When I read an article about Super Evil Mega Corp’s “how we work” handbook and how they defined themselves as a remote-first company and which problems they tried to solve I immediately realized that Blankhans had the same challenges. We focused so much on what our first project will look like, that we forgot to define how we wanted our working environment to be.
To manifest the importance of a clear and thoughtful approach to a remote-first company, define processes, working tools, tenets, and essentially who we are – creating a handbook sounded exactly like the right step for us.
I am not going to lie, we copied the SEMC handbook in a google doc and started to collaboratively work on “our version”. So when you later read, you can still see the roots. So a big thank you here to the folks at SEMC for creating that great foundation.
However, there were specifics we felt were different to our team and situation. One huge topic that we have discussed a lot was the “always-on” policy in Discord that SEMC introduced. We felt that this would not fit our style of working. But we also saw that ad-hoc communication and “being in a room” was what all our remote experiences were missing. Just-in-time Slack introduced its new “huddle” feature. Which allows you to create and hang out in voice rooms by switching on a small button. All your teammates see that you and others are hanging out in voice and can jump in. We thought this could help us to create ad-hoc communication and “being together” without forcing people into a mandatory Discord policy.
We implemented that into our working philosophy and are now going into the second week of “huddling”. I can’t tell you today if we keep this forever, but for now, it really improved how we work together. And that is what “how we work” is all about. It is an ever-evolving handbook to us and our colleagues on how we want to create the best working environment possible. It will change. It has to change. We acknowledge that it will never be perfect, but improve with every iteration.