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Rebels’ Advice On How To Stay Connected

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We spend most of our time at work interacting with our co-workers, and for most of us, it’s our main source of social interactions with other human beings. Well, this was before we were disrupted by COVID-19 and sent to work from home for the foreseeable future. It’s a rough time for so many of us in quarantine. It’s a time where although many of us did not like to be always on our phones before, now it’s the only way we are staying connected. As we are being told to STAY HOME, this is the time where we are all craving connection and conversation.

Right now, more than ever, connection is key and connecting with our co-workers, providing support, and collaborating were we can is of the utmost importance. We live in a digital world where this is very possible. We use technology every day and have used video sharing with clients, right? So why shouldn’t we be using it for coffee talks, internal meetings, and team happy hours.

We are standing together and doing our best to make this an easy and seamless process. How can you set yourself apart to make sure your team feels purposeful, fulfilled, productive, and meaningful during a time of uncertainty? Don’t fret, the rebels have just the medication y’all need!

Here at ST8MNT we want to share how you can stay connected with co-workers, family, and friends to stay sane during a rough time:

Virtual coffee talk

I know what you are thinking, you are missing those half-asleep coffee talks in the hallway on your way back to your desk or waiting around the coffee pot catching up on your weekend. Admit it, you miss those half smiles when you pass your coworker in the hallway. You miss Janet telling you about Sunday Funday Brunch and miss Carol and her random hissing/chirping noises she does when passing your desk. So now’s the time to start being more intentional with your inter-team interactions, and recreate all of these via coffee chat on Zoom!

Daily video scrum chat

Here at ST8MNT we have a daily scrum meeting every morning where we meet around a large island in the office and discuss what we did the day before, what our priorities are for the day, and any roadblocks we need help with. Something we have implemented during this time is having our scrum chat as a mandatory video chat. This helps with feelings of being included, seen, heard, and present.

Virtual collaboration (core value: Constantly Collaborate)

The rebels at ST8MNT love to collab. I mean hi, it’s one of our core values! It’s in our nature. It’s in our genes. IT’S IN OUR BLOOD! SO how can you do this virtually you may ask? I got cha! Slack and Dropbox have great features for this. Slack has screen sharing + a draw on the screen feature which has allowed our designers give feedback on reviews. Our art directors went as far as saying it’s similar to having discussions in person and being able to point at different design details and help lead a designer through next steps. Think that’s pretty much a win at this point, right? Dropbox also has a similar feature called Dropbox Paper that can be utilized to collab with the team where you can create docs, coordinate work, bring content to one page, and edit in real time.

illustration of laptop and team collaboration with digital whiteboarding
Illustration by Jin Kim, Art Director

Virtual happy hour

Every Friday for the last 45 minutes of the day we all take part of a happy hour using Zoom. Leaving this time to talk about anything that is not work related over wine, beer, white claws, and kombucha. Also, if you haven’t already, this is how we have been staying in touch with our friends and family so we can remain as sane as possible.

Virtual yoga / workout session

As a team we have been sending each other home workouts, live streams, and IGTV’s to help during this time. You can even step that up. You may have a co-worker that can host a virtual workout session. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy but if you have yogi in your office maybe they want to help the team through a calming practice. Someone may even want to act like a personal trainer and be able to do a home workout together. Anything that can help your body move and connect with your team.

Here are a few favorites: Whitney Simmons, Hiitburn, Danielle Robertson, and Shakti Power Yoga 

Involving pets

Most of us in the office have pets (cats, dog, and a parrot) and it’s been fun calling them our new co-workers and MVP’s of the COVID-19 outbreak. If you use slack, maybe start a channel to make it fun and interactive #petsofcovid19 #mvpsofwfh to brighten your day.

Setting boundaries around coronavirus related conversations

Is this serious? Yes. Should you stay home? Yes. Should you be taking care of yourself and be social distancing? Yes.

Should you be panicking? No. During this time, it is natural to talk about the scary and anxious things in the media. However, from a mental health standpoint this is not healthy for you and your team. Maybe create a channel that is full of good news surrounding this pandemic. Remember, just because you want to talk about it doesn’t mean someone else does too. Be mindful.

team collaboration through internet virtual happy hour
Illustration by Jin Kim, Art Director

Bonus ideas:
Start a book club, start a Slack channel and have a simple exercise every hour, have a freestyle Friday where you allow your employee to work on anything they want to work on to spark creative and feel purposeful, and maybe even start a trivia league.

The most important part of this time is to be positive and support each other. Remember, STAY HOME, wash your hands, stay 6ft away, and everything will be okay and we will get through this together.