NetMotion’s digital designer Megan takes a moment to share what life is like inside NetMotion, and how it has changed during the 2020 lockdown
Something was abundantly clear from the moment I first researched NetMotion Software—they were a family, and a close-knit one at that. From the outside I could see it: the cheery photos, the happy hours, the costume contests, the company’s Instagram page littered with adorable snapshots of the office dogs snoozing under employee’s desks… the list goes on.
I wouldn’t experience it for myself until my first day, and what a first day it was! In a coffee-fueled frenzy, NetMotion employees from across the globe descended on Austin, Texas for their annual sales kick-off (SKO) event. With all of us tired, and a few of us jetlagged, we arrived at our hotel. Still, wide-eyed, I watched as the lobby came alive with hugs, smiles and laughter. Despite their exhaustion, these folks were SO happy to see one another—to be there together. In that moment, I realized I was about to be part of something special.
In terms of camaraderie, life in the office would prove no different. Our Seattle headquarters is often abuzz with laughter and spontaneous activity. While things here in Victoria are a bit more subdued, we still appreciate a healthy dose of video game breaks and pizza luncheons together.
With this in mind, you can imagine what an adjustment it’s been with all of our offices closed, travel banned, and a strict ‘work from home’ policy in place. When workplace culture plays such a paramount role—not just in job satisfaction but employees’ overall wellbeing—what can we do to keep it alive and well? Here’s what the marketing team have been up to.
An ongoing dialogue
Microsoft Teams and other chat apps aren’t just for work-talk. In fact, in the NetMotion world, they’re predominantly for random banter and the sharing of news articles, memes, and pet photos. Connecting socially on things besides PDFs and spreadsheets (and being encouraged to do so by your employer) can do wonders in combatting work from home loneliness. And while it’s not quite the same, having a constant dialogue running in the background can replicate a bit of that in-office ‘water cooler’ atmosphere we’ve all been missing.
Not everyday is going to be fun or filled with laughs or even productivity. Some days, you’re just not feeling it. When you’re having one of those days, isn’t it great when somebody asks how you’re doing? They notice you’re off. They care.
Working remotely, it can be hard to pick up on how your teammates might be feeling. Sometimes it’s obvious when someone has something going on, but other times you won’t find out unless you ask. By checking in with your team, you show them that you care about them. While we’re all physically cut off from our friends and colleagues, showing virtual support to those people is more important now than ever.
Airing of the grievances
This one might be unique to NetMotion, but after getting over the awkwardness of it, I could really appreciate the value of this practice. During our weekly meetings, we hold a bit of a venting session where people get to make complaints, big or small, without judgment.
How many people complain about their work to their spouses or friends? (🙌) Now how many of those spouses or friends really understand (or even care) about the problems you’re complaining about? (tumbleweed) That’s what makes team venting so cathartic. It’s a chance to share what’s been bugging us and everyone else in the group gets to understand each other a bit better. Having a verbal outlet for your frustrations means that energy doesn’t seep in elsewhere.
Fun and games
Fun and games
‘The Toledo’ is the name of a local watering-hole in the Lake Union neighborhood where our Seattle office is situated. After, or even during, a particularly busy week, it’s not uncommon to find the team there enjoying a drink or two. During isolation, this ritual has simply turned digital. Our “Virtual Toledo” meetings usually consist of everyone enjoying their beverage of choice and playing an online game together. Now before you say you’re not a gamer, this is not an intimidating or overwhelming event. We play silly, accessible games that just about anyone can pick up and play using their computer or mobile device. You don’t need to be “into video games” to enjoy these with your friends and co-workers.
If nobody on your team has a gaming console, try this in-browser drawing game by Gartic. If you do have either a gaming console or streaming device (such as a Chromecast or AppleTV) at your disposal, check out the Jackbox library of games. Just one person needs to purchase and host the game while the rest of the players simply join on their mobile devices using a custom-generated room code.
Managers and leaders spend lots of time, money, and energy working on team-building events throughout the year when things are normal. Why should that stop just because we’re all stuck at home? Playing games as a group and working together in a casual setting helps grow the connections between co-workers and leads to a better work environment overall.
So that’s what we’ve been up to on the marketing team during these unprecedented times. These things have worked so well over the last month that I wouldn’t be surprised if we adopted some of these tactics even after we go back to the office. Who knows, maybe we’ll even elect to have days where we all work from home again, just to remember what it was like to have such a unique dynamic.