Like many companies this March, Dashlane had to adapt its way of life in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and quickly transitioned to a fully remote work environment. The change altered our usual style of working, communicating, supporting one another, and engaging everyone to keep Dashlaners functioning as one team.
There were many efforts in all three of our countries but here we will tell the story of our Paris office. In our Paris office, we have a team focused on Dashlaners’ well-being called the Happiness Team. Initiated by our Office Experience Managers, it is composed of volunteer members from every department: Engineering, People, IT, Product, Finance, Marketing—all with diverse experience, backgrounds, and levels of seniority.
They contribute to keeping Dashlaners engaged and happy with their experience by organizing events, games and parties. While the Happiness Team had plenty of ideas for office life, organizing events and activities remotely was a different story. As part of the transition, we had three main goals:
- Keep Dashlaners feeling connected to each other and the team as a whole
- Create a sense of normalcy in their new setting at home
- Support the People Team with onboarding new Dashlaners under extraordinary circumstances, while bringing our company culture online
How our “Dashactivities” (Dashlane + Activities) were born
While the Happiness Team was already used to organizing engaging events and creating special office experiences to augment our normal work days (like birthday celebrations, holiday season games, team building etc.) we thought that more than ever Dashlaners needed to feel connected to their colleagues and to stay engaged in Dashlane life.
We brainstormed a plethora of ideas for potential projects, activities, challenges and themes, then started to organize a weekly program with daily “Dashactivities.”
To keep Dashlaners engaged and excited about the daily activities, we varied topics daily: a drawing game one day, a Dad joke contest the next, then a cook contest, a kids’ drawing competition, a confinement step challenge and so on.
We also encouraged people to share their cultural backgrounds using their favorite native expressions or words, especially those having to do with how they were feeling at the time (like “kalsarikännit” in Finnish which means “The feeling when you are going to get drunk home alone in your underwear—with no intention of going out”). We launched a knockout contest involving all Dashlaners from our three offices (Paris, Lisbon and New York) to elect Dashlane’s favorite band so we know what type of music to play at future events (Queen defeated The Beatles in the final round).
Later, we took a moment to commemorate and celebrate special days like Earth Day, International Dance Day, Sibling Day, and even Mental Health Month where we shared resources to support Dashlaners during a time that was challenging for some, but surely unusual for all.
Through our Dashactivities, we not only aimed to boost the morale of every Dashlaner who was stuck at home for months, we also developed what we hope to be long-lasting partnerships with organizations to launch Zoom-based yoga and workout sessions, afterwork drinks on Thursdays, as well as daily lunches in our self-titled “Dashcafé.” We knew that being locked down at home could be a lonely time, so it would be helpful to organize social activities that were easy for anyone to participate in.
In total over our 3 months at home, the Happiness Team engaged 152 Dashlaners for at least one session through 36 remotely organized Dashactivities, four international day celebrations, a daily Dashcafé, and a weekly afterhours activity.
Did we reach our goals after those 3 months?
- Keeping Dashlaners connected: Parisian Dashlaners weren’t the only ones connected to the dedicated Slack channel and Zoom rooms we created. Cross-office activities like a Confluence-based “Easter Egg Hunt” and international day celebrations kept Dashlaners engaged worldwide. Instead of the usual office events and activities, the Happiness Team’s new initiatives now crossed borders, and thanks to the work-from-home situation, we managed to connect more with the entire company.
- Creating a sense of normalcy at home: Naturally there was going to be a difference between in-person office activities and remote-based ones. Our idea was to continue to provide this service to Dashlaners despite the situation we were in. And thanks to our after-hours Zoom activities and constant communication on upcoming and current activities, Dashlaners could feel a presence in their homes when they were working just like when they are in the office.
- Supporting the onboarding of new Dashlaners: Starting a new job is hardly ever easy. Your emotions can run the gamut from anxiety to stress to excitement. With remote onboarding, those feelings might be accentuated by the distance and lack of office setting—missing lunch breaks and small talk with the team. This is where The Happiness team steps in. Our People Team, IT, and hiring managers took charge of the formal onboarding sessions, sending equipment, scheduling training, Zoom introduction meetings, and daily catch-ups, while our role was to bring the social aspect of the onboarding and spread Dashlane’s office culture.
We kept recruiting people during the WFH period and will continue to do so. Some of them have already started and were onboarded during the lockdown. Thanks to our daily communication about our Dashactivities, some Dashlaners spontaneously jumped into the Slack channel and joined our afterwork Zoom groups to dive into the post-work Dashlane evenings.
Following the period of full confinement, we scaled back the Dashactivities so that everyone can enjoy some out-of-home time once again, but will continue to organize and host activities throughout the rest of the year for those that want to stay connected until they’re back to the office.