How TradeLink enhanced remote company culture with “enjoyable and effective” meetings in Gather

TradeLink scaled their remote company culture thanks to intentional, engaging meeting spaces in their virtual office on Gather. Read more about their onboarding process and tips for other remote teams!

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How TradeLink enhanced remote company culture with “enjoyable and effective” meetings in Gather

Photograph of Philip Wang
Morgan Smith

TradeLink is a remote-first company determined to challenge the stereotype of employees “sitting alone in their own dark rooms” with no connection to a strong company culture.

Gather helps them keep the spontaneity of an in-person office alive.

By sharing a single remote-first work environment and holding all of their meetings in Gather, TradeLink has created a strong sense of belonging and collaborative culture driven by impact from their international team. 

“Gather has changed and enhanced the way that we break borders and empower an international company. We have felt the positive impact of Gather on the way we work from Day 1. – Jonas Morgner, Chief of Staff

Here’s how TradeLink scaled their remote company culture thanks to intentional, engaging meeting spaces in their virtual office on Gather. 

The TradeLink team in-person together.

TradeLink is a remote-first startup with 60 employees spread across 7 countries. They love the benefits that a distributed workspace provides, such as being able to hire the best talent in the world without being restricted by location. 

This has allowed them to create an extremely efficient and fast-moving organization. Because of this, they knew it was important to make day-to-day communication enjoyable and effective, no matter where in the world a TradeLinker is located. 

So they had to ask a crucial question: Can company culture scale digitally? 

In their words (and ours!): Yes it can! 

Before Gather, it was hard for remote employees to be fully engaged in digital collaboration.  

At the core of a strong team culture is clear and regular communication. As TradeLink set out to build and scale an engaging working culture for their remote team, they tried a number of different tools, including Mattermost, 8x8, and Spatial. 

The problem was that these tools made it difficult for people to actually be engaged in the space around them. Whether they were too text-based or meeting-focused, they wanted something that added depth to their digital relationships without being draining.  

“So much of my work is to align people, and being able to "just pop in for a quick chat," usually in offices, has always been a huge success driver for me. With Gather, I can do that from home! There is very little difference to how it feels in-person - something I never even got close to using Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or Slack.” - Dennis Drees, Product Manager at TradeLink

For TradeLink, meetings are about more than the actual scheduled meeting. They’re about the opportunity to talk to people in the hall before and after.

Enter Gather: “A game-changer for remote company culture.”

When TradeLink discovered Gather, they decided to go all-in with their team to test it as a new company-wide communication tool. After just three days, “Our TradeLinkers were 110% sure this was the tool we wanted to work with!”

Everyone loved having a physical, digital Space to move around. The audio and video quality were good for formal meetings, and the social aspect was completely worth changing tools. 

When TradeLink first created their office, they started with a single administrator. (Shoutout to Jonas Morgner!) He quickly gave more teammates “Builder” roles to help personalize the Space. Each team received their own part of the office, and decorated it to make it their own. 

An overview of the entire TradeLink office on Gather.

Beyond the team desk pods, Gather has helped TradeLink create a variety of virtual meeting and coworking spaces to improve communication and collaboration with the team. 

Every internal meeting they hold takes place in Gather, so they’ve created a variety of rooms to accommodate different types of meetings, such as:  

  • Full company All Hands (on Mondays) and Check Out (on Fridays) 
  • Individual team meetings and events
  • 1:1 meetings
  • Candidate interviews
  • New hire onboarding
  • Lunch & Learns

For more ideas on different types of meetings to hold on Gather, you can check out our article here.

Working “proactively, productively, and collaboratively” in Gather

Gather not only enables TradeLink to facilitate these different types of meetings, but also helps establish shared common guidelines and boundaries for the team at work. 

For example, they created a Call Island for their Sales team. When someone is on an external call with a customer, they’ll have their avatar in Gather sit on this beach. This signals to the rest of the team that they’re on a call, shouldn’t be disturbed, but will be back soon. 

An screenshot of TradeLink's Call Island in their Gather officee.

All of this is communicated visually in Gather, rather than relying on sending messages and notifications to the rest of the team. 

For their all-company meetings, TradeLink designed a lounge to bring everyone together. 

TradeLink's All-Hands space in Gather, where everyone can come together!

All Hands on Mondays is all about bringing everyone together from the weekend and getting motivated for the week. They track OKR progress, give each team time to present what they’re focused on this week, and share things like anniversaries, birthdays, achievements, etc. 

Then on Fridays, they use the same space in Gather to debrief important events from the week. It’s open to anyone in the company to present, and serves as a great way to reflect and share learnings to the whole team, and especially to celebrate wins together. It sets a good tone for the company before the weekend!

By having everyone in the same room in Gather, they’re able to encourage conversation, whether it’s Q&A during the meetings or smaller groups talking once the presentations are done.

In addition to the all-company lounge, TradeLink has an internal co-working space where employees can sit with people outside of their own team for cross-functional work. There are also several meeting areas, which are used for weekly team meetings, interviewing candidates, and onboarding new employees. 

“Gather is perfect for all of us as it enables us to onboard a new joiner quickly. They quickly learn who is working in which team and can build these connections within a matter of a few days! Easy and efficient onboarding processes. It’s uncomplicated.” - Mareike Knappe, Head of People & Culture

Advice for other teams on Gather

Design your Space to help your team set healthy boundaries with each other. For example, give everyone their own desk for private working time, but also design shared spaces to bring people together, whether that’s formal meetings or casual coworking. 

These shared spaces will create a sense of “positive chaos,” as Jonas likes to describe it. When you see your colleagues moving around, even if you’re not actively talking to them, it gives you that feeling of working together instead of working alone at home.

“We love our virtual office because it lets us keep the spontaneity of an in-person office alive.” - Tobias Nendel, CTO & Co-Founder of TradeLink 

To read more about TradeLink's remarkable remote culture, click here.

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