Every single one of us took at least 1 coffee break ☕when we worked in an office. It was a ritual and a daily habit. There's no reason we shouldn't be doing the same remotely.
Think back to when you worked in an office. Yes, I don't like thinking about it either. At least once a day every one of us left our desk to grab a cup of ☕. To be honest, I did so 5 or 6 times a day. And at least one of those coffee breaks was with a colleague or friend. It was something we all just did without thinking about it. Without realizing its impact to our mental health, company culture, or our happiness at work.
Though as the world goes remote it's something we'll need to consciously think about. While working from home or post pandemic anywhere, we'll continue to go to the coffee machine. In our homes, to a cafe, or to the co-working coffee machine. But we're missing out one one important component. That social interaction. That opportunity of going with a friend to grab coffee, or that person we bumped into at the machine. That brief introduction to someone new, or that chance to catch up from the weekend.
When we think about building a great remote culture, fostering interactions between the teams should be front and center. These conversations must be focused on anything besides work. It's what builds stronger bonds and deeper relationships between the team. This results in the team being more motivated and team orientated. In the end, a better and more successful company.
But in the remote world, we don't have the coffee machine. We don't have lunches together or beers after work. Remote leaders must create these opportunities. Historically doing so required a lot of work and a ton of heavy lifting 🏗. There are some great tools out there that were the first step. Connecting two colleagues every so often. That was nice for a chance to meet someone, but it simply made a match and moved on. Did the people actually chat, did they meet virtually, was their any outcome? Maybe yes or maybe no. Getting that interaction to happen after the match took finding a right time, calendar invites, zoom links, starting up a video call, inviting the other person, and knocking on a door. That flexed our mental muscles. 🧠💪
Because the tools weren't designed for remote work, there was a good chance you'd never interact with the person because the times simply didn't match up. No offense, but I'm not 'bonding' at 7/8pm in Tel Aviv with a colleague 9/10am in San Francisco. Once you've missed a couple of these matching opportunities the products lost all their value.
More importantly, when in an office did I chat with someone over coffee once every two weeks? Well at least for me, an extrovert, no way. It was every day. So this is where I believe the future lies. Yes, it's hard to imagine jumping on a video call every day or at least a few times a week. Thank you zoom fatigue! But this is a core answer to fostering deeper connections with the team. Short interactions like you had in the hallway but over video. Because you need the face 2 face interaction. Every day or at least a few times a week. Because you did exactly this in the office. You did go every morning at 10am after the team standup with your colleague to Starbucks. These micro-interactions not about work will make your team happier and more engaged. They'll feel more part of a team, and therefore the mission.
This is exactly why I created Spontaneousli. Personally missing these micro-interactions over the 9 years of remote working. So much more for the rest of the world that is getting onboard with remote (or hybrid) as the future. These interactions (or lack of them) will help make or break your culture.
If interested in early access to Spontaneousli please do sign up.