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Hello from Buffer’s People team, which works to build, retain and encourage the best team we can at Buffer, and includes roles focused on recruitment, human resources, inclusivity, and team-building. Here’s what we got up to in August!

Experiment: Video “impromptu hours” help us connect

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One piece of fallout from our recent cashflow crisis is that we weren’t able to get together for a team retreat we had started planning for this month in Berlin.

In fact, the whole team won’t get together in person again at all in 2016 as we keep a close eye on our finance and recover fully (Our last retreat was Hawaii in January).

So what’s a remote team to do to stay close and connected in the meantime? That’s a question we’re asking ourselves a lot, and we’re trying some new ideas to answer it.

One new experiment is a weekly “impromptu hour” on our video conferencing tool Zoom. While we normally use this tool to talk about work-related topics, we decided to broaden our view and try it out for “unwork” too. :)

Our awesome Community Champion Nicole has been spearheading these weekly chats (we do them twice to hit all our timezones!) and they’ve been a really fun way to get together casually, hang out and share a bit with no pressure or agenda.

Each “impromptu hour” has a loose theme (examples: Buffer values, productivity tips, etc.) but is just as much fun when we go totally off course and talk about things like accents around the world, pets and more.

We’ve also returned to our previous tradition of pair calls, in which a pair of teammates are randomly connected to chat throughout the week about work, self-improvement and more.

So far, we’re enjoying these ways to stay close and would love to do even more. Got any ideas for us?

Recommitting to transparency with monthly team reports

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There’s a certain point on a growing team where you realize you don’t know what everyone’s up to anymore.

Especially with our values of communication and transparency, we want to seek ways to work through this feeling and keep everyone on the team—as well as anyone who would care to follow our journey—in the know about everything we’re working on.

So in August we recommitted to transparency by launching monthly reports for each part of Buffer, full of numbers and lessons. You can see all the reports for the month of July here and all the reports for this month are connected to this post you’re reading right now!

Some of them are a return to form for us, but others are brand-new, like our engineering report and product report.

I learned so much about my own team from reading through these reports (who knew we had a “Buffercelerator”?), and our CEO Joel enjoyed posting them all in a “tweetstorm.” (Click on the date in the embedded tweet below to see Joel’s commentary on each area of Buffer in July.)

It feels great to re-up on transparency and share everything with you again—more than we ever have before! If we can make our reports better/more thorough/more interesting for you in any way, just let us know what you have in mind.

Welcome, Joe!

Finally, in August we also got the opportunity to welcome a new teammate to Buffer!

Joe, who lives in Brighton, UK, is our first Android-specific engineer and we’re pumped to have his expertise creating a great experience for our Android customers.

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Joe enjoys publishing articles online and speaking at conferences, and shared with us that this is his way to give back to the community that he learns so much from.

Here’s a cool picture of Joe at DroidCon in Berlin:

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During Joe’s bootcamp, he had a big impact, including writing blog posts, introducing coding style guidelines and crushing bugs.

Joe, we are excited to have you on board!

Over to you

Is there anything you’d love to learn more about? Anything we could share more of? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Check out more reports from August 2016:

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Written by Courtney Seiter

Courtney writes about social media, diversity and workplace culture at Buffer. She runs Girls to the Moon on the side and pets every dog she sees.

  • Great article. Building culture and team bonding is hard. It gets harder with remote team. You can also try this Slack Bot that helps increase social bonding and meaningful connections within the teams -> http://riley.proudfolio.com

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