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Hacking SpatialChat breakout rooms in Renew

Technology, Hackathon, Renew use cases3Mins
2021-12-17Written by Aimee Pearcy

Our team is constantly coming up with unique ways of automating processes with Renew. This week we look at the awesome hack developed by Pat, our Senior Backend Engineer, to assign breakout rooms for our weekly team breakfast in SpatialChat.

Here at hx we don’t believe you have to always be in the office to produce amazing work, which is why we’re proud of our hybrid working culture and the way it offers our team independence and autonomy. On the other hand, it’s important to stay connected with our colleagues, which is why we schedule a team breakfast in our calendars every Monday morning for a chance to catch up and chat.  

As part of these meetings we break off into breakout rooms on SpatialChat, our preferred meeting software. These breakouts are a great way to facilitate smaller, more intimate conversations with one another, which we deeply value.  


Automating the process with Renew 

Previously, our Operations (Ops) Associate would organise these breakout rooms by randomly assigning each person’s initials to each room by hand, and then sharing the list with the team. As you can imagine, this was incredibly time consuming. It also made it difficult for new joiners who didn’t know the initials of everyone on the team. Especially now that we have 40 different names to memorise! 

In her first ever hx hackathon last year, our brilliant Senior Backend Engineer Patrycja Kazala saw an opportunity to solve this problem while she was learning about our pricing platform, Renew.  

At the time, hx had just started to use Hibob, a people management platform. Pat pulled a list of hx employees from Hibob (there are currently 40 of us – but there were significantly fewer back then) and integrated it with Renew. 

As part of her project, Pat programmed Renew to randomly generate our breakout rooms. This means that from now on, our Ops Associate can just click a button, copy the list, and paste it into the chat so everyone knows which room to join. Instead of using initials as we had done previously, Pat decided to include the full name and the role of each employee to help new joiners recognise their coworkers.   

We’ve included a screenshot so you can take a peek yourself (you might have noticed that we’ve modified some of the names slightly to protect the privacy of our hxers!):

We’d like to be a fly on the wall of the meeting between Edward Scissorhands and Elon Musk...

The project is still a work in progress, and following a number of enthusiastic suggestions from fellow hxers, Pat is currently tweaking it to exclude people who don’t work on a specific day or who are on holiday. But we were so excited by it that we wanted to share it right away. It certainly beats writing out the list by hand. 

Pat is a fantastic example of our brilliant hxers being creative and doing really cool things that stretch beyond their job spec – and a great example of how we actually put people’s side projects to use at hx. 

If you have a cool idea for Renew or you want to join Pat’s team, please reach out to us!

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