Remote Team Rituals

September 21, 2022
Remote Team Rituals

Imagine working from wherever you want, with flexible hours and freedom to organise your work. You are an employee in a growing organisation and in a motivated team.

Welcome to Scalingo.

In this 3rd article of the Life at Scalingo series, we reveal the rituals that punctuate our daily lives and what they bring us.

Remote-first since 2020

In the first article of the series, which detailed the switch from office to hybrid remote at Scalingo, you got a glimpse of our daily routine since the transition to 100% remote.

Today, our headquarters are still in Strasbourg but Scalingo is recruiting throughout France. This is why our organisation is designed to facilitate daily exchanges, wherever you are.

In this article, you will discover what formal and less formal rituals we have put in place. You will also discover how they allow us to develop and maintain a bond.

What is the purpose of these rituals that punctuate our daily lives?

At Scalingo, the freedom in the organisation of each person is punctuated by recurring rituals.

They allow us to create links, maintain cohesion, work more easily as a team and also avoid isolation. These rituals can take place online or in person, when the opportunity arises.

For a remote-first start-up it is important to create recurring meetings to create, develop and maintain good communication between colleagues. These routines are important, also to avoid the loneliness sometimes felt in remote work.

Most of these rituals are done asynchronously so that everyone can organise their working time freely. For those that take place "in real life", we make the minutes accessible to those who could not be present. The minutes of meetings or presentation materials are accessible to the whole organisation in Notion.

In concrete terms, Scalingo's head quarters are in Strasbourg, but in the team there are also employees who live in Paris, Lille, Nancy, Lyon Besançon and this list is set to grow! It is precisely because we work asynchronously and from different geographical locations that these moments that punctuate company life are necessary and important

At Scalingo, we are fortunate to be able to work the hours that best suit our lifestyle, our biological clock and choose the times when we are most effective. That's why we prefer to communicate by writing and then synchronise verbally when necessary.

Types of Rituals

At Scalingo, the rituals that bring us together take place online, but we also have face-to-face ones. There are several types.

First of all, there are those that take place at each recruitment, but also the daily rituals, those that take place in a group, with your manager, those that take place in remote or in person.

Let's start with the rituals linked to welcoming newcomers to the company.

Onboarding

In every company, and even more so in a growing startup like Scalingo, the recruitment of new talent is essential. Talents are the first wealth of startups. But finding the right people is not always easy. So when you find them, it's important to integrate them into the company as best as possible.

We are recruiting

In the same way that we have written a precise recruitment procedure, we have created an onboarding procedure. It starts 1 month before the arrival of the person and ends at the end of the trial period.

At Scaling, each new recruitment starts with a first week of onboarding which takes place in Strasbourg, at the headquarters. There are several steps to welcoming new team members:

We prepare the hardware, access and permissions to our software and the welcome kit so that they are ready from day one.

On arrival, a presentation of Scalingo is made by Léo or Yann, the two co-founders, in the Strasbourg office.

Afterwards, time is set aside to follow the onboarding information and the different procedures and connections. They are accessible and documented in Notion.

Recently, we also set up a 30-minute team presentation, often between the manager of each team and the new recruit. In the weeks that follow, a half-day shadowing session (a sort of "live my life") is planned with each team manager. These privileged moments of exchange enable the different roles, responsibilities and missions of each team to be understood from the outset.

Astonishment report

An astonishment report is also requested from each new arrival. It is usually presented one to two months after recruitment. These astonishment reports, which we all attend, allow us to take a step back from our organisation and to have a fresh eye, in the logic of Shoshin. This is a Japanese term meaning "beginner's mind": "Convincing yourself that you are a beginner all your life is the best way to progress because innovation often comes from a fresh look at a familiar problem.

“ It is very positive to arrive in a structure where employee feedback is taken into account and encouraged! ”
Thomas Ballandras, Technical Account Manager.

The day-to-day on Slack

On a daily basis, we work in teams (SRE, Sales, IST, UFS, InfoSec, Customer Success, Marketing) but it is important for us to** keep in touch** with each other.

Everyone will start their day by saying hello to each other in the General Slack channel, for example. We also have a Random channel in which everyone is free to post their current music, discoveries, funny things to share... We consult and feed this channel during our working hours.

“ No unnecessary meetings at Scalingo. ”
Etienne Michon, R&D Engineer & Infrastructure Services Lead.

Discord, the new coffee machine

It doesn't make coffee yet, but we also have a Café Rooftop channel on Discord. Ideal for those who want to chat in a more informal setting. Before starting your morning or afternoon, or between meetings, this is the Discord channel where you can come and chat with colleagues present at that moment. It's not as good as a real coffee machine, but it's probably the closest thing to it. (and no disappointment about the quality of the coffee!)

