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 inBagelbot 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 peoplen.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.

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