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How the Pesto team uses Pesto

Katherine Luo
Katherine Luo
Aug 18, 2021 - 7 min read
How the Pesto team uses Pesto

A guide on how to use Pesto, based on how the Pesto team uses Pesto.

Conducting Meetings

Audio First

At Pesto, we always opt for audio first meetings - no video, no Zoom fatigue! The Pesto avatars are meant to be a stand-in for video and we love showing off our unique avatar looks. Video-off meetings also help reduce fatigue and improve overall mental health. There's a lot less stress and expectation when you don't have to constantly worry about whether or not you look presentable or if someone is going to accidentally show up in your background.

We typically only have video on if we're doing a team social event or we're having lunch with an interviewee. Often times, we'll only show video for introductions and then turn video off so people can eat in peace without having to worry if there's something on their face. Learn more about the case for video off here.

We prefer video off meetings
How our audio-first meetings look

Screen Sharing

When someone is presenting and screen-sharing something, everyone will individually put that person's screen on fullscreen and follow along. We utilize the draw feature to ask questions, provide feedback, and give suggestions. No need to spend 3 min trying to point something out with vague descriptions - just underline the exact one you're talking about! It's also very helpful when giving feedback that's related to layout, organization, and design as you can easily point out inconsistencies or where to move an element.

Screen drawing in Pesto makes it easy to point things out and give suggestions
Screen drawing feature

Reacts 😊

We're a supportive team and we love showing our teammates support with the Celebrate and GIPHY reacts! It's just another way that we keep work fun and build a positive team culture 🙂

Show your support with the celebration react

Preventing Unwanted Visitors

Note that you can also lock rooms to prevent other teammates or visitors from joining an important call. There have certainly been times when someone will accidentally join a call they weren't invited to, which can be a huge issue if you're with a guest visitor or interviewee. To prevent that from happening, you can lock the room that you're in so the conversation stays private.

How to lock your room to prevent interruptions
You can lock a room to prevent others from joining

Focused Discussions & Room Types

Discussions For Specific Topics

It's important that you keep discussions specific to a particular topic so that conversations don't get lost. At Pesto, we have separate discussions for every function and additional ones for sharing random things related to different topics. By having multiple discussions, it helps ensure that discussions meant for productivity and collaboration stay that way and don't get bombarded by pictures of dogs and random cat videos. For example, the Pesto team has an Engineering, Help, and Recipe Share discussion. This allows us to stay productive while still keeping things fun.

Rooms For Every Occasion

It's nice to have multiple types of rooms available for your team members to work from. Here are some of the different types of rooms we have:

  1. Water Cooler - a room where people can just hang out and casually chat
  2. Offices for managers - makes it easy to know where to go for 1 on 1's
  3. Interview rooms - lets people know not to message you
  4. Lofi rooms - rooms where teammates can go for deep work (see below for more details)
  5. Trivia room - used for team socials (see below for more details)
  6. Spatial rooms - used for team socials (see below for more details)
A look at all our different room types!

Organizing and Managing Your Notifications

Pinning and Reorganizing Rooms & Discussions

To prevent a bombardment of notifications, you can choose which rooms and discussions you want to pin and receive notifications from. You can also reorganize the order of the rooms and discussions to place the most important ones at the top for easier access.

You can mute notifications or unpin specific discussions

Multiple Pesto Teams for Large Teams

If your team has over 20 people, we suggest creating multiple Pesto teams by function. For folks in cross-functional positions, you can easily add them to multiple teams that they can easily navigate between on the side bar.

How to join multiple Pesto teams

Signaling Availability

Open vs Closed Door

The first is through the open / closed door feature. Having an open door allows anyone to automatically start talking you. It's meant to mimic having a coworker walk up to your desk to start a conversation. Having your door open is especially useful when you're collaborating on a project with other team members but have times of independent work. It makes it easy to ask questions, get feedback, and work through solutions in real time.

Pesto's open door features allows you to immediately begin speaking to someone

When your door is closed, this means that if someone wants to start talking to you, they must first send a request that you have to accept. If you miss the request, you'll get notified that you missed a call. I usually keep my door closed if I have to step away or if I'm working in an environment that may require me to move elsewhere when taking a call.

Pesto's closed door feature requires you to request someone before speaking to them

Using Statuses

Statuses let your teammates know if you have to step out for a bit or if you're in a deep work session and don't want to be bothered.

how to set a status in Pesto

You can set a status duration, emoji, and description and also choose whether or not people are able to contact you through the duration of the status.

Lofi Rooms

The chill hip hop beats of lofi music make for the perfect background music when you're studying or grinding out a project. That's why we decided to incorporate Lofi rooms to Pesto, which you can learn more about here. When you see a co-worker in a Lofi room, that probably means they're super focused and don't want to be bothered unless it's really important.

Pesto's lofi rooms play ambient music that you can listen to with your teammates

Integrations

Calendar Integration

With the Pesto Microsoft and Google calendar integration, you can automatically let others know when you're in a meeting. You can also integrate multiple calendars - one work and one personal. By hiding the event details of your personal calendar, it'll let the team know that you're busy but they won't know with what exactly.

Pesto calendar integration

Spotify Integration

The Spotify integration is a fun feature that allows you to see what kind of music your co-workers are listening to. It also serves as a social signal to your teammates. Our CEO, Doug, put together this article on how you can utilize the Spotify integration as a way to judge whether it's a good time to call your co-worker or not. For example, if you know that your co-worker likes to listen to when they're in deep focus, it can be used as an indicator.

Looking for new music? Check out what music your teammates are listening to

Fun Conversation Starters

Weather Integration

People have used the weather as a conversation starter for years! Our weather integration allows you to see where your teammate is located and the current weather conditions over there. It's a great way to ask them questions about the area they're in, what there is to do in that area, and what they do in their pastime. When you've got a distributed team like ours, it's especially interesting to learn more about the different cities that everyone is located in. It helps give us ideas for our next team trip!

The Pesto weather integration lets you know what the weather is like where your teammates are

Spatial Rooms

The new spatial rooms are meant to be an additional space for teams to interact and casually hang out in. Our team uses the spatial rooms for happy hours and team socials to make them more interactive and engaging - it's like you're in a video game together! We've heard other teams use them for breakout sessions, which is another great application of the spatial rooms.

Navigate around the room and hop in and out of conversations just like you would in real life

Trivia

At Pesto we're all about making work more fun, which is why we like to incorporate games into the product! Trivia is one of the games that is always available to you. You can hop in with your teammates whenever you want to and play a few rounds of trivia. Our team likes to play Trivia as part of our team socials! Learn more about our philosophy behind combining work with play.

Our built-in trivia rooms are great for team bonding

Respecting Privacy

Pesto is designed to give each team member full control of their privacy, so that they can choose how others interact with them. Pesto works best when everyone respects each others' preferences, and everyone interacts in a way that's comfortable for them. Don't push others to open their doors if they don't feel comfortable, and take things async when someone rejects your request to talk.


What is Pesto?

Pesto is your team's digital workplace. Our product is currently completely free - try it out at /


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