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How We Geek Out Remotely at J2

As we’ve grown our team across the U.S. and overseas, we’ve developed new and fun ways to keep our multi-national team members connected. Whether living through a pandemic or not, our team is spread out across all corners of the world and thus keeping our culture fun and innovative means trying new ways to stay engaged and connected. 

Selfie Day (3)

Interest Groups (J2 Clubs)

We all geek out about things we are passionate about that aren’t necessarily smart buildings related. We decided as a company to connect team members who share those common interests by creating interest groups or “J2 Clubs.” This informal collection of people meet to share details about some of the cool things they do on their own time.

The VR Club celebrates the emergence of affordable virtual reality equipment and games through the Oculus Quest platform. Favorites include miniature golf, and of course virtual ping pong to fill in for lack of in-person office ping pong games.

VR mini golf

The Run FIN Run Club is to help cheer each other on across the globe to encourage more physical activity. Using the Strava App, we track each other’s progress. We have a lot of musicians in the group who share their love of music via Zoom. The Smart Home Club is a technologist haven for all things that automate and make our homes cool. They have a Slack channel to share new ideas and videos of our own set-ups.

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Meet-ups 

We have multiple activities to facilitate more social interaction amongst our team. Our small group gatherings are a way to bring together members of specific teams (dev, marketing, glue, etc.) to do brainstorming and team-building exercises. At a more individual level, we came up with coffee roulette! Put your name in a “hat” and we randomize a schedule for various team members to have virtual coffee and conversation. We also share personal successes through impromptu “show and tell” sessions where employees can geek out about what they’ve been working on.

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Rochelle showing off his Smart House.

Comms

We have layers of internal communications to ensure we share news in a variety of ways. Our “All Hands meeting” is a formal, regular video conference where we share company topics and strategy. Our internal newsletter helps communicate updates and share informal activities. We post these via email, Slack, and our internal Wiki. Finally, the J2 Slack channel is where quick communication happens at a team level and individually. Our “Random” Slack channel is where some of the geekiness and fun happens. 

J2 Random Slack Channel

Bringing together a global team can be challenging. Through clubs, meetups, and continued communications, we have managed to get better at unifying our team over the years. There’s more to work than just doing your job. It’s important to feel like you are part of something bigger, but also have the freedom to share your individual geekness.

 

B. Scott Muench

Scott joined J2 Innovations as a partner in 2011, and is now Vice President of Customer Experience. He has a wide range of responsibilities including evangelism, business development, training, and operational excellence. Scott is well known as an industry expert in smarthomes and smart buildings. He is a past president of ASHRAE, and is currently a board member for Project Haystack. Scott attended Clarkson University for Mechanical Engineering and graduated with a BS/Business in Organizational Innovation.

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