Question

Has anything changed about how you use Slack, Zoom, and other remote tools during COVID-19?

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#Slack #Zoom #Figma
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_chrischae's avatar
2 years ago

Started to think about how to better practice asynchronous communication vs. real-time syncs. Slack/Zoom is great for real-time syncs, but most of the time work should be discussed asynchronously. We currently use Asana for this, but we're not 100% satisfied with it. There must be a better way...

6 points
osbennn's avatar
@osbennn (replying to @_chrischae )
2 years ago

@hnshah recently did a survey on Zoom alternatives, and he included this interesting tidbit about rising demand for asynchronous video chat in his recap email: https://www.evernote.com/l/APxbY8me-rtMSrHul7TPZj_Z3Novdn3f-8c

3 points
JamesTimmins's avatar
@JamesTimmins (replying to @_chrischae )
2 years ago

What about Asana are you dissatisfied with?

1 point
crabl's avatar
@crabl (replying to @_chrischae )
2 years ago

100% this. Asynchrony is a game-changer, and for a lot of discussions (design reviews, etc) it's actually more helpful than having a synchronous conversation (because recordings can be replayed, and a discussion can occur after the fact). Similarly, writing things down in long-form text can help solidify concepts that would otherwise be drowned out in conversation, or which benefit directly from the incubation period that the writing process affords. It's about not only communicating in a more async manner, but expressing your thoughts more clearly.

1 point
kil0ran's avatar
2 years ago

Lots more video calls in Zoom compared to audio only. So many in fact I'm working on improving lighting and thinking about installing a green screen for virtual background use.

Also using Loom a bit more for quick demos and run-throughs

In Zoom I've tweaked security settings and started using the waiting room. We're starting to see some enterprise-level blocking of Zoom which is disappointing as all this stuff about security concerns really goes away if you configure it properly. Means that as a virtual events company we need to assess alternatives.

Biggest change to my stack since lockdown has been Notion, the configurability of that tool and ease of coding is just fantastic. Really enabling me to get stuff out of my head and manage my pipeline more effectively

6 points
awwstn's avatar
@awwstn (replying to @kil0ran )
2 years ago

Have you come across any Zoom competitors that solve the security issues and have a product that comes close to Zoom on quality? I've looked around a bit, and don't see much.

1 point
kil0ran's avatar
@kil0ran (replying to @awwstn )
2 years ago

Nothing with the ubiquity and ease of use of Zoom. I used to admin web conferencing services 15-20 years ago when Webex & GoToMeeting dominated and they're undoubtedly good enterprise products but I don't think they offer much over and above what Zoom do. I guess Bluejeans might be an option but I've never used it. Also it's about to be acquired by Verizon, make of that what you will.

1 point
beaugunderson's avatar
2 years ago

We were remote before quarantine started; changes I noticed included the growing importance of Zoom video backgrounds & importance of checking in with how people are feeling during 1:1s.

4 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @beaugunderson )
2 years ago

Are you using custom Zoom backgrounds on calls regularly? I've used them for fun but never used them in work calls.

1 point
BurakYngn's avatar
2 years ago

Instead of looking at code/results side by side, me and my cofounder go over them in Zoom. Proves arguably more effective since, among other things, screensharing makes collaboration more comfortable than someone looking over your shoulder.

(Other important remote work component for us is PS4 and Rocket League)

3 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @BurakYngn )
2 years ago

If you're holding work meetings in Rocket League, you're definitely making the most of remote work :D

1 point
vikrambm29's avatar
2 years ago

We accelerated Microsoft Teams implementation and it has helped us collaborate better.

3 points
emilyelizsmith's avatar
@emilyelizsmith (replying to @vikrambm29 )
2 years ago

I'm a big fan of Microsoft Teams and felt the video quality was sharper than Zoom, in recent weeks though the video has really slowed down my computer.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @emilyelizsmith )
2 years ago

That’s how Google Hangouts always seemed too; the video quality generally was great as long as the connection was good, but it’d have your laptop fans humming and drain your battery pretty quickly.

1 point
kerriececil's avatar
2 years ago

No, we are a fully remote startup, so we didn't have technical changes. We have always used asynchronous updates in Slack due to different timezones, and even work habits. We use Pivotal and Figma for dev and design, project management, and visualization.

3 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @kerriececil )
2 years ago

Remote teams were definitely the best prepared for this on a technical level.

2 points
MelanieCrissey's avatar
2 years ago

Here at FullStory, one of the big things we were missing from remote all-hands meeting was crowd feedback. The awkward silence during presentations felt like a problem we could solve, so we built BWAMP—an interactive sound backdrop that lets meeting attendees on mute click buttons to interject a set of pleasing sounds into the meeting. Now everybody can hit a button to simulate applause or verbal feedback to give the speaker encouragement during their presentation.

You can check out BWAMP on PH here: https://www.producthunt.com/posts/bwamp-by-fullstory

3 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @MelanieCrissey )
2 years ago

That’s incredibly cool—love it when teams release internal tools! Is this something that was built over the past couple of months?

1 point
MelanieCrissey's avatar
@MelanieCrissey (replying to @maguay )
2 years ago

The original concept (a web page with buttons that made loud BWAMP noises) started out as a company inside joke / internal side project years ago. But when our company moved from "remote-friendly" to fully remote, some engineers and designers teamed up to make the original BWAMP site more robust and it evolved from there!

3 points
osbennn's avatar
2 years ago

My team started using Snap Camera on our Zoom calls, for some extra fun. It's a bit distracting, but for virtual happy hours, it hits the spot. Oh, and that's new, too – never did virtual happy hours before.

The other change I've experienced here is, prior to COVID-19, I only used Zoom for work – now everyone's on it, and it's become a go-to for personal calls as well.

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @osbennn )
2 years ago

It’s really amazing how quickly Zoom has spread from being a business tool to being literally everywhere, name dropped in TV shows and longform articles.

Will have to give Snap Camera a shot; enjoy using the random animations on personal Messenger calls sometimes .

1 point
faruque's avatar
2 years ago

We started paying a lot more attention to the upcoming features of Microsoft Teams. And we started voting on features for the next release, especially getting more than 2x2 video streams at once (very recently they rolled out a 3x3 grid).

We've also become more disciplined in updating our status on Teams, since it is the easiest way to convey availability (and it helps that it auto updates if theres a meeting on your Outlook calendar).

And finally, I've noticed that the team actually curates (hoards even?) their own video call backgrounds keeping an ever growing collection to use during calls. It's almost like the video background is the "virtual outfit of the day"!

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @faruque )
2 years ago

Neat to hear Microsoft is paying attention to consumer demands that much with Microsoft Teams. Where do they list upcoming features to vote on? And what’s still missing that you hope they add first?

That’s amazing on video backgrounds; I’ve done the same for years with reaction GIFs to use in Slack. Has anyone made a great directory of video call backgrounds, something like what Giphy is for GIFs but for call backgrounds?

1 point
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