two testers and a developer walk into a slack channel….
I’m guessing you were expecting a punch line here. Unfortunately, rather than tell you a joke I am going to take you on a short journey into the new virtual work from home world!
Let’s go back 18 months. A nervous senior developer has just started at MAG-O. It had just been a month when COVID hit us and changed the way we lived our daily lives. Suddenly, all of us are locked up at home.
To be honest, elements of being locked up were a welcome relief given the new role and everything that came with it.
First, the awful daily commute! No more endless hours sat in traffic or being herded on to trains like sheep. I’m not a morning person, so having to go to bed early all I can picture is that I’m locked up and the warden is about to shout “lights out”.
But this also brought plenty of challenges and getting back to the original topic, the challenge of building relationships with your colleagues. I usually end up being good friends with my colleagues, but this would be the first time I would be doing this completely remotely.
Liam and I had spent a brief time in the office and Jimmy had joined the team post COVID lockdown. If you’ve not already guessed these two are our legendary testers!
Discussing tickets and bugs led us to create our own slack channel, but it soon evolved to be about more than just bugs. What was apparent in this new virtual world was the relationship you built with your colleagues was going to be different.
Suddenly, seeing elements of their lives, paintings, pictures, rooms on camera and discussing these when most likely you would have never done that before. Not to mention the funny incidents with their kids running in or saying something hilarious in the background.
I had to apologise to a colleague as we discussed gateways and had my sons in the background battling to get into the bathroom. Let’s say the battle involved giving far more details than anybody ever needs to hear! At least not my work colleagues.
Back to us three, in the slack channel not only do we discuss work but Liam keeps us updated with his food pics everyday! We more or less know what each one is having for dinner! He really puts us two to shame with his cooking skills. There are memes being shared and even running commentary about the football recently.
So, what’s the point of this little story and taking up several minutes of your precious time? We have evolved! Nothing major like growing an extra arm, that would be handy though (Apology for the dad joke).
We miss those little interactions with colleagues and would still be nice to meet up in person but at the same time have we taken the interactions with our colleagues to the next level? Do we understand them/their lives better? Not being stressed from the rushed daily commute are we better people to be around?
I’m sure everybody will have their opinions about this but I’m enjoying the benefits of working remotely and looks like our business (MAG-O) has embraced this opportunity and the benefit it brings to its employees. We decide if we want to go into the office and how often we go. Our retros regularly have cards where somebody has brought up how well the team has collaborated and I definitely feel I am more productive this way.
Has this opened the doors for flexibility to go with what suits you best? Work from home, in the office or a mixture of both. Hopefully our wallets, the environment and families will reap the benefits.