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How I learned what working together, apart really means


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Like most technology companies, all of Signifyd has been working entirely remotely since the middle of March. It’s meant a changed work life for many of us, myself included.

As the sole human resources business partner for our U.S. employees, I’ve had to pivot — not so much in what I do, but in the way I do it. Check-ins with our employees are a regular and much enjoyed part of my daily routine. I love talking to people about their careers, what they enjoy about our company, and also helping people solve problems or find the tools they need to better approach all kinds of situations. 

And I’m glad I’ve been able to continue to help with check-ins while we’re all working apart. But the thing is, these conversations have been a big help to me, too. I’ve learned about myself and I’ve learned a lot about where I work — or more accurately, given the circumstances, I’ve learned a lot about the company I work for. 

Regular check-ins are even more important with a remote workforce

Since COVID-19 has forced us to become an entirely remote workforce, I’ve gone from 15 random employee check-ins a month to 10 or more a week! Knowing people have more weighing on them now, I need to make sure the time I am asking my colleagues to spend with me has purpose. But it also needs to give us a chance to connect and have a really open conversation about how my colleagues are feeling and the challenges they might be facing now.

Thinking about all this and how much uncertainty and chaos is already going on in the world around us, I didn’t want the focus of our conversation to be only about the struggles. So one of the questions I always make sure to ask is, “Can you name something positive that has come out of this whole situation?”

Some people pause and think for a minute; some give me a look like I am crazy, while others (our “glass half full” people) have multiple answers at the ready. But regardless, it consistently brings a smile or a chuckle to the conversation. 

It has been amazing to hear about all the newly found time connecting with friends and loved ones now that we no longer spend hours a day commuting, and the hobbies and skills people are picking up.

 One of our engineers surprised me with his newly acquired ability to sew masks! And as a company that tries to foster wellness at all turns, it’s refreshing to hear how many people are adopting new exercise routines. (We have employees doing virtual group Peloton rides and mileage challenges, even across continents!) Others are using this time to level up on their personal or professional goals.

Being apart can make colleagues feel more connected

 The most encouraging response that I hear often is how genuinely concerned our fellow employees are for one another and our customers. People are excited to meet their coworkers’ families and invite the little ones to join in on a Zoom. It is awe-inspiring to see how much more people seem to feel connected to their colleagues across teams, across offices, across an ocean! 

I have been at Signifyd for almost a year and a half now. I have always known that this group of individuals is special, caring, compassionate, and always willing to lend a helping hand. To see my colleagues double down on these actions in a time when it is so easy to become distant has made me even more proud to be able to say that I work for Signifyd!


Curious about creating a virtual conference? Check out our blog post.

Annie Eller

Annie is Signifyd’s first-ever human resources business partner. She’s been an HR practitioner for more than 10 years. Before joining Signifyd in January 2019, she worked in staffing and medical laboratories.