Product Update: Time Zones & Coffee Chats

Product Update: Time Zones & Coffee Chats

July 6, 2020

When we started to build ChatFox we were laser-focused on a problem. Meaningful communication and culture is a major challenge for remote teams to build and maintain. We had seen the challenges in our own careers around remote team relationship building and team member isolation. These challenges directly impact productivity and the success of organizations. What we didn’t know was what kind of conversations would add the most value and which details would matter the most for remote teams.

Now that we have over 1000 users and have prompted thousands of conversations we have seen the level of engagement that our chats can generate. The most challenging of the chats that we have implemented are coffee chats. Balancing the user experience with the functionality is always important. With coffee chats this balance is even more important as the conversations that are created are the most impactful for culture building for our customers with team members in multiple time zones around the world.

We have worked to build a fluid experience across team time zones as this directly impacts team member participation. Instead of focusing on other chats that are more easily implemented we have put additional resources into developing a coffee chat experience that fits within busy work schedules and delivers meaningful conversations across the organization.

Expecting team members to take on additional HR responsibilities on top of their deliverables to find times with other team members that they do not know, then independently organize a video chat using their preferred tool just isn’t productive.

Time Zones:

We have launched new time zone algorithms. This is something that no other Slack Chatbot has focused on until now. Building chats that take team member activity and time zones into consideration increase participation and engagement for chats. It helps solve one of the most important challenges of remote work, team member isolation. If team members from various times zones are not included then there will never truly be engagement across your organization.

Coffee Chats:

Coffee Chats are more than a Slack channel with a bunch of randomly selected individuals. They are impromptu, informed, meaningful conversations. The more friction there is to set up a coffee chat, the less likely it will happen. Expecting team members to take on additional HR responsibilities on top of their deliverables to find times with other team members that they do not know, then independently organize a video chat using their preferred tool just isn’t productive. Team members should not be taking time out of their busy day to implement Human Resources initiatives.

If these conversations are not happening then it is likely that your team members are not building meaningful professional relationships with individuals outside of their direct team. We have recently added features to encourage participation and increase the development of new professional relationships across the organization:

  • Automatic team member matching.
  • Team member time zone algorithms: Automatically confirm that team members are available to connect across time zones.
  • Google Calendar Integration: Automatically add Coffee Chats to team member calendars based on availability.
  • Integration free video links: Automatically generated video call links in calendar invites without the need to connect Zoom or any other tool.

About ChatFox

ChatFox is a Slack chatbot that builds remote teams and culture. Remote teams that only engage through projects, tasks, and deadlines do not foster a culture around shared values and goals. Build a strong remote team culture, improve remote team productivity, and eliminate team member isolation. Use ChatFox Icebreakers to build rapport with team members, use ChatFox Coffee Chats to have meaningful conversations with people across your organization, or use ChatFox Shout Outs to recommend a colleague and endorse their skills. Unlike other remote team solutions, ChatFox looks at remote team culture from a strategic perspective and has created engaging chats for your team that provide management with insights into remote team engagement, skills, contributions, and mobility.


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