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inside Hashtag Our Stories' ohyay office.

Find out how one fast-growing media company built their virtual office on ohyay and why they’re excited about a remote-first future.

Written by 
Aletta Hiemstra

When COVID-19 hit, fast-growing media startup Hashtag Our Stories had to pivot from its physical newsrooms in South Africa.

“We discovered ohyay and haven’t looked back. We’ve been able to build a virtual office, onboard dozens of team members remotely, and produce breaking news stories every day,” said Yusuf Omar, Co-Founder of Hashtag Our Stories.

So what are some key elements of the company’s virtual office that other creators can introduce to their remote teams?

Gamified onboarding for new team members

Charley Maher, Head of Community at Hashtag Our Stories, builds worlds for the company to work and play in. After watching our escape room training, Charley created virtual challenges to train new staff on the basics of publishing guidelines. “Our teams say the new onboarding beats a PowerPoint deck or PDF. They now work together to solve storyboard puzzles, edit scripts, and put themselves in real world situations,” she said.

Onboarding escape room for Hashtag Our Stories journalists.

Continually evolving workspace

Variety is the key to keeping remote work fun and fresh. When team members come into the office in the morning, they’ll often find that Charley has created and turned on a new room , such as a butterfly photo booth or a fantastical forest scene with draggable lanterns. One of Charley’s most popular rooms, “Oprah Interview,” has provided a platform for Hashtag Our Stories team members to interview each other and share their stories.

Fairytale meeting room with a sparkle overlay and draggable elements.

Customized rooms for each team member

Charley built customized rooms for each team member based on their unique interests and job requirements. Whether creating a chessboard photo booth for the team’s chess lovers or enabling painting in the Design team’s meeting room, “customization makes all the difference,” she said.

Chessboard photo booth.

As for her own desk? She built a cozy cabin with pictures of her two dogs and an animation of crackling flames in the fireplace.

“These personal touches have made ohyay more than just a workspace. They’ve made it a place that we genuinely want to be,” said Charley.
Charley’s personal office.

Read on for testimonials from other creators who have built their virtual offices on ohyay.

“Ohyay has given us the ability to create a virtual office campus, where our employees can reconnect with each other in a fun, immersive way. We now host weekly Town Halls, 1 on 1s, happy hours and more in ohyay. This platform has opened our eyes to the future of remote work and given us a way to create our own identity in a virtual world." 

  • Rebecca Weinberg, Workplace Operations Manager, Citizen

“Being able to customize different spaces has completely transformed how we operate as a company. We meet for daily standup in one of the conference rooms and each work out of our individual ‘offices’ throughout the day to make it low-friction to get into discussions. We have a much better sense of presence and community with ohyay than we did before with Slack and Zoom.”

  • Jean Yang, CEO & Founder, Akita Software
Open-faced poker social activity at Akita Software.

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Aletta Hiemstra

Community & Communications at ohyay