One of the hardest things to maintain when you are working from home is a sense of community. In an office there’s the quick chats in the hallway, grabbing coffee with a colleague, and formal team-building sessions. They all add up to provide a sense of “we’re in this together”. When you work in the same location, the feeling of connectedness is much easier to create than when you are geographically separated. So, what can you do?
Take a coffee break, virtually.
The first thing to do is to create a set time to have a virtual coffee break. This can be a conference call or a Zoom meeting (video is always better than just audio for building rapport) with your co-workers. Consider it a mental break from doing work, but schedule it as a meeting so that it actually happens and doesn’t fall by the wayside.
Side note: It’s very important to title the meeting in a way that encourages a fun, positive feeling. For example, a meeting title of “Checking In” from an HR Director might strike a note of fear, where a title of “Let’s Chill and Chat Over Coffee” feels more like fun.
To encourage a fun break, have something planned. This is where you get to be creative. Pick a theme for the coffee break. Allow everyone to introduce their pet to the team or give a 60 second sales pitch about their favorite ice cream or wear their craziest hat to the meeting. The theme doesn’t matter as long as it keeps the meeting light and provides a real mental break. If you need help with themes, I ran across this article that had some creative ideas that could easily be done in a short time.
The point of the Virtual Coffee Break it to get to know your colleagues better and create the community feeling everyone needs. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.
I would love to start a list of themes that have worked for people. Send me a quick email with your favorite themes and I’ll post a list.
- Book Talk – quick summary about the current book you are reading
- Object Art – guided drawing of a simple object
- Funny Meme – a meme you thought was funny this week
- Dad Jokes – complete with eye rolls and groans
- Kids Art – most recent drawing by your child
- Outdoors – take the meeting outside