Weekly Synchronisation Meetings

Among the weekly rituals, the Weekly Synchronisation Meetings (WSM) take place every Monday and Friday in writing on the dedicated Slack channel.

WSM are used to share our current mood and the tasks we are working on. This ritual is also used to share the week's schedule or the weekend's schedule, at work and in our personal lives, if we wish.

We use emojis (often weather ones but not necessarily) to illustrate our WSM.

“ Monday ComOp meetings are a real plus for coordinating between teams. ”
Alice Burthe-Mique, Customer Success Team Lead.

Operational Committee

Another ritual that takes place every week is the ComOp (for Operational Committee) meeting which takes place every Monday on Discord in the Great Council Chamber.

The objective of the ComOp is to facilitate the synchronisation of the teams on transversal subjects. Each team writes a few lines to record the highlights and achievements of the past week and the week ahead. It allows to present its current issues and thus allows the other teams to prepare for requests that may come up in the near future.

The meeting itself brings together one representative from each team and lasts a maximum of one hour. It starts with a silent reading to get acquainted with all the information. Then, a time of exchange is devoted to answering the questions that have been formulated in writing, after the reading of the document. These exchanges and answers to questions are timed to keep us efficient. This helps us to stay focused on the topic at hand.

At the beginning of the meeting, a secretary and a Master of Ceremony are appointed, which ensures that time is respected and that there is a written record of the questions and answers.

“ At Scalingo we think that everyone can make mistakes but we always look at why it didn't work and how we can improve. ”
Leo Unbekandt, co-founder and CTO.

One-on-One

One-on-One (O3) meetings are held between managers and employees on a weekly basis. This is a real management tool. We set aside a fixed time slot each week to take stock and find out how the person being managed is feeling, and to find out her/him points of satisfaction or, on the contrary, her/him blocking points in order to find solutions. It is a privileged moment of communication.

Continuous Improvement Meetings

At Scalingo, we place great emphasis on a value that is dear to us: continuous improvement. This is why we organise Continuous Improvement Meetings (CIM) which bring together the whole company and take place once a quarter in person or remotely via MetroRetro. Halfway between the BarCamp and Lean Coffee formats, various workshops are organised to question our organisation and our practices.

CIMs are an opportunity for us to rethink and/or improve our processes and to document them. This can range from the organisation in the office to elements of the roadmaps or questions related to human resources issues, such as the transparency of the salary scale.

“ A lot of freedom requires a lot of personal organisation. ”
Yann Klis, co-founder and CEO

All Hands Meetings

A classic, also called Town Hall in some companies, the All Hands Meetings take place in person or on Discord at the end of each quarter at Scalingo. It is a progress report presented by the board, which reviews the achievements of the quarter and sets out the main strategic directions for the coming quarters.

Off-site retreat

Once or twice a year, all of Scalingo gets together for 3 days to spend time together, do group activities and take a step back from our activity, in a less formal atmosphere. This is our off-site retreat. The first Scalingo off-site took place in the Avignon area. The second took place in June 2022 in the Hautes-Vosges, in a bucolic gîte privatised for the occasion. On the programme of the last off-site: a visit to the KM0 Mulhouse (a temple for the digital transformation of Alsatian industry), followed by an All Hands meeting, a walk in the forest for the volunteers, a cooking workshop, free time, a barbecue, board games, a play pool, a meal in a farmhouse, a Nordic bath for the most motivated and a team meeting. In short, moments appreciated if we are to believe the results of the post-event survey!

Individual interview

The inevitable individual interview takes place one or twice a year at Scalingo. We believe that having two progress points during the year allows us to resolve or improve things that can be resolved, on either side, without having to wait a whole year to talk about them.

What these rituals bring us

What do all these rituals have in common? These rituals bring us together, they help us move towards our goal of building a world-class product.

The other great thing about these rituals for Scalingo is that they allow us to continually improve. Continuous improvement is one of our core values, and it is reflected in our rituals.

Rituals, trust and progress

A lot of freedom doesn't have to mean a great mess. We always plan where we want to go and how we want to get there. Mutual trust is a key concept in our organisation.

At Scalingo, we also believe that everyone can make mistakes, that this is part of progress. This also applies to the company and our rituals. They have evolved a lot in the last 2 years and this is still going on today. Providing the team with as many keys as possible to participate in the development of each individual is important to us. We want Scalingo to grow along with you.

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Louisa El Allali
Louisa El Allali
Louisa is Head of Marketing Communication at Scalingo. The mission important to her? To highlight achievements and accomplishments for customers but also for the Scalingo team. She also advocates for the reintroduction of plants in workplaces.

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