Remote but social: look at this way of keeping remote workers talking

Discord has enhanced our remote working experience at Preeo, especially while building our HR and Payroll Software

The pandemic has forced us all to embrace remote working. Perhaps if nothing good came out of this pandemic, it might have at least pushed us all to make the transition that many advocates of Remote Working had long been begging us to consider.

For starters, both modes of working have their obvious benefits

Over the many years of working closely with HR people and a team of highly motivated engineers, I’ve grown enamoured with the rewards reaped from having a strong company culture and a robust team. Despite my love of technology, I’ve always preferred having a co-located team as I feared that by sacrificing the human connection, I’d spell the end to that which made us truly passionate about our job.

One of my favourite pieces of software, Discord, allows me to stay very closely connected with friends, every day.

Today I would like to illustrate some of the ways Discord has enhanced our remote working experience at Preeo, especially while building our HR and Payroll Software.

Social connection with colleagues.

At the office: Great ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Basic remote working: Bad ⭐
Remote working with discord: Good ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Clear separation between work time and home time.

At the office: Great ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Basic remote working: Poor ⭐⭐
Remote working with discord: Good ⭐⭐⭐⭐

You can log in and out of Discord based on your working schedule.

Active collaboration during a working day with several team members.

At the office: Great ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Basic remote working: Poor ⭐⭐
Remote working with discord: Good ⭐⭐⭐⭐

When people are in the same virtual room, everyone can chip in.

Block out office noise and disruptions.

At the office: Bad ⭐
Basic remote working: Great ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Remote working with discord: Good ⭐⭐⭐⭐

On discord you have the controls to mute/unmute/deafen and change rooms.

Read emotions from facial expressions.

At the office: Great ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Basic remote working: Poor ⭐⭐
Remote working with discord: Ok ⭐⭐⭐

Scheduled video calls are tiring and psychologically taxing. With something like discord, one can enable video when you feel the need, but people tend not to for just normal or quick conversations. This probably helps alleviate the stress induced from too many video calls, albeit at the cost of losing some facial cues.

Discord is free to use so adoption is low risk and low cost. That makes it easier to possibly run the experiment with your team.

Above: Quick guide to the Discord user interface

Tip: Learn how to switch between the below modes of communication for a better experience.

Push to Talk

‘Push to Talk’ operates like a walkie-talkie. You press and hold a button to speak. You release it when you’re done talking. This means you can talk any time you like and you can choose what gets broadcast to others.

Voice Activation

If you are having a long detailed conversation, such as during a meeting, then ‘Push to Talk’ is not the best way to do things. You want your microphone to hear you most of the time unless you manually press mute.

Using technology to your advantage

Remote working is definitely not for everyone, yet it seems that it can work for a lot of us. There are clearly a number of challenges and pain points that come along with this new mode of working.

Fortunately there are many tools at our disposal which help in improving team cohesion and enhance the working experience. For us, Discord has been one of those essential tools.