How carwow Improved Remote Work by Using Discourse

How carwow Improved Remote Work by Using Discourse

Every day, customers are building, growing, and running successful communities powered by Discourse. Today, we're highlighting one of them who improved how their company collaborates remotely with an internal community.

Who is carwow?

Carwow is the free, easy way to change your car online. Currently based in Europe, carwow helps their large audience buy and sell cars in Spain, Germany, and the UK. They also run the world’s most popular YouTube channel about cars. Currently, carwow has close to 250 employees, and, in 2019, the company switched to working remotely full-time.

The challenge of chat-only

Remote work has its perks for sure, but, as carwow experienced, the typical ways companies collaborate remotely can have major pain points.

David Santoro, co-founder of carwow, said:

“In 2019, when we had to switch to remote work, I struggled with Slack and not being able to partake in conversations if I wasn’t online when they happen. Catching up with the teams’ work was hard as I couldn’t find these conversations when I came online. And so I either had to watch the Slack channel continuously, or be content with missing out on some conversations. To me, synchronous tools or instant messaging platforms made working online feel like we were going backwards looking for old discussions, instead of moving forward innovating and progressing on new discussions.”

Carwow’s experience is not uncommon for companies who primarily rely on chat for day-to-day collaboration. Engaging in the moment (or synchronously) is fast and simple, and coworkers get real-time feedback on conversations. The problem comes at scale.

When there are hundreds or even thousands of messages flying through chat every day, the wheels fall off. Collaboration gets harder, conversations get muddled, important information rolls off-screen, and the flurry of activity causes everyone at the company to feel like they need to have chat open all day, every day. Always-on collaboration like this often costs employees their ability to get quality, focused work done.

As carwow’s founders experienced, the fear of missing out is real – and a real problem. This led them to look for a solution.

Finding an async solution

After some searching, David found Discourse and began implementing it with his team. He made a decision early on not to force the adoption of the internal community platform, opting instead to encourage his team to try it out for themselves.

Discourse checks a number of boxes for companies looking to build internal communities. Here are a few.

  • It’s designed around long-form, thoughtful discussion instead of quick bursts of interaction.
  • Collaboration easily happens asynchronously and on your own schedule.
  • Conversations immediately turn into a persistent repository of company information – no digging through emails or chat history required.
  • Discovering and participating in the conversations important to you is effortless and doesn’t require your constant attention.

“If it matters, put it on Discourse.”

David’s experiment building an internal collaboration community for carwow turned out to be a smashing success. Through his organic adoption efforts, over 30% of employees are using Discourse, with more moving over regularly.

One of the biggest benefits? The richness of the conversations.

Instead of quick, quippy snippets of conversation in chat, David saw a marked increase in the quality and detail of conversation taking place on Discourse.

Describing the improvement, he said:

“Discourse made richer and more detailed conversations easier to have than on Slack, so if you want the conversation forgotten, put it on Slack. If it matters, put it on Discourse.

Carwow employees also found it much easier to find and pop into discussions that mattered to them without the pressure of constantly keeping up with chat. David mentioned that he could easily go a day or two without checking in and still keep up with the company’s happenings.

For most companies including carwow, there’s a strong need to have a synchronous chat tool alongside an async platform like Discourse. Carwow still uses Slack as the company’s short-term memory, but they leverage Discourse’s Slack integration to move conversations to a more permanent place when needed.

Use Discourse for Your Internal Community

Just like carwow, you too can improve your company’s ability to collaborate, protect employee mental health, and improve productivity by building an async-friendly internal community.

If you’re just getting started, check out this article on how the Discourse team uses Discourse. Or, if you’re ready to explore more, start a free trial.