by Hollie Wegman ・ Office Hacks

Office Hack #38 — Unbounce’s Sweet Spot Light Hack

Envoy is all about making things easier and more fun in the office. In that spirit, we are proud to bring you our Envoy Office Hacks podcast series. Every week, we deliver the coolest, most ingenious, and just plain fun fixes people have invented to improve efficiency and productivity in their workplace.

Offices in different timezones means spontaneous meetings require a bit of thought. After all, your colleagues may be just be getting out of bed, or going home for the day. Today’s hack takes all the thinking out of timezone challenges. This is Unbounce’s Sweet Spot Light Hack.

Below is the Montreal, Quebec office of Unbounce, a company that makes landing pages for web marketers. Here, they do customer service and content marketing.

Its head office is located in Vancouver, BC which is three hours behind Montreal.

Busy working at one’s desk though, it’s easy to lose track of time, nevermind timezone differences. As such, a few ill-timed calls from the east to the west pushed the Unbounce team to hack together a signal system of sorts.

One day, a light went off in the mind of Sylvie Aucoin, Office Manager.

Sylvie came up with the Sweet Spot Light. It’s a simple lighting hack that changes colors to let the Montreal office know when their Vancouver mates are in or out of the office.

The sweet spot, get it? For inter-office communication.

From 9 a.m. to noon, lights are RED. (Do not disturb!)

Noon to three p.m. they are GREEN. (Good morning!)

Three to four they are YELLOW. (Out to lunch!)

The setup runs on a bunch of IFTTT applets.

The applets trigger a bridge connected to the lights at the predetermined times.

“…You get so caught up in your day that it’s not even about doing the math of the three hours, you aren’t even keeping track…Let’s say you want to talk to Vancouver, noon rolls around and it’s like you haven’t even seen it coming. But if you see the light change you’re like, ‘oh wow it’s noon I’m gonna do what I need to do with Vancouver now before I go on lunch because I have some urgent matters,’” Sylvie Aucoin, Office Manager

For Customer Success Coach Victor Zamudio, the lights signal something else: “When it’s green, it’s a relief.”

That’s because his questions can now be answered directly by the incoming West Coast developers, and he doesn’t have to rely solely on his technical manuals. But there’s another, more primal reaction from Victor:

“When it turns green I get hungry.” Off to lunch he goes!

Everyone at the office agrees the lights are a good visual reminder of the time difference. And if you happen to be madly scribbling on that whiteboard, with your back to the Sweet Spot Lights, the same color coding has been integrated into the digital displays.

Sweet!

How to hack it

Want to hack a light signal system in your workplace? Here’s what you’ll need:


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