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The Remote Pop-In (2021)

This site describes a way of coping with among the missing features offully remote teams: the pop-in.

The Pop-In

The pop-in, back before open floorplans, is once you physically walk intosomeone’s office to inquire further a question or spitball a concept. Within an openfloorplan it is possible to instead swivel your chair or walk with their desk.

The pop-in is valuable because it’s as informal as email, but ashigh-bandwidth and low-latency as meetings. It’s interruptive to be popped inon, but that interruption power is self-limiting: your time and effort of physicallygoing somewhere is high, and the various tools available to the mark like doors,signs, and social cues are numerous and do not require much thought toimplement.

Slack DMs come near replacing the pop-in, however they decrease the effort toomuch. This results in more interruptions (just a little reduced intensity, but a lothigher in number) and also to the replacement of trackers, emails, and wikiswith DMs.

There is a lot wrong with the pop-in, but like any tool it has its uses. Manygreat productscompanies, evenhave already been built on the shoulders ofthe pop-in.

The Remote Pop-In

There’s really no remote equal to the pop-in. You can find products thathelp you “go out” like Facebook Portal, but nothing that implements thepop-in.

At YourBase we decided we needed one. Ratherthan build another tool, we attempted Discord. I’m pleased to say wefound a thing that works, and also solves the worst issue of theopen-office pop-in: the shortcoming to shut your damned door.

The Setup

A screenshot of a Discord server with several voice channels, some empty, some having one person in them
The business Discord server on a workday.

Inside our company Discord server, we give everyone one voice channel of theirown. That is your “office”. If you are online and in a position to be disturbed, youjoin your workplace, alone. You stay static in there so long as you are “in”.

Due to how Discord works, everyone can easily see who’s in what office at alltimes. Nevertheless, you can only just hear conversations for the area you’re in, and you also canonly maintain one room at the same time. Joining an area plays a clear audio chime andis not at all something that you can do sneakily.

When someone really wants to play, they join your voice channel. The chime plays,they state hello, you unmute and start video if you want, and also have yourpop-in. And that is really it.

If you are likely to the restroom and you will be AFK, it is possible to join the restroomchannel. You’re in, but away. Nobody is in fact wearing a headset on thetoilet, it’s only a fun solution to feel like a genuine office.

We’ve even fallen into some typical office behaviors:

  • We’ve started having meetings in people’s offices, because it’s easier.
  • We’ve a “cafeteria” room where one can eat your lunch if you have gotnothing going on in true to life. We also hold lunch-and-learns here.
  • We’ve a “rooftop” along with other common spaces where some individuals chill, whichsignals that they are open for a chat.

The oddest one is that whenever it’s slow round the office, it is possible to tell. You canalmost hear how quiet it really is when you’re the initial one in or the final one out.

The pop-in is valuable because it’s informal, high bandwidth, and low latency.Enabling it using Discord spent some time working very well for all of us during the last sixmonths, and we didn’t have even to create anything.

Because of Discord to make such aflexible platform. Because of YourBase forbeing so available to crazy ideas. (Check us out if your CI is slow.)

“The Pop-In”

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