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How Lattice’s Head of Design Jared Erondu stays creative while working from home

Cathy Reisenwitz

by Cathy Reisenwitz on April 14, 2020

Jared Erondu is Head of Design at Lattice, a people management software platform trusted by over 1,500 organizations. Headquartered in San Francisco, leaders in companies including Reddit, Slack, and Asana use Lattice to build their continuous performance management process.

I spoke with Jared about how coronavirus and mandatory work from home has changed his work routine, hiring, tech stack, team norms, and more. This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

How has your work routine changed due to COVID-19?

At first I thought I had significantly more meetings, but then I realized that what I had lost was the "meeting" between meetings. When I'm in the office, it's common for a meeting to end 2-3 minutes early.

I leave one room, walk through a hallway, say hello to some co-workers I don't see often, pick up a snack, then hop into another room. That movement is a mini-meeting in and of itself. It's a time for me to switch gears, recharge (figuratively and literally), and take a breather before entering another room.

However, it's been totally different lately. You leave one Zoom meeting one minute over, then join another Zoom meeting one minute late. No time for that mini-meeting. So I've been working to mitigate this.

On the positive side, I've been able to use the time saved commuting for cooking, exercising, and reading more!

How has hiring changed for you? Or has it?

I've noticed an increased level of anxiety. It's completely understandable. There's a lot of uncertainty in the world right now. Where is the world headed? Will my parents be okay? What will the job market look like in a few months? Who'll have a job? Who won't? How good is my health insurance?

These are all questions people are dealing with now. There's a lot more on their minds. So our candidate experience has to evolve to put them at ease, support their unique situations, and account for all this uncertainty.

What new tools are you using, or how are you using existing tools differently now?

I've more or less stuck to our existing collaborative tools. However, it's been fun to experiment with new use cases! Everything from using Figma for "whiteboarding" and fun team exercises (one of our Designers made a Design System game in it), to using Loom to facilitate asynchronous design crits.

What are some ways working from home due to coronavirus is making creative work easier, more difficult, or just different?

One downside has been creative energy. For some people, they get their energy from being around others. That's much harder today and it can impact them creatively. However, everyone has been motivated to keep collaboration and communication high. I think this shared sense of ownership has resulted in people experimenting with a lot more ideas. So I'm optimistic that we'll find ways to get that same level of energy flowing even when we're all home.

How are you supporting your team now, including tools, norms, routines, meetings, or anything else you think is relevant?

By being vulnerable, setting up more time for us to be together (doesn't have to be structured), asking a lot of questions, and adjusting our mindset.

We've been using the hashtag #lemonade to represent our company-wide mindset of, "How can we make the best of this situation?"

We've set the expectation that no one is expecting 100% right now. It's just not a fair ask when our minds are preoccupied with so much uncertainty. We've also been using our platform to its fullest extent! Our mission at Lattice is to make work meaningful. What better time for our platform to show up and help enable that at companies?

How has Clockwise made your life easier during this time?

"Support your team" means an entirely different thing to me right now. However, I can only do that if I make the time to focus on the things I'm observing and lay out experiments to address them. Clockwise has been key to me finding and protecting that time. It's also been great at taking the manual work of adjusting important cross-functional meetings off my plate.

Going forward

Our data has found that most workers are having significantly more meetings, and losing the "meeting" between meetings. When we looked at our users’ calendars last week and compared it with February's average we found:

  • A 1.5-hour (12%) increase in meetings per person per week
  • A 1.27-hour (8%) decrease in the amount of Focus Time per person per week (blocks of time longer than 2 hours)
  • A 17% increase in the amount of Fragmented Time per person per week (blocks of time less than 2 hours)
  • A 67% decrease in hours spent OOO. It went from an average of 17k hours per week to 5.5k

The meetings and fragmented time numbers are up from the week before last, and the Focus Time is down, pointing to an ongoing trend.

To get more Focus Time, try Clockwise’s Autopilot to automatically move your meetings to open us the most space for heads-down work. Then, encourage employees to schedule Focus Time blocks on their calendars like any other appointment. Clockwise Focus Time events will do this automatically. To help adapt your communication norms for WFH, use your Slack status to convey your availability. The Clockwise Slack sync adds a little symbol next to a user’s name in Slack to indicate whether they’re available, in Focus Time, or in a meeting.

Cathy Reisenwitz

Cathy Reisenwitz

Cathy Reisenwitz is Head of Content at Clockwise where she oversees the Clockwise Blog and The Minutes Newsletter. She has covered business software for six years and has been published in Newsweek, Forbes, the Daily Beast, VICE Motherboard, Reason magazine, Talking Points Memo and other publications.

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