As a values-driven company, we are guided by empathy. And when we transitioned to a fully remote workplace overnight back in March, we saw a deep need to provide opportunities for people to connect, whether about what’s going on in the world around them or over their passions and interests.
More than half of our employees are accustomed to coming to an office and working with their teammates — and friends — five days a week. And although we already support Fastly’s remote employees with learning and connection, suddenly the way the whole world interacts changed overnight.
On top of putting in place formal practices to set our team up for success (read more about that here), we also got to work planning moments of joy, ways to interact with other Fastlyans, support meetings, and things to look forward to. We thought we’d share a few ideas of what’s working for us. We’d love to hear what you’re doing too! Share your thoughts with us on Twitter.
Variety creates space
Our Workplaces team was quick to engage the skills they use creating in-office connections to creating connections among all our employees now working from home. We listened to what Fastylans were saying and worked as a team to experiment with various ideas in the first few weeks, including “yappy hours” that show off our furry companions at home, acoustic sessions showcasing Fastlyan musical talents, and a fitness Slack channel with daily challenges for motivation to keep moving.
One of the things we realized is that there’s no harm in trying something new. The worst-case scenario is you’re in a Zoom meeting by yourself — but who knows, maybe one of those off-the-wall ideas will turn into a standby.
The Tiger King-themed meet up was a hit.
Something for everyone
Let’s be real, wearing a funny hat and jumping in on a video conversation isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time, and we get that. We wanted to build inclusivity into our wide offering of activities, and that meant not only making room for different time zones but also for different levels and types of engagement.
We created a Fastly coloring book for the young — or the young at heart. One of our Learning and Development managers, Angela Noell, hosts a 15-minute guided meditation a couple times a week, where we simply breathe together, cameras off. We also started a masterclass series that gets Fastlyans sharing their passions with their teammates over Zoom. So far, we’ve had classes on nail care and candle making.
And our CEO, Joshua Bixby, started a children’s story hour where employees can join with their families for a cheery respite from the day. Not all social interactions need to look the same.
Fastly CEO Joshua reads us a story.
Lightheartedness provides relief
In addition to providing mental health resources, fitness classes, support groups, and time to decompress, we’ve found that sometimes team members just want something fun to look forward to. That’s where a little levity can take the lead.
For example, we celebrated Half-o-ween (halfway to Halloween!) in costume. Encouraged by the festivities, some team members showed up to meetings in wigs, hats, or with unusual Zoom backgrounds.
Why yes, that is Bob Ross at the Fastly Half-o-ween.
We’re still learning and adding new programs frequently. Sentiments shift, and circumstances are altering at different speeds in different locations. As things change, we must adjust our approach too, listening to what people want and need in their mostly online lives right now.
We’re finding inspiration from outside sources but also from our own employees, who are taking this spirit and running with it — whether through a team session of Family Feud or Jeopardy, a glitter-themed happy hour, or simply more coffee or tea chats with coworkers throughout the week.
Right now, these types of activities are helping us find joy and some light distraction in uncertain times. But they’re also teaching us about the possibility for true connection regardless of location, time zone, or team. And that’s something that will stick with us long after things get back to “normal.”