weme is a consultancy firm based in São Paulo, Brazil that specializes in design, digital solutions, innovation, and empowering joyful connections.
Not only do they help their clients completely transform their businesses, but weme also transformed their own in-person innovation ecosystem to a highly-connected, delightful digital community on Gather.
“When people think about weme now, they think about our remote office on Gather. It’s an important part of our company.” – Carolina Kia, CEO @weme
Here’s the story of how they transitioned from an in-office culture to a digital-first environment, and created a joyful culture that inspires innovation and connections that employees and clients love to be a part of!
weme was founded in 2017 to design products, services and business models that positively impact people's lives.
They built a lively in-person space that brought together their employees, clients, friends, family, and even pets! They hosted regular Startup Accelerators and innovation events in their space, so people were there every day connecting in-person.
When the pandemic started, it was a complete shock to their way of working.
“It was like we lost a part of our value proposition for clients and employees: The hub, the connections, the match-making that we had in our space. It hurt.” – Carolina Kia, CEO @weme
weme was forced to completely rethink how they build community, for both their employees and clients.
They started by using Discord rooms and video conferencing, and Miro for collaboration. But when Kia found Gather and gave it a try, she quickly told weme’s leadership team that they were officially using Gather for remote work and conference calls.
“As a leader, I needed to find different tools to bring connections back remotely. And when I found Gather, I completely saw the power that it could bring to our culture and company.” – Carolina Kia, CEO @weme
Empowering connections, innovation, and employee happiness through Gather
As soon as Gather was launched, the team was so happy. The employees at weme loved it.
The leadership team started using Gather right away, so everyone saw the value quickly. For example, when you see your manager walking by and can briefly chat with them, it brings a completely different energy to the team than scheduling a formal video call.
“When we think about remote work, we think about asynchronous or synchronous communication, but Gather enables spontaneous conversations. It’s different when you have a spontaneous conversation than planned communication.” – Carolina Kia, CEO @weme
A tool like Gather enables Kia and weme to build a team culture that goes beyond the normal benefits of remote work.
People leave notes and sweet messages on their desks for each other. They celebrate birthdays and important work ceremonies together, like onboarding or anniversaries. And they have fun together with events like happy hours, game nights, and even a gender reveal for one employee’s baby!
For weme, Gather makes these moments much more special than just saying “Congrats” or sending an email.
“With Gather, we were able to adapt the experience of our clients and employees from our physical office to our virtual office. Today, we can provide a very similar level of a delightful experience, but in a virtual environment.” – Carolina Nucci, CMO @weme
In fact, they even announced promotions by giving employees a digital box of chocolates (an object you’ll find in Gather) during a 1:1 call with their manager. The object included a special note with news of the promotion and a note of appreciation for all their hard work.
“To be able to leave this note at Amanda's virtual desk made the moment even more special and memorable!” - Bruno Dinato, Partner and Design Director at weme
weme’s Employee Engagement score increased 10% since using Gather
weme only requires employees to use Gather for video conferences, but they like using it so much that they choose to stay in the virtual office even once meetings are done.
During the pandemic, weme started measuring employee happiness. They sent a survey once a week asking employees to rate how happy they were with work, on a scale of 1-5. (1 meaning not very satisfied, 5 meaning very satisfied.)
At first, the best they could achieve was a 3.8. Employees had a lot of doubts and insecurities about working remotely.
“Gather brought a surreal dynamism to my home office. Even alone at home, I can see other people's avatars walking, I can bump into them, I can 'pass someone's table.” – Thu Oliveira, Head of Marketing at weme
Since implementing Gather, that survey hasn’t dropped below an average rating of 4, and even jumped to 4.2 at a peak. That’s a 10% improvement in employee engagement since using Gather.
Advice for other remote company leaders
Kia is passionate that remote work shouldn’t be boring, and that building an enjoyable company culture can drive better business results.
“People want to have joy at work. It should feel human, inspiring, and gratifying, even though it’s challenging.” – Carolina Kia, CEO @weme
And if you want to fuel innovation, you need to provide a space that brings people together to form connections.
weme has done this so successfully for their own team that now they also help their clients create their own Gather Spaces (or join weme’s!) In fact, weme has built what they call Joy Valley – an entire community on Gather where the weme office and their clients’ are connected.
“Leaders must understand the potential of a tool like Gather. It’s not only about having fun. It’s about people feeling that they belong somewhere. And when people are happy, they stay at their company and deliver better results. Everything related to business, it comes.” – Carolina Kia, CEO @weme