Maintaining Community While Working From Home
How we stay connected remotely
Apr 30, 2020

As we close in on 7 weeks of working from home, maintaining a sense of community is essential. By now, even the most introverted members of our team are feeling the strain of not being able to see their coworkers IRL. The casual conversations we have while getting snacks, the impromptu ping pong games, the spirited team collaborations: these are what make Asymmetrik feel like Asymmetrik.

Fortunately, through the power of technology and the efforts of our employees, we’ve been able to keep our culture thriving.

Maintaining Community Remotely

woman wearing witch hat stirring steaming cauldron
First, we’d like to give a big shoutout to our Office and Culture Manager, Angela Tweedell. Ang is the driving force behind planning fun events and getting everyone hyped up about them.

Now, between planning virtual Crossfit workouts, Zumba classes, crafting and knitting meet-ups, happy hours, and town hall meetings, she’s busier than ever. Thank you Ang!

We’ve created a #virtual-social-events Slack channel so everyone can see what’s happening each week. Coming up next: a Cinco de Mayo happy hour, and the first meeting of our Machine Learning and AI book club. We’re reading this, if you’re curious.

Elsewhere on Slack, the #whatsfordinner channel has been pretty active lately. It makes sense, since cooking is a welcome respite for many right now. We’re seeing a lot of experimentations with sourdough starters and baking in general. Pro tip: if your sourdough starter doesn’t turn out as expected, crackers and fry bread are a good way to use it up.

six panel collage of seafood stew baguette english muffin ceviche creme anglaise

These daily posts about homemade English muffins, Spanish fish stew, creme anglaise, posole rojo, shrimp ceviche, sou vide pork chops, and authentic French baguettes have shown that we have some serious gourmet cooks on our team.

Giving back

But, cooking isn’t the only thing our employees have been doing under quarantine. Program Manager Tim Mohr and his talented wife Liz made face masks for nursing homes and first responders. In addition, they ordered custom Asymmetrik logo fabric to make face masks for Asymmetrik employees.

Software Engineer Rob Winterbottom and his wife Anita have been making ear savers for healthcare workers at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. Ear savers help alleviate the pain and pressure from wearing masks for long periods of time. If you would like to help with this effort, you can find out more here.

three panel collage of man wearing face mask fabric spread on floor and back of woman's head wearing face mask and ear savers

Software Engineer Andrew Marcus joined a U.S. Digital Response (USDR) team to help modernize the unemployment website for the State of Kansas. The USDR is leading a volunteer-based, non-partisan effort to help states in of need support during the COVID-19 crisis. Any person with technical skills can volunteer and be matched with a project team that fits their expertise. To learn more or get involved, please visit their site.

As a company, Asymmetrik is donating to organizations such as Feed the Frontline Baltimore, which delivers much-needed hot meals to healthcare workers. We are grateful for these workers who put their lives on the line every day.

Virtual Meetings

While video calls aren’t quite the same as collaborating in person, we’ve managed to make the most of standups and team meetings with Google Meet. We also maintain the sense of connection through virtual team lunches. Employees order lunch through food delivery apps, Asymmetrik picks up the tab, and teams eat together. It’s a great low-key way to build camaraderie and catch up.

Screen shot of Zoom meeting with coworkers

So far, virtual town hall meetings have been an effective way for employees to get updates and ask questions. Folks who aren’t comfortable asking in a group setting can also submit their questions anonymously. This way, everyone can feel comfortable participating. Our town halls are followed by happy hours with contests to see who can have the best virtual background (Tiger King is having a moment).

Though nothing beats coming together in person, maintaining community remotely has worked better than we anticipated. We feel truly fortunate to work with everyone on our amazing team, and we hope to see everyone again soon!