At phData, we’ve officially gone remote-first, removing any ambiguity to the question, “Will we ever return to the office?”
While our employees are certainly welcome to enjoy the perks of our wonderful downtown Minneapolis and Bangalore offices, many choose to work remotely, or even work a hybrid approach.
In this blog, we’ll uncover what it actually is like working remotely at phData by sharing day-in-the-life experiences, employee stories, and tips/strategies of how we stay connected.
What Does it Look Like Starting at phData 100% Remote?
Rather than write out our step-by-step process of working remotely, let’s put YOU in the shoes of a newly hired phData employee starting from when you accept your offer letter.
Congrats! You’ve officially signed your offer letter to join the growing community at phData. Before your first day, you’ll be shipped some onboarding materials including your fancy new laptop. From there, you’ll be in almost daily communication with our outstanding onboarding team, helping to welcome you and answering any questions you may have.
You’ll also have the opportunity to start planning and “pimping” out your home office with phData’s generous home office equipment allowance. Anything from a standing desk to Bluetooth headphones is fair game!
Finally, you’ll receive our Remote-First Playbook that contains loads of helpful information to ensure you’re successful in a remote-first environment. What may surprise you is this playbook goes well beyond the standard, “How to Work Remote 101.” It contains a number of resources from how to take care of your physical and mental well-being to practical tips for staying connected to your co-workers.
3 Surprising Benefits of Onboarding Remotely:
Easier to remember names – Thanks to Zoom, you won’t ever forget a name (even if you meet every employee) since employees’ names are posted in their Zoom account.
You don’t have to ‘pretend’ to be busy – You’ll no longer have to fill time by looking busy in between onboarding sessions since you’ll be at the comfort of your home.
Set your own temperature – Have you ever walked into an office for the first time and felt freezing or uncomfortably warm? Not any more now that you’ll have the power of the thermostat from your home!
What’s the First Day Like at phData?
At this point, you’ll have your computer and a good idea of what’s on the agenda for your first day. What you might not expect is that you’re joining a cohort of fellow new phData employees who will journey through onboarding with you. This is truly an exciting time to meet other new and talented people. Our goal is to make you feel as welcome and connected to your teammates as humanly possible.
To further strengthen this, you’ll be assigned an onboarding buddy to help along the way. Your onboarding buddy is essentially your personal guide to phData. From weekly lunches (in-person or virtual) to Zoom check-ins, your buddy will help introduce you to fellow employees, teach you phData lifehacks like which Slack channels to join, and answer any of your questions.
From your first day on, you’ll have the opportunity to join our uniquely awesome phData Academy, which is essentially our living and breathing embodiment of investing in your future. Through the academy, you’ll have the backing (emotional and financial) to pursue certifications, earn relevant credits, and much more.
Learn more about the phData Academy from its Director, Marilou, in her own words with this two-minute video.
How phData Helps Employees Stay Engaged While Remote
Staying engaged as a company has certainly been a challenge as we transitioned to a remote-first workplace. While we’re still learning, here’s a few things that have helped our employees stay engaged and connected while being oceans apart.
Donut Slack: This handy Slack App called Donut has been a great resource for phData employees to meet someone new. Every other week, the Donut app will pair two random employees across our global team to meet virtually for 30 minutes.
Coffee Breaks: Twice a week all phData employees are encouraged to attend a coffee break Zoom meeting where we discuss random (and often fun, and sometimes existential) topics. From answering what your favorite breakfast cereal is to taking a deep dive into what motivates you, you’ll find comradery and engaging conversations in our weekly coffee break chats!
Virtual Activities: The People Operations team does a stellar job of planning a wide variety of fun and engaging virtual activities. From wellness challenges to mindfulness discussions to cultural heritage events, you’ll find no shortage of unique virtual experiences to attend. Some past examples include Pride Trivia, an Asian Experiences in Minnesota Discussion, and so much more!
Open Office Hours: Each month senior leadership hosts open office hours where any employee can pop in to ask a question, give feedback, or simply just say hello. This is a great opportunity for our employees to ask anything about the company.
Regular Meetings: Every month, we meet as an entire company for an hour-long session that covers anything from company financials and updates to upcoming events. Additionally, each team is encouraged to meet once a week as well to discuss initiatives, projects, and life updates. Lastly, every employee gets the chance to meet with their manager for 1-on-1s to explore professional development opportunities, ask for help, and guidance on projects.
Will We Ever Meet in Person at phData?
Yes! Every employee is welcome to meet in person at our Downtown Minneapolis and Bangalore locations but in addition, we have meetup events planned throughout the year. Last month, the Program Managers organized a meetup at a local Minneapolis Tiki Bar while another meetup event occurred in Atlanta.
To complement the various meetup events, phData is also working hard on what it will look like to host larger company and team events in the future.
Working Remote In the Eyes of phData Employees
Mel Barrett, Solutions Engineer
“My favorite part of working from home is being able to capitalize on sleep and appreciate not having to commute daily. I tend to have meetings in the morning most days of the week, so I keep my morning rituals pretty simple with a glass of water and some yogurt for breakfast. Then I take some LaCroix’s into my office and settle in for the first 1-2 hours of my day.
Once my meetings are over, I’ll take some time to walk around the house and bother both of my cats, wherever they may be, and get a snack before putting some music on and working until lunch. Depending on the day, I’ll whip something together for lunch and maybe go on a walk to a nearby park to get some sunshine. If I’m missing something for dinner, I’ll head to the grocery store instead. Once home, I work until about 4:30-6 pm depending on how early I was up that day.”
Mitch Rudolph, Content Marketing Manager
“Every day is truly different for me. I usually get up early and drive to a new coffee shop. From there, I’ll guzzle down a few cups of coffee and crush through some work. I purposely try to keep my mornings open for unfiltered work time. Once I have a decent amount of work done, I’ll cruise home for lunch and a workout.
After that, I’ll work from my home office until 4ish when I have to leave to pick my daughter up from daycare. Depending on the day and my spice level, I might head over to my favorite local brewery to finish up some work later in the evening.”
Mahendra Sisodiya, Associate Data Engineer
“My remote day is a perfect blend of eating, sleeping, working, and some fun activity which often includes family time. My day starts by rolling out of bed and grabbing my phone to check emails followed by some snacks, a glass of water, and a cup of coffee (maybe two depending on the weather).
Then I’ll watch some stocks (including crypto) and gear up with my headsets listening to music before jumping into my work which often goes till late (9.30 pm). I do take a break in the middle as well which usually includes a short bike ride. Once I’ve wrapped up a decent chunk of work, I’ll hit the gym (I am kind of a fitness freak) for an hour or so. After I’m done, I’ll finish any pending work I have before calling it a day.”