How to bring background conversations to remote teams?

A common complaint about remote work is the missed camaraderie of working physically together with colleagues in the same office.  Beyond missing face-to-face bump-ins and hallway conversations, something less obvious is missing that helps teams feel connected — it’s the interruption, the background conversations that we found disruptive but actually sparks spontaneous discussion and learning.  

While  working remotely, our calls are constrained to only those who participate.  In the office, many of these discussions may happen in the open.  A marketing manager might overhear a discussion between two product managers discussing roadmap; an engineer might overhear an excited account manager talking about a new customer account; an administrator might overhear a funny story that happened this weekend at the football game.  These cases of informative, motiviating, and empathy building conversations are siloed when teams work remotely but they’re necessary to help teams feel connected.

Missing Office ‘Background Conversations’

At Loop Team, we’ve thought a lot about how we can bring ‘background’ conversations to remote teams.  While not all discussions need to be public, there are plenty of conversations that should be shared.  In Loop Team, when a meeting or discussion turns informative, thought-provoking, or generally helpful to the team at large, participants can toggle a ‘Go Live’ button in the conference window to share their discussion with everyone in the workspace.  This action serves as an invitation to teammates that this particular discussion is open to those that would like to follow along live.  

A meeting set to ‘Go Live’ replicates background conversations in two ways:

As a spinout of Stanford Research Institute (SRI), where technologies like SIRI (Apple) and Nuance were created, Loop Team’s real-time keyword summarization capabilities serve to show teammates in real-time the topics being discussed in conversations.  Users can also see who’s talking and click to view the live screen share from the meeting.  

Listen In to live team discussions

The closest thing to office background conversations is Loop Team’s ‘Listen In’ feature.  Tapping ‘Listen In’ enables the audio of the live conversation letting users hear the meeting without the formality of joining the meeting and feeling obligated to participate.  Teammates may not need to join, but simply knowing that team members discussed ‘new pricing’ or ‘user analytics’ gives non-participants a sense of what’s happening in the organization — just like when these discussions occur in the physical office.  

Let us know how these features work for your team.