Coffee and Bagel(bot)?s

Date published: 12-Dec-2017
1 min read / 221 words
remote work
management

Connecting with people in a Remote Workplace

Remote workforces are fairly common these days, especially in tech startups, but connecting on a personal level with these remote workers is still a challenge. At StatMuse, we use a small chat bot, bagelbot, to set up randomized meetings with 3–4 different people in the company on a scheduled basis. The structure of these calls varies depending on the people paired, but the common theme of deepening bonds is universal. Bagelbot plays a small, but pivotal role in this event, so I’ll go over a couple details in this post.

Every other week (for our company), Bagelbot takes attendance at a given time, asking people if they will be attending this weeks meeting:

Bagelbot so wishes you'd join in

Then, after a specified amount of time passes, he quits listening for attendance responses and generates random pairs of at least 3 people. He then spits out the pairs in a channel, accompanied by a Google Hangout link for the different parties to use.

n.ame format is used to avoid spamming unavailable people

That’s pretty much it! The bot itself is a handful of scripts posting/receiving messages. The scheduling piece is just managed by a simple recurring cronjob on a AWS t2.micro Linux instance. Check it out on GitHub for more technical details/questions.

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I originally wrote this post while working at StatMuse - reposted here for personal archive.