Company · 5 min read

Cool things we do at api.video to break the monotony of remote work

Find out how api.video's People Team ensures that team members don't miss out on in-person banter while working from home.

Alix Manté-Martini,

Louise Baraille

January 15, 2024

At api.video, we proudly champion the remote-first lifestyle, stitching together a vibrant team from all corners of the world. This geographical diversity allows us to welcome fantastic talent from every location, embracing the joy of working from the comfort of their homes. The perks? Unparalleled work flexibility, the freedom to sculpt your work-life harmony, and adieu to weekend laundry woes!

 

Yet, in remote work, there's a downside—the absence of in-person banter with colleagues. And that’s the gap that the People’s Team at api.video aims to fill.

 

Let’s see how.

1. Virtual coffee and a buddy for new joiners

It isn’t easy for new joiners to find their comfort in a virtual setup.

 

For that reason, we have created some tools and process to help new joiners not just understand our organisation but also go through a seamless integration and be able to establish meaningful connections from day one.

 

We start by sharing visual organisation charts and directories with them so that they can swiftly familiarise themselves with our organisational landscape. Beyond structured introductions, we also give them the opportunities to create connections with their colleagues through ‘virtual coffee sessions’ and a ‘buddy system’.

 

Giving our new joiners a buddy – a person who hand-holds them in their initial days in the company – is equivalent to giving them an office tour and telling them small things like where the coffee machine is. And we feel that is very important in a virtual setup.

 

We also set up virtual coffee sessions of the new joiners with team members they will be frequently interacting with, just to say a casual hi, or discuss how they can work together ahead.

2. Not just townhalls, but learning opportunities too

You may be chatting with your team day in and day out, but coming together as a company at least twice a month is also important.

 

Every two weeks, all the employees of api.video come together to have an ‘All-Hands’ where we share company updates and exciting projects that the teams are working on. The remaining two weeks of the month, we host ‘Learning Sessions’. This is the time where a team member from any of the departments shares some interesting insights from his/her field.

 

We feel that devoting this time to learn about a team member’s work enables other team members to understand how each of them contribute to the company and makes them value each other more.

 

For example, last month, our SEO manager, Sebastien Girard hosted a TED Talk on SEO (see image below) and spilled some fun facts about how SEO works. It was an eye-opener for many as they they came to know the potential of SEO!

Session by our SEO Manager on how SEO works

3. Bringing out hidden talent through games

We also often turn our virtual workspace into a playground with Scribbl games, ice breaker questions and pub quizzes!

 

If you don’t know, Scribbl is on online platform where you have to draw a certain word on the virtual blackboard and other team members need to guess it. It is where some people transform into artists, guessing wild doodles, and sharing infectious smiles across the screen. It's more than just a game; it's a nice way to get together and add a splash of fun to our work days through weird, funny scribbles.

 

Similarly, a session with some ice breaker questions is intended to ignite conversations, foster connections and break the ice with engaging and fun questions.

A Scribbl game in progress

4. End-of-year fun and celebrations

As the end of the year approaches, we infuse the festive spirit into our virtual workspace with some delightful virtual get-togethers. Embracing the holiday cheer, everyone comes together for virtual celebrations around Christmas, sharing jokes, competing in games to win goodies and gifts. There are secret Christmas recipe competitions, ugliest sweater awards and much more!

 

These activities are done in an effort to mirror the joyous atmosphere of traditional year-end festivities and to ensure that the spirit of togetherness is not lost in the virtual space.

5. Creating virtual water cooler moments

Working from home means you can get your coffee breaks any moment, but had you been in office, wouldn’t you love to share that time with your colleagues?

 

In an attempt to establish those water cooler moments, we have the ‘Wednesday Water Cooler’ question. Each week, we send through a random question on our Slack channel where team members can share their answers. This way we can get to know the little things about our colleagues which otherwise we wouldn’t really know!

A recent Wednesday Water Cooler question on Slack

6. In-person meet-ups in France (or elsewhere)

Despite the digital landscape of remote work, we recognize the importance of the human touch. Periodically, we make an effort to gather in the office for some good old-fashioned face-to-face interaction. These in-person meet-ups serve as invaluable opportunities to understand the pulse of our colleagues. Beyond the confines of virtual meetings, we engage in casual conversations, exchange laughs, and share experiences. It's these moments of personal connection that bring a deeper understanding of each team member, strengthening the bonds that transcend the digital realm.

A fun meet-up of teammates in Bordeaux

To wrap up, working from home has its perks and downfalls and we recognise both its advantages and challenges. As the People’s Team, we're on a mission to strengthen team connections by coming up with engaging, purposeful, and downright fun experiences all year round. We're always on the lookout for activities that sprinkle some joy and connection into our remote work adventure, because that is the least we can do, right?

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