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What are some of your remote ways of working that reflect office interactions?

Kristen Roth Atlassian Team Feb 23, 2022
Curious... are there any ways of working, habits, or rituals that you’ve transferred from working in an office — and changed a bit — to your remote work lifestyle?
Here are a few examples I’ve heard of:
  • “Leaving the office” convos: In your team’s group chat, asking about everyone’s evening or weekend plans before closing your laptop for the day and logging off
  • Mirroring in-person meeting habits: During calls, making it a point to respond quickly to questions asked to the group in order to avoid silence on the line while everyone waits for someone else to speak up 
  • “Stopping by a teammate’s desk” for a quick discussion: Firing up impromptu video calls with teammates so you can discuss a project detail or ask a question face-to-face instead of just messaging each other back and forth
  • Seeing each other face to face: Always having your web cam on during video calls so you can see each others’ faces (most of us actually do this by default at Atlassian, but it seems somewhat uncommon elsewhere!)


It’s been great to hear how some of these habits have really helped teams feel connected and I’d love to hear more! What do you find yourself doing?


I like this topic a lot. Because I bet there are many things that can/should be adjusted but we don't think about it because we're used to doing something a certain way.

One thing I used to do while working from an office, is notice how everyone was feeling around me. I'd hear people sigh and ask what was up. I'd hear people cheer and clap along with, sometimes without even asking what the celebration was all about hahah. Now as a remote worker, I don't have those cues. So I try to take notice of people's Slack statuses, whether they're emoji reacting or not (silence sometimes means people are overwhelmed), or I might even send a ping if I haven't heard from someone in a while.

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I get the idea of mirroring in-person meeting habits, but I have a concern. We must be considerate of others and not dominate meetings. There are external factors at play in virtual meetings that no one has control over. I'm thinking of slow internet connections or other technical issues in particular, but there may be others.

The key takeaway is to ensure everyone has the opportunity to speak up and have their voice. Silence in meetings in my opinion isn't necessarily a bad thing. Online meeting best practice is largely the same as for an in person meeting. Silence could mean folk are thinking. The meeting Chair should allow everyone a say and not allow anyone to dominate a meeting.

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Kristen Roth Atlassian Team Feb 24, 2022

Love the Slack status tip, @Christine P_ Dela Rosa! There's really so much that can be said in a simple status update and through the ways people interact via chat. Sometimes we just need to pay a little more attention. 

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Kristen Roth Atlassian Team Feb 24, 2022

@Colum McAndrew I totally hear you there and hadn't thought about it that way. One person thinking they're being helpful by avoiding awkward silences could turn in to them dominating conversation. Good meeting facilitation skills are especially important in this remote world.

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For sure @Colum McAndrew. I agree that silence is absolutely okay and good facilitation is important to ensure there's equitable opportunity for voices to be heard (assuming folks want to talk of course).

For me, it's more about trends. Like, if someone is usually vocal at a high or low level, usually reactionary on Slack, etc, that data needs to be taken into account. 

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Great topic! Personally, I feel our team is less connected than when we were all in the office. In the past two years, much of our work has been offshored so there are fewer people left in the local office. Also, the office space was cut in half (we had a lot of extra, unused space) and was nicely remodeled. Teams that used to be seated nearby are now further away. (I've only been in the office once. High risk for me.) 

A couple of ways that help us work together better:

  • Sharing our screens in discussions. As issues are discussed, different people might jump in to share different items so we have visuals.
    (It's pretty rare to show faces since they don't enhance the discussion at hand. We have one meeting where people turn cameras on, but people get distracted watching others eat or type or play with their dog, etc. and the meeting loses focus.)  
  • Recording meetings in Teams. Not everyone can make every meeting, so recordings are an opportunity for people to stay caught up. 
  • Team channel in Teams. Our team has a channel for our own discussions where we can ask questions, check up on each other, make jokes, offer help, etc. It's really helped us bond from different parts of the country. 
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Kristen Roth Atlassian Team Feb 24, 2022

Thank you for sharing, @Rose Eliff! I agree  screen sharing and recording meetings are both SO helpful! And I'd be lost without our team channel in Slack. Those fun little non-business interactions really brighten up my work day and help me feel closer to my team.

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This is an awesome conversation starter.

I really miss being able to ask my teammates a quick question by swinging by their desk. So I've really enjoyed being able to say, "Hey! I want to talk to you about [project] for 5-10 if you have time this morning. I'm free for the next two hours, will you drop me a zoom link if you have a few to chat?"

This is often more efficient than typing out whatever question I have, a little more personable, and hopefully less interrupt-y than scheduling an actual meeting. 

We use the /zoom shortcut in slack to make this process extra easy, too. :) 

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Kristen Roth Atlassian Team Feb 24, 2022

YES! I'm a huge fan of this as well, @Samie Kaufman - Your Gal at Gliffy . That /zoom shortcut is so handy!

