How Remotion Helped Breeze Scale its Engineering Culture

Culture is huge at Breeze. Leaders at the church management software company say that nurturing strong relationships among team members is a central focus. "At Breeze, it's really important to us that we feel like we know each other," says Rick Destree, Engineering Manager. The team culture is close-knit and collaborative, with a camaraderie fueled by their shared mission.

Since Breeze has always been a remote and distributed team, they felt confident moving into the pandemic that they would be able to maintain a strong culture. The unforeseen challenge was scaling that culture remotely, especially in a world where they could no longer rely on their twice-annual in-person retreats to cultivate connection.

As the engineering team grew from four to twelve and became increasingly specialized, silos began to develop. All-team Zoom calls and Slack channels began to feel less organic and more formal. The team needed a way to stay connected and bring back the open-door, everyone-in-it-together, collaborative feel. That's where Remotion comes in.

Making room for coworking and open communication with Remotion

Rick and the other engineering managers turned to Remotion for a lightweight solution that lowers the barrier to collaboration for the team. The team will call each other or use Remotion rooms to cowork and chat about projects.

“We jumped in and immediately loved Remotion. It's the closest thing I’ve experienced to working like we're all in a real physical office together,” Rick says. “Two people can just say, ‘Hey, I'm having a problem with this. I know you’ve fixed this before. Can I ask you a question?’ and then use a Remotion room and work together to solve it.”

Team leads also took the opportunity to lead by example and set the tone for the open-door culture they want to create. They each spend a few hours of their day in their team's Remotion rooms — making themselves visibly available to answer questions and unblock their team.

Teammates consistently pair program in Remotion calls too. "People will hit up Slack and ask if anyone can pair with them. It's a lot less awkward than opening a Zoom. We'll do code reviews with 8 or 9 people on Remotion too — it helps with open communication," says Christian Helvin, another Engineering Manager at Breeze.

Connecting socially with "culture-building fun, not distracting fun"

Remotion makes it easier to quickly discuss work, but it also creates space for casual chats that make the team feel more connected socially — like a 5-minute call to ask about someone's weekend. These moments naturally occur on a small team but start to feel awkward as you grow. With Remotion, the Breeze team has noticed a huge uptick in these types of connections. "More people are chatting, and there's a lot more impromptu conversation," says Rick.

Breeze also has a watercooler room dedicated explicitly to coworking and casual non-work chats. The watercooler lets people share space while they work on individual projects, and helps the team feel more like a team.

The team gravitated towards fun features like emoji sending and the daily selfie — which Rick called "culture-building fun, not distracting fun." Everyone takes a selfie in the morning, and teammates send emoji kudos and hellos throughout the day.

A sense of place and presence without the distraction (or performance issues!)

Remotion isn't the first virtual office the Breeze team has tried, but it is the first one that's stuck. That's because Remotion's dock makes your teammates the most important thing on your desktop — and is lightweight enough to keep on all day without distracting you or slowing down your machine.

“The fact that we’re able to have Remotion on all the time makes a huge difference. It has a pretty light footprint on our machines, which is awesome. It's so simple and yet it does a great job creating a feeling of place online,” Rick says.

"We're using 3-4% of our CPU when we're actually on video calls. On the performance end, it's working phenomenally," says Christian. "Screensharing is the cleanest I've ever seen on any video call platform. We are so blown away by the quality of this app."

Scaling a culture of connection

Since its founding, the Breeze team has always put their people first. They believe that great culture is the product of giving your team the space to naturally connect, and leading by example to set the right norms. Remotion gives them a natural way to do both those things as their team grows—and creates a remote workplace where everyone is excited to show up every day.

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