This week, I heard the term ‘water cooler moments’ again, which I had not heard since I relocated to Europe and became a remote worker a few years back. Up until our current reality, I had often laughed at how inefficient offices were and how much more I got done being remote, but now I have revaluated this.
Some things I believed that wasted time, such as water cooler moments, are precisely what help people with purpose and motivation. From various conversations with colleagues and clients, as well as reading numerous articles, I believe this is the ingredient of office life people are missing the most, perhaps the only one?
I am incredibly fortunate to work with a team who are all remote, in most cases for 10 years or more. Below are a few things we do (which were very organic in inception) that help keep the human touch.
• When working, collaboratively or not, we leave a video session open and ask each other questions as we work like you would in an office next to someone. There is no awkwardness if you want to grab a coffee or need to take another call but with the camera on this really boosts being part of the team
• Start every meeting, especially the first one of the day, with an informal chat. Again, we are quite lucky in that this happens naturally, I can’t think of anything worse than being told to talk about my weekend as part of my job description
• Update your calendar with the personal things you need to do such as “pick up dry cleaning” or whatever it may be. As we all need to fit these things in around our current situation, it really humanises someone when you see they have ‘normal’ commitments too… and it prompts better informal conversation
• It’s OK to ask someone “Do you fancy a catch up?” without a specific thing in mind, maybe you just need to talk, sometimes the best ideas come in these kinds of conversations.
What are your thoughts? Are we allowed to cross pollinate virtually? Have these chats with people in other organizations? 😊
If so, feel free to drop me a “catch up” request for no other reason than exactly that.
LiveTime Learning Ltd