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Introducing Hashshake

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Remote work can be challenging. It’s easy to overindex on results and forget that there’s a human on the other side of that video call. In an attempt to soften our conversation and humanize us as teammates, I built a program called Hashshake to assign short, randomized, weekly one-to-one coffee dates with members of our Hashrocket team.

What is Hashshake?

Hashshake (Hashrocket + Handshake) is an application to foster communication and camaraderie between remote teammates. It is inspired by Justin Searls' 2017 RailsConf Keynote. As an aside, I’m not sure if Justin was proposing a serious or hypothetical idea with these virtual coffee dates. I took it seriously!

On Monday, Hashshake randomly chooses pairs of coworkers to meet for informal, 20-minute conversations via a Slack bot message.


Your coworkers link up, arrange the meeting, and talk about whatever they want. Then next week, we do it again.

Initial Observations

We’ve run this program once a week for a month. What have we learned?

I’ve loved getting to know more about my teammates, even those I’ve worked with for 6+ years. Rocketeers are still doing fascinating things with their work and free time. My coworkers are learning, improving, and doing their best to take care of themselves and others as we negotiate this lockdown world.

The first call or two felt rocky at the beginning. It’s strange to talk about normalcy. It takes courage to be vulnerable. But once we’ve gotten through the first few minutes, these calls have been fun. They make me feel less like a cog and more like a valued teammate working with smart people. ​


​ This is the kind of fun MVP you put together in half of a lunchtime; pull requests are welcome on the Hashshake repo.​

How is your team weathering our remote-work world? How do you stay connected beyond a shared IDE session? Let me know at @jwworth on Twitter.

Photo by Alesia Kazantceva on Unsplash

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