I agree with the others that this topic is an important one in these times. Due to Covid, we're also switching more and more into a distributed company - and I still see the biggest challenge in maintaining good close relationships. Here's some of the things we've transferred:

  • See each other face to face: This is super important to me. We're doing all our internal meetings with video - and I can't imagine doing it via phone or without video. I wouldn't even see my colleagues for ages. This way, I can at least see their facial reactions which gives me a closer connection to them and it's also helpful to see if they actually understand what I'm talking about.
  • Talk about private matters: Every Monday morning standup starts with talking about our weekend. It's great how that has been built into our routine so that we also actively share what we've enjoyed or experienced or got stressed in some way at the weekend.

I guess, there plenty of more - maybe I'll continue at a later point of time.

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Kristen Roth Atlassian Team Feb 24, 2022

Thanks for sharing, @Matthias Gaiser _K15t_ ! The Monday morning standup idea is great. It sounds like such a nice way to kick off the week with your team. I'd love to hear more if you have them! :)

Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Feb 24, 2022

This is a fantastic topic @Kristen Roth!

For our company, we keep cameras on for face to face interaction in team meetings or projects meetings where the groups are smaller and a round table discussion is expected.  In the larger "All Hands" meetings (where there are 1000+ attendees) generally only the speakers have cameras turned on.

Even in the office I never really had "leaving the office convos" as most people were still in meetings or had headphones on and deeply focused when I would take off for the day.  However, saying good morning in our team slack channel is a daily ritual that seems to have continued to remote work.

One thing that I think remote would has helped make more efficient is the fact that previously when I was working in the office (I'm always an early bird), I would wait for people to get into the office to have a quick conversation about a task or project.  In addition (because I would leave earlier than most) they would wait until the next day to chat with me about things that came up later in the afternoon.  Async communication has become a standard, even during the day and I suspect that will continue.

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Kristen Roth Atlassian Team Feb 24, 2022

Wow. That's huge! Async communication for the win! I've noticed more and more people defaulting to async when they probably would've called a meeting if we were in an office. As you noted, it's often so much more efficient and such a time saver. Thanks for sharing, @Jimmy Seddon !

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We actually use a #status channel in Slack to say things like 'good morning', 'taking a break for a while', 'got a dr appointment', 'picking up kids', 'i'm back', or 'out for the day' so you don't feel snubbed when someone's not available - all those "micro-conversations" that were organic in the office have become organic for us on Slack now!

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Lars Maehlmann Community Leader Mar 28, 2022

Interesting topic, we have started to use "the huddle" function from the slack application quite a lot. We keep it open in channels just to quickly talk to colleagues  just to share information or question.
Sometime it is like a long phone call with friends .... it is very helpful and it feels easier than to start a meeting with a camera.

Andy Gladstone Community Leader Feb 24, 2022

@Kristen Roth our team has been mostly on premises since the end of the first wave in Summer 2020. That being said, the short time we all had in a WFH environment certainly has changed some of the ways we work in the office.

  • Zoom calls and Slack Huddles have become more commonplace, even for team members in the same building. I feel that's been a negative change.
  • To offset that with a positive change, the friendly in-person interaction are more meaningful as everyone has a greater appreciation for their co-workers health and well being. I see more team members that may not have avoided each other, but didn't seek each other out either pre-pandemic, make a concerted effort to greet each other and share a few moments together. That's building healthy relationships and culture in our office and are a positive change from before the pandemic.
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Kristen Roth Atlassian Team Feb 24, 2022

Oh interesting, @Andy Gladstone ! Are these Zoom calls and Slack Huddles happening when everyone is in the same building? Our Trello team has always been remote first and had a rule that if there was even a single person not in the building, the meeting would be on Zoom. 

Love the positive change you mentioned. Those workplace relationships are so important and were likely taken for granted a bit by some before the pandemic.

Andy Gladstone Community Leader Feb 24, 2022

@Kristen Roth most of the time at least one attendee is not in the building. Pre-pandemic everyone that was in the same location would usually dial in together from a conference room and the multiple locations would meet via Zoom from the conference rooms. Now, we can all be in adjacent offices and on the same zoom call. I find that meeting attendees were more attentive when in the same room. There was pressure to pay attention then vs. now when we are all in our own offices and doing the dreaded multi-tasking everything = not giving 100% attention to anything. :-(

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Kristen Roth Atlassian Team Feb 24, 2022

Oof. Yes, great callout. Multi-tasking is definitely a downfall of fully remote meetings. I remember in the office we used to make it a point to keep laptops closed during meetings but it's not something we can do anymore!

Great topic @Kristen Roth it‘s so important to stay connected.

I agree to all of the suggested examples and in addition we have our „daily lunch break open Teams session“ where you can dial in (or not), somehow 
like the talk at the office coffee machine. 

