My favorite days of remote working aren’t the days when I get to work by a pool, or even when I get to stay home all day working on my couch in my favorite sweatpants (as a really strong introvert, that’s saying a whole lot there). My absolute favorite days are when I’m on a meetup and I get to see my coworkers in person, these amazing people here.
One year ago I started my journey as a full-time employee at Automattic. Having the privilege of working on WordPress.com.
I wanted to take a moment and share a really awesome picture from Automattic’s recent Grand Meetup in Park City, Utah….our Company Picture.
I feel like such a proud parent, because over the past few days I’ve been showing everyone this picture and pointing out some of my coworkers.
I think it’s also a bit of a proud moment because I’ve seen company pictures from past Grand Meetups, but this is the first one I’m actually in. Making it even more real that I get to actually work here.
And also as a bonus here is the most intelligent, caring, and hilarious group of women I know, the Women of Automattic.
I’m a Happiness Engineer at Automattic. On a daily basis it completely blows my mind that I get to work with Automattic, literally from wherever.
Today wasn’t a typical day…
I’m working from a rooftop in New York. Which is not at all a normal workday for me. I usually work from my desk in my cozy room at home in California but I’m in New York for the week on a girls trip. I spent the first half of the trip on vacation, but decided to work a few days while in New York. I knew I was going to miss my team and I figured I could work mostly in the morning while everyone else was sleeping in. That and I haven’t really worked while traveling before and wanted to try my hand at it to see what it would feel like.
The main key to my day: Starting early
I woke up early around 6am, got showered and dressed. Made my way to the cafe in the hotel lobby and ordered some hot peppermint tea. Which is working wonders on my sore throat. I lost my voice a few days ago with a cold and still haven’t quite gotten it back. I found a nice quiet spot on the rooftop that has pretty decent wifi signal.
Communication and a lot of it
I logged on and immediately checked Slack to see what I’ve missed overnight and the weekend. Slack is our instant messaging tool- and my favorite way of communicating with my team. Some Slack channels are more watercooler type with lots of chit chat and gifs, other channels are where you go if you need help with a ticket or a chat. I usually switch between the watercooler type channels and the help type channels often, participating in multiple conversations at once. I say morning to my teammates and talk about the weather where they are, etc. I also got a few tips of places to visit in NYC. Laughed at a funny gif someone posted. Then I caught up reading some p2 posts (which is our internal blog system- one of our main forms of communicating) for about an hour.
I then switched over to working through a few tickets. Tickets are emails that we’ve received from users- usually asking for help with a specific issue.
Most of the tickets I did was on domains and account recovery (which is people who lost access to their site).
I helped one user change her name servers (which is what controls where her domain points), I helped another user transfer her domain to another registrar. Then helped a few users who lost access to their accounts.
My favorite part of the day: Team Chats
Mondays is my team’s chat day and is really the only day I get to see my coworkers faces all week. We all logged onto Zoom which is kinda like a Facetime but with all 6-7 of us. We chatted about the recent travels of one of my coworkers who just got back from France. Then we made a decision on what we wanted our main project to be on an upcoming Team Meetup, where we’re hoping for all of us to fly to Texas to work together for a week. It was a productive call.
Normally our Zoom Chat is my favorite part of my day, and today it didn’t disappoint. Communication is a big part of being on a virtual team. So getting to chat with my team via video and laugh at a joke at the same time together, it’s a lot of fun.
After I tried logging onto live chat, but my wifi speed wasn’t enough to support it. I suspect it was because the guy next to me was hogging the bandwidth by watching Netflix. So I focused mainly on tickets that came in over the weekend. By then it was already 3pm. Since I already got the bulk of my work done, I decided to jump offline for a bit to do some sight seeing.
We took the subway to Grand Central Station, the New York Public Library (I love books), The Ace Hotel, and then over to the Upper Westside for dinner at Shake Shack, shopping at Paper Source, and then a stroll through Central Park to grab dessert at Tavern on the Green. We caught a subway back to our hotel, by the time we got back it was almost 9pm. Which is 6pm on the west coast. On my more normal work days, I like to work on live chat from 4pm – 7pm. So I figured I’d jump back online for the tail end of that.
Round 2: Live Chat
I jumped onto Live Chat for an hour or so and helped several people who visited our Contact Form needing assistance. One person wanted to cancel their domain. So I walked them through the different options available to accomplish what they needed. Another person needed help figuring out how to customize their site. The customization they wanted ended up being dictated by the layout of the theme they were using. Pro tip: when deciding on how to customize your site- check out the live demo of the theme you’re using. The demo is pretty great because it gives you an idea of what’s possible with the layout/structure of your theme and the different features it has layout wise. You can find the live theme demos by hovering over a theme and clicking live demo: https://theme.wordpress.com/
Live chat is one of my favorite things to do. Which I find kinda ironic, because when live chat was first mentioned to me in the hiring process- I was secretly scared of trying it out. Ha! 🙂 My main concern, was not knowing the answer to a question I’d get. Thankfully, it’s really easy to quickly search for an answer or to ask a colleague on Slack. Typically I have live chat and Slack opened up on my screen side by side. So I can chat with the users and also ask for help or offer help to one of my colleagues. Some Slack channels are more active than others, the Slack channel for live chat is one of the most active and is also one of my favorites. The conversation switches easily from debugging issues to laughing at a gif. Between chatting with WordPress.com users and my colleagues, the time flies by quickly. If I have a question I need help with, usually someone knows the answer to any question or at least knows who to ask, so I’ve never had to leave to a user hanging. My favorite part of live chat is the instant results it provides for our customers. I’m able to walk them through whatever they need to do, right then. It’s pretty awesome and lots of fun.
Wrapping up and Prepping for the next day
After that, I started winding down and checked my schedule for the next day where I signed up to train some new Happiness Engineer Trials in the morning. Getting to train the New Happiness Engineer Trials is so much fun. It reminds me a lot of the days when I was a Trial. So I prepped a bit for that by looking over the information we’d need to go over and seeing how I could simplify it or different points I wanted to bring out. I also wanted to make sure I had the time of our training correct. So far the main thing I struggle with at Automattic has been time zones. I knew the meeting was at 9am Central Standard time… and since I’m not used to being on the East Coast I had no idea what time I needed to be online. Once I got the correct time and set all my alarms and reminders accordingly I logged offline for the night.
So there you have it. That’s my day in the life of a Happiness Engineer. It was not at all a typical day for me but I do love the flexibility to be able to work from wherever. If you’re interested in this kind of flexibility too, we’re always hiring awesome people.
If you enjoyed reading this post, then you’re going to love the A Day in the Life posts by my colleagues- just search the #a8cday Tag in the WordPress.com Reader.