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How We Use Watercooler Chats to Keep Up with Our Developers

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SimplyPHP, How We Use Watercooler Chats to Keep Up with Our Developers
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SimplyPHP PHP Staffing Solutions

Watercooler Chats is important for us, but also for our Web Developers

Like so many other companies, SimplyPHP made the switch to hybrid, then completely remote work over the last two years. This has been a huge adjustment for our staff. Before, we worked out of a spacious office on Montreal’s bustling Peel Street. We provided comfortable chairs, lots of snacks and drinks for our team, and encouraged developers to work closely together to solve complex development problems.

When we started remote work, we wanted to maintain all of these essential amenities of our workplace. The last thing we wanted was for our staff to experience a drop in the quality of their work-life especially when there were already so many challenging things happening in the world.

To help maintain the unique culture of our workplace, we were forced to make some modifications. Read on to learn more about how we’ve adjusted our workplace to continue supporting developers and putting clients first.

Our Workplace Priorities and Center of Excellence

Center of Excellence

At SimplyPHP, we believe the concept of a Center of Excellence has had the most important impact on our workplace. A center of excellence is either an institution or a set of practices that are designed to facilitate excellence in a particular area.

When we set out to build a center of excellence model within our workplace, we knew that our developers had to be at its heart. Knowing that, we prioritized creating support, resources, and best practices to facilitate this goal.

One of the most important pillars of our center of excellence model is peer support. When we first moved to remote work, we were concerned that the close peer relationships within our company would stagnate and die. To help stop this from happening and to encourage the building of new relationships as we brought on more staff, we instituted a new tradition: virtual water cooler chats.

What are Virtual Water Cooler Chats?

Virtual water cooler chats are a tradition that we started building at SimplyPHP recently. Many of our staff were missing the quick daily chats in the kitchen or by their desks, so we tried to find a replacement.

Now, a few times a month, we grab 5-6 random staff members and invite them into a Zoom meeting with our founders, Raph and Tony. During that time, they can chat about anything they want. Most of the time, we don’t end up talking about work and instead talk about the weather or what’s going on in our personal lives.

These conversations have been an invaluable point of connection for our developers. They offer opportunities for our developers to get to know each other and, most importantly, form closer relationships with company management.

By building a rapport through these virtual water cooler chats, we want to continue to stress the importance of peer support within our organization and break down barriers that may be holding people back from reaching out to their managers with questions, comments, or other inquiries.

If you’ve never met in person, it can be hard to go to your manager with a problem. However, if you’ve gotten to know them over the course of a few online video chats, reaching out feels a lot easier.

Get in Touch

Want to learn more about how we build a culture that better supports developers at SimplyPHP? Reach out to us any time on our website to inquire about open positions or check out our podcast to learn more about our approach to development.