And Monday mornings we have a call with non-work related topics - just like „how was your weekend“. Somehow similar to what @Matthias Gaiser _K15t_ mentioned

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Kristen Roth Atlassian Team Feb 24, 2022

Great ones, @nina_schmidt ! The team lunch break idea is really neat and something I hadn't heard of! 

Taranjeet Singh Community Leader Feb 24, 2022

@Kristen Roth That's a really great topic in these remote working times!

It is really great to hear and learn from others here how they have either changed their remote work styles to mimic those in-person work interactions.

For me, personally, I am working remotely since July 2018, which is even before COVID-19 started. My nature of work has been virtual so long that I feel like I have almost forgotten the in-person working habits or lifestyle.

But the only things or tools that have come to the rescue and kept me connected to my team members, whether internal or external client teams are : Slack and Zoom. Because of these tools, which I use for both official and personal or social communications, I have been able to stay sane in these tough times. I really appreciate how such tools have managed to bring the world together and your loved ones closer to each other, even if everyone is geographically separated.

I am still eagerly waiting for those in-person office interactions and fun gatherings for healthy relationship building, even if remote working has its own advantages.

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Kristen Roth Atlassian Team Feb 24, 2022

I agree, @Taranjeet Singh ! It's been great to learn from and get new ideas from others :)

I also started working remotely full time before the pandemic (in 2015). Question for you: how did it feel for you when everyone else went remote? I instantly felt so much more connected. I was no longer the only floating head on a Zoom screen while others were together in a meeting room, and I no longer had to be filled in on those random side conversations that had taken place in the office since they all started taking place via Slack. Did you notice something similar?

Taranjeet Singh Community Leader Feb 24, 2022

@Kristen Roth I agree and can very well relate to this feeling of not being left out of those in-person work conversations that take place in the office. Since the teams are geographically distributed these days, so more and more organizations are preferring the collaboration tools like Zoom and Slack for their daily work related meetings or ceremonies, and this has also made it possible for such organizations to be able to offer  remote or hybrid working options to their employees.

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Kristen Roth Atlassian Team Feb 24, 2022

Exactly! It's nice that we're now all "in one place" :) 

Our team has just started using Gather to simulate spatial interactions. It's like Stardew Valley and Zoom had a baby that was a little like Second Life. It's neat to be able to "walk past" someone else's conversation and know whether you want to join or keep moving, to see that the DevOps guys appear to be in serious conversation (instead of seeing nebulous headphone or meeting icons in Slack), and to have a visual virtual space for meetings vs. one for playing a game together. (I miss office ping pong and game nights more than I thought I did!)

My personal WFH "hack" is less about interaction, but I find that if I dress like a whole adult human who is going out in public, I have a better focus on work. I think it helps me take my mindset to a "work" place even though I'm at my house. 

I've stayed in my jammies a couple times and found it totally derails my productivity. (I DO wear house shoes almost every day, but I did at my desk in the office, too!)

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Gather looks interesting! Thanks for sharing, @Anne Saunders !

I totally understand that hack and can relate. For me, though, it's more about my workspace. Having a dedicated home office is what really helps me get into work mode. (And though they're not quite pjs, I DO wear very comfy clothes most days!)

I'm so scattered, I need both! LEAVING the home office at go home time is a big work/life balance deal, too. 

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Kristen Roth Atlassian Team Feb 24, 2022

Haha! And yes, it really is! Yet another reason I love that dedicated work space. I can physically close a door behind me and walk away when I'm finished for the day. 

Tuncay Senturk Community Leader Mar 05, 2022

Gather seems great! I loved that, thanks for sharing @Anne Saunders 

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Darryl Lee Atlassian Team Mar 11, 2022

I started to experiment with the virtual workplace on which is quite awesome! 

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Random coffee Each month you are randomly placed with 3-4 others who have been randomly selected from across the office. As part of the selection process some is chosen to be the lead, someone is the sub-lead. 

The leads job is to book the calendar appointment that's suitable for everyone. If after a few days that's not happened (in the case the lead is on leave etc) then it's down the sub to book the meeting. 

When we meet up we introduce ourselves including information about what team we are in, how long we have worked at the company, what we like getting up too. 

We've found it great for meeting new people, discussing issues and generally have a bit of time to chat. 

There is also a special random coffee for new starters - so they can meet others who have recently started at the organisation. 

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What a wonderful way to get to know others in the company, what they do and how you can interact. It really helps to build a more-connected company culture. 

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Kristen Roth Atlassian Team Mar 14, 2022

How fun! I love this idea. Thank you for sharing, @adrianwood !

Belto Atlassian Team Mar 23, 2022

Being able to drop on my headphones and get lost in the music, essentially creating my own bubble

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Kristen Roth Atlassian Team Mar 23, 2022

Focus mode 🎶

Virtual coffee time is great for getting started in the morning and chatting with colleagues.

Great! I loved it. :)


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