I really like talking to people.
Introvert or not, I’m curious by nature and enjoy understanding what people are up to, what they do, and how they do it. So at the tail end of the tumultuous year that was 2020, I had an idea.
Normally in this industry we have the luxury of in-person events, especially at Clearleft where we’re spoiled for choice. Given the pandemic and the lack of that ‘serendipity’ that often occurs when you meet people at events, I wanted to try something new.
So I posted on LinkedIn an experiment: to try office hours for a couple of months. Every Friday I’d clear the morning and use Calendly to ask interested folk to choose a 45 min slot. No agenda or set topic.
Even though I’m loathe to spend even more time on video calls, there’s a certain irony that video has made it so easy to connect face-to-face with people from around the world. Plus (and no offence meant to my colleagues) it might be refreshing to speak to people I didn’t speak to everyday.
Fast-forward to today and the uptake has been incredible.
I’ve spoken to product managers, heads of Design, UX designers and design teams in India, Germany and the UK, with more to come. I’ve even got some chats scheduled with ex-colleagues whom I’ve not heard from in ages (looking at you, Paul).
I’ve heard about specific challenges in workplaces, challenges of scaling design teams, provided advice and received the same. It’s been a humbling and rewarding experience in equal measure. Judging by the reactions of the folks I’ve spoken to thus far, the feeling’s mutual.
In a time when we’re all locked up at home and starving for some serendipitous chats with interesting people, I’d highly recommend it.
More, with a light at the end of the tunnel—finally—with this pandemic and the vaccine, I plan on continuing the experiment. Why not? Seeing as the future of our workplaces looks likely to be an even stronger hybrid between remote and IRL , there’s no reason this can’t continue. At the very least I get to speak to interesting people about interesting topics, and make some great acquaintances along the way.
If you’re interested in chatting, choose a slot here.
February 25th, 2021