Sven Sauleau

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Random Employee Chats at Cloudflare

Random Employee Chats at Cloudflare

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most Cloudflare offices closed in March 2020, and employees began working from home. Having online meetings presented its own challenges, but preserving the benefits of casual encounters in physical offices was something we struggled with. Those informal interactions, like teams talking next to the coffee machine, help form the social glue that holds companies together.

In an attempt to recreate that experience, David Wragg, an engineer at Cloudflare, introduced “Random Engineer Chats” (We’re calling them “Random Employee Chats” here since this can be applied to any team). The idea is that participants are randomly paired, and the pairs then schedule a 30-minute video call. There’s no fixed agenda for these conversations, but the participants might learn what is going on in other teams, gain new perspectives on their own work by discussing it, or meet new people.

The first iteration of Random Employee Chats used a shared spreadsheet to coordinate the process. People would sign up by adding themselves to the spreadsheet, and once a week, David would randomly form pairs from the list and send out emails with the results. Then, each pair would schedule a call at their convenience. This process was the Continue reading