Consultants in quarantine

Published on: April 29, 2020

At Kapernikov, we are no stranger to maintaining team spirit while working in different locations. Stretching from Limburg to West-Flanders, we work on customer site, at our main office, from home and even on the move from one location to the other. Many of us, myself included, mix it all up and do a little bit of everything.

Working in IT makes us less bound to a single physical location to do our job. For a large part, with a laptop and internet connection, we are good to go. Of course, for some of industrial solutions we need to be on site, but even there, we do a lot of development from a distance. So the step to working in home confinement seemed rather small to us. Here is how Kapernikans are doing in times of corona.

With tools like Git, Slack and Trello, we collaborate on code, share nice geek finds, discuss and organize without effort. Therefore, I expected the transition to the current lockdown would be relatively seamless.

In many ways, this was true: we all adapted to the current conditions. We raided our office for docking stations and monitors and installed ourselves at home. From there, we still collaborate and keep our projects going. But some things we started to miss: what about the coffee machine, going for lunch or the every-day informal nonsense that we all need sometimes?

Kapernicoffee

For this, we quickly introduced a daily virtual coffee break at Google Meet: a time and a place to go for an informal chat. This works well, but it can be confronting: after a long intellectual debate, the conversation time is right there on the screen. Did we really discuss haircuts and washing machines for 45 minutes? Often we find ourselves leaving the call open for a while after going back to work. Who knew office sounds could be so therapeutic ๐Ÿ˜‰

To stay up to date project wise, we introduced general rounds to our meetings. Since spontaneous communication is a bit more tricky when not running into each other literally, we found it very useful to create these moments from where discussion can be initiated.

Self-organization at home

Besides these small changes to stay connected, it helps a lot that we are used to working in a self-organized manner. Laced with a large dose of autonomy and trust, this gives the flexibility for everyone to adapt in their own manner. For some, that means taking care of kids, for others it means shifting working hours a bit to enjoy the sun.

Different things work for different people. Some keep a journal to add structure to the days. Personally, I work a bit longer, but at a lower pace, taking time to read a tutorial, find some new music, or quickly buy groceries.

A Friday after-work on google meet, joining a dj-set on twitch, solving puzzles on Slack, in a way working remotely has brought us closer together. Now we even know what each other’s homes, gardens and terraces look like ๐Ÿ˜‰

Author

Patrick Steegstra

From an academic standpoint, Patrick Steegstraโ€™s resume is quite impressive. Patrick has a PhD in Chemistry and has held positions at the University of Gothenburg (Sweden) a ...