As full-time remote employees, CodeScientists are used to the unique demands of working from home, but when the world’s response to the COVID-19 virus called for sheltering in place and school closures, a new level of complexity entered the picture.
What happens when your new coworkers are your kids?
Many Americans are finding that on top of their full-time jobs, they are now homeschooling — they are parents responsible for finding educational and entertaining activities to fill their kids’ days. CodeScientists immediately sprang into action, sharing resources with each other via Slack channels and curating lists of streaming educational videos, online courses, and other resources. A team formed to consider the question — how can the CodeScience family do even more to support each other during this time? The result was an internal initiative called CodeScience Village, based on the idea that it takes a village to raise a child.
A Look Into the CodeScience Village Initiative
CodeScience Village allows employees and their families and friends to sign up to lead activities via video conferencing for kids of all ages within the community. The program quickly caught on, and soon everyone was getting involved, from team members leading kids through live story times and “Meet Our Pets” to teenagers leading Dungeons & Dragons games and science tutoring.
The list of activities we’ve got is extensive and broad:
- Yoga and Kickboxing sessions to get everyone moving
- Fun and interactive sessions like Trivia, Simon Says, and Hang Man
- An All Things Harry Potter chat
- Educational sessions on 2D and 3D animation
- A session to write letters to the elderly who may be struggling with loneliness and anxiety
- For those interested in music, we’ve hosted a flute, piano and guitar concert
- Even a chat with a K9 officer and his dog!
The sessions are published to the entire company via a shared Google calendar and announced and publicized via a Slack channel that CodeScientists and their spouses can access. CodeScientists also continue to share additional external resources via the Slack channel.
Tools, Tips, and Thoughts
Brian Walsh, our CEO, has been very vocal and transparent in sharing his thoughts and CodeScience’s objectives — check out this Twitter thread:
Posting my update to @codescience employees from earlier today. I am sharing because there is no roadmap on how to handle this situation and I hope it can be helpful to other leaders. I am thankful for other people’s messaging that I was able to combine with mine. pic.twitter.com/4aMjN6uLJb
— Brian Walsh (@thepartycow) March 22, 2020
The CodeScience Village Tech Stack
- Slack — primary communication channel for news, updates, and one on one messages.
- Google Calendar — helps us all stay in sync. We outline events and give folks a chance to sign up and participate.
- Google Forms — Gives CodeScience team members the chance to create their own events, sign up for sessions on Zoom, and provide feedback.
- Zoom — Our main video provider. It serves as the central tool for us to gather, communicate, chat, laugh, and learn.
- Dedicated Slack Channels — our CodeScienceVillage Slack channel leverages Slack’s single-channel guest where spouses can join in as well.
CodeScience Village has allowed the CS community to really embody core principles: Master your Craft and Make Mom Proud. They are sharing their passions and hobbies with each other, getting to know each other’s families, and providing some much-needed relief to other parents with bored kiddos at home all day. Not to mention the added benefit that CodeScientists who participate get to hone their storytelling and presentation skills with the toughest audience there is — brilliant kids!
With the success of CodeScience Village internally, CodeScience is now seeking to share their playbook to allow interested clients to set up their own programs — be on the lookout in the coming weeks for a full post detailing our playbook. We’re all in this together.