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All-hands on… Zoom? How We’re Surviving WFH

Like many of you, the team at M13 was asked to flatten the curve and went into mandatory work from home. As our recent remote work webinar described, not everyone is familiar with working from home and relying on group calls and video conferencing. Our team is accustomed to collaborating with distributed teammates — M13 is located in LA, NYC and SF — but it was an abrupt adjustment for the many of us used to hanging out in our Santa Monica bungalow five days a week, interacting and working with one another in real life.

With full transparency and in the spirit of community, below are a few practices we are trying out (some from the people team and others organically suggested by our teammates) to bridge the physical distance and make remote work work for us. Let us know what you think and what is working well with your teams.

Daily Stand-ups

Each morning, all of M13 convenes for 15 minute stand-ups. The intent is 50% fun, 50% business. We start with something to make us smile (like this gem that Carter shared on St. Patrick’s Day) and end like we’re in the audience of the Ellen show (yes, we all showcase our go-to dance move on Zoom). In between is a speed round of team updates on what we are working on and where we need help. The result is we kick off each day with face time with the whole team and an update on each other’s work. And no matter how unruly our bed head is, we keep our cameras on.

Support Local Restaurant and Delivery

M13 has given all staff a generous lunch per diem for takeout or delivery. We are spread out across LA, NY and SF so this is a small way to support our local neighborhood restaurants. Those of us in SF enjoy meals by Shef, and naturally all of our freezers are also stocked with Daily Harvest.

Some of us opt into lunch video conferences to informally catch up and, of course, get more face-time. Because what’s better than convening over sandwiches and salads? (Or pizzas – no judgment!)

Keep the Celebrations Alive

On our second official day of WFH, our beloved Mission Control leader Marie had a birthday. We of course had to up the ante to ensure she felt celebrated and loved, so we all sang “Happy Birthday” over Zoom. We’ll spare you our collective tone deafness, but here’s a screenshot for proof.

Bring Your Babies to Zoom Days

We need as much of that positive, cute energy that we can get. Children and pets are an inevitable piece of WFH, and we encourage all team members to share their babies (furry or otherwise) during our daily stand-ups.

Workout & Water Challenges

Our team loves to eat and bake but also cares about health and wellness. We’re also a competitive group, so it was no surprise that two challenges popped up on our Slack channels. The water challenge encourages those who want to participate to log every 8 oz. of water they drink on a spreadsheet (the goal: 8 times per day). Our workout challenge focuses on completing a series of core exercises each day. This may defeat the challenge itself but team members who finish will celebrate with a pizza and champagne party — another thing to look forward to after our lockdown.

Business as Usual

Yes, the world, in general, feels as if it’s on pause and we’re no longer in the same room, but we have kept to our weekly schedule of meetings including our bi-weekly all-hands. If there’s one thing this unusual and uncertain time of health-mandated isolation has taught us, it’s that technology can give us a measure of control and keep us together.

… But With Empathy

We also recognize that not everyone is used to working from home, and not everyone has an optimal WFH space, and many of us are now sharing our work space with multi-generational family and friends. We have equipped our team with tech accessories, tips and best practice guides, and are mindful to be respectful and give everyone the benefit of the doubt. We recognize and accept that our team needs to work in a way that is best for them, will need to take necessary breaks throughout the day, and should prioritize self-care.

For more tips on working from home and managing remote teams, head over to our remote work webinar recap. And make sure you’re signed up for our newsletter to receive invitations to future webinars, many of which will be focused on this very topic!

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