Spark Shares: Reflecting on Remote Work
When did you join Spark Equation and what do you do?
In April of 2019, I joined the Spark team as a backend engineer working on a system integration project for Shiftgig. I gained experience and grew here. I work on processes and I’m responsible for the logic and data that sits on the server-side. But apart from maintaining the stability of the product, I work together with our QA engineers and our Full-Stack engineers to ensure smooth releases, and no bugs are interrupting the user experience.
Tell us about the project you are working on right now.
Currently, the project I am working on is big and complex, with a steep learning curve. It started with a lot of exploration into new territory and trying to understand how the structure functions and where we can increase its efficiency and shift it over to a modern and scalable platform. The product itself was an outdated legacy system with a lot of active users and required us to tiptoe around so the floor under us didn’t crumble. Anytime we had a release, new issues would pop up that we would jump to resolve, but it was important that they arose to highlight how each part of the structure is bonded together and where. It was essentially like taking apart a tangled necklace, it took some time, but we made it happen! Pre-demos and releases still keep us on our toes, but the system is much more stable and predictable than it used to be.
How do you feel about working remotely?
We went remote very fast. At first, the change was a bit of a shock, I didn’t leave my apartment for a long time, as many. But over time, I adopted and found a routine that worked for me and how to stay sane being home. When the weather started to turn, I was able to do more outdoor activities, take longer walks, or take my skateboard out for a spin. When it’s cold outside I switch to reading or playing video games. Back when everyone was still working primarily out of the office, my mates and I used to walk home from work, since Covid, we continue to work remotely and do “virtual” walks with the team.
What do you miss about working in an office setting?
We used to have Lunch&Learns in person. We would order food and go through the learning agenda, share and work through any issues the team experienced in their projects, and do skill-building. But on a regular basis, we would go out to lunch together as a company and discuss non-work-related topics, chat, bond with new team members, and have fun. Although it’s easy to chat someone on Slack, I miss the physical aspect of being able to walk up to the team and ask for help or to work through an issue. Back when everyone was in the office, we used to spontaneously gather around our main whiteboard to work through ideas, processes, and structures we were building. It was a great place to get everyone involved and discuss the different parts the team was working on. Although we have a virtual whiteboard now, I still miss our old one.