As we’ve reached and passed our one-year work-from-home anniversary, I wanted to record some of the experiences that people have had. Specifically, I wanted to look at two different perspectives. The first perspective is from two senior leaders, our CTO and our Director of Engineering, who’ve worked in-office and made the transition to work-from-home. The second is those who were hired during the pandemic and have never stepped foot inside our office.
Given that we’ve been actively hiring in 2020 and 2021, I wanted to hear from our CTO, Drew Kutcharian, how hiring has changed. He says, “I have always been a fan of workplace flexibility. I had some experience working remotely, but not at this scale, so there was some healthy degree of skepticism when we went fully remote. As with everything in life, there are tradeoffs, but considering all that’s happened over the last year and this big remote experiment, I have become more confident that workplace flexibility is the future of work. It’s also liberating not to be limited by geography. We can now hire the best people nearly independent of location.”
“I have become more confident that workplace flexibility is the future of work…We can now hire the best people nearly independent of location.” - CTO Drew Kutcharian
When asked what trends he’s seen in relationship-building during our work-from-home era, he says, “I have noticed that 1-on-1 relationships have become stronger”. He continues, “and there has been a greater degree of bonding between the members of each of our relatively small (max eight people) teams. Moreover, I have noticed building rapport virtually requires more attention than casual exchanges we might have in an office environment. You have to engage people with other communication mediums such as schedule a Zoom meeting, connect on slack or email if you want to maintain relationships. And, while it doesn’t replace face-to-face interactions, I believe all of our team members are making a genuine effort to stay connected.”
“I have noticed that with interactions happening virtually, building rapport requires more attention than casual exchanges we might have in an office environment. “ - CTO Drew Kutcharian
As for the most positive changes of our adaptation to work-from-home, Drew says, “WFH has mostly had a positive impact on the work-life harmony for many people with who I regularly interact. Our team members can now exercise, go for a quick run or even wash a load of laundry mid-day between their work sessions. I live in Los Angeles, and it’s pretty nice to exercise in the morning versus sit in traffic. Also, being a father of three and a founder of a fast-growing geographically distributed startup that operates in many time zones, it’s been wonderful to be able to carve out time to have dinner with my family. Furthermore, I have heard from our team members that WFH has positively impacted their focus; they can better focus on complex projects without the distractions that might be present at the office.”
Director of Engineering Harut Baghdasaryan brings in the perspective of working from Armenia throughout the pandemic. When asked about new work dynamics, he says, “We have had multiple online team-building activities. I learned about new online platforms that can add gamification to team building.” He’s seen some positive changes in our adaptation to work-from-home in that “We have become even more flexible. As a result of flexibility, we increased our effectiveness as individuals and as a team.”
Harut has his desk decked out with an external monitor, AirPods, a mug, and a speaker.
Since we’ve continued to hire throughout the pandemic, we’ve onboarded members in different teams throughout our engineering organization. For new hires, I decided to ask about the experiences of an IT Engineer and a Data Analyst.
Andre Williams started working at DISQO recently and is an IT Engineer on the Platform as a Service team. When asked what the all-remote hiring and onboarding process was like, he says, “The process was generally pretty smooth. I felt a part of the team pretty much right off the bat. I think the all-remote hiring is a bit more stressful than the in-person process. I find that in-person provides many insights into the people and company for which you’re potentially going to work. Overall, it was extremely convenient to go through the remote interviewing process because it makes scheduling a thousand times easier.”
“Overall, it was extremely convenient to go through the remote interviewing process because it makes scheduling a thousand times easier.” - IT Engineer Andre Williams
In efforts to build relationships with his colleagues, Andre says, “I’m a big proponent of creating time with the team that builds bonds and creates connections, things like virtual coffee walks, demos, and team happy hours.” Though his all-remote hiring process was a bit more difficult than an in-person process, he has pointed out a lot of positive aspects of working from home. Namely, “I get to spend a lot more quality time with my pup. She spent a lot of time alone at home while we went to work, now she gets to spend time with us all day. Additionally, traffic! I spent a lot of time on the road going back and forth from home to work in San Francisco traffic. You don’t realize the amount of alleviated stress you feel by pulling that out of the equation. Ground-breaking.”
Andre has two monitors, an external keyboard, a mouse, and his desk looks out onto greenery.
Our data team also grew with the addition of Data Analyst Miranda Zhong. From recruitment to meeting her future manager, colleagues, and our CTO, Drew, she says her hiring process was “pretty smooth.” She went into further detail, “I scheduled a couple of one-on-one introduction meetings with team members and with other stakeholders who I would work closely with in the future. These communications helped me understand everyone better and to understand DISQO better. There is one interesting experience I want to highlight that after I joined DISQO, the company organized a virtual room escape game for us. The game allowed me to understand my colleagues better.”
Miranda works from a laptop hooked up to her large monitor. She keeps a small notebook by her side for quick notes and to-do lists.
“DISQO has multiple Slack channels, allowing us to share some interesting content and build relationships with our colleagues. We show pictures of our pets as well as impactful projects.” - Data Analyst Miranda Zhong
In addition to building relationships within her team, Miranda noted ways in which she was able to develop relationships with the wider engineering organization. She says, “DISQO has multiple Slack channels, allowing us to share some interesting content and build relationships with our colleagues. We show pictures of our pets as well as impactful projects.” And as for working from home, Miranda says that the most positive aspect has been “less commute stress.” Also, she “can take more time to concentrate on projects that I want to dig into and make me more productive.”
I’ve written about this topic twice in the past at different markers, so if you’d like to explore our previous content, check out Work from Home: Six Months Later and How DISQO is Adapting to 100% WFH. We’re still hiring. Check out the sidebar for open positions and apply.