This morning I was standing in my kitchen waiting for my kettle to boil. I was staring blankly out the window, isolated and alone in this unprecedented time for our community. The days of standing around the proverbial water cooler or coffee machine seem to have vanished in a flash, as too the conversations with colleagues that went with them.
Although working from home has recently become the norm for most people, I have been working from home for years. Working for a global company has meant that my colleagues don’t sit across the desk, room, or are even in the same time-zone, but I feel closer to my virtual colleagues than I have to any other team that I have been a part of.
Does this mean that I don’t miss the spontaneous water-cooler conversations, or the quick smile or laugh when the boss locks himself out of the office again… no. But what is important to remember is that just because you are working from home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t connect and catch up with your teammates and colleagues- or share the spontaneous moments that made you smile or laugh. This is actually a crucial component of building and maintaining quality relationships with our colleagues, which is the basis of an effective team.
If you are wondering how… you already know, you simply have to schedule some time and set the agenda.
Although this won’t be as spontaneous as your “old” coffee conversations, a virtual coffee can be just what you need to connect back to your colleagues. Try it, you might just like it.
What happens if we don’t know what to talk about?
Chances are that this won’t be a problem, but remember, some of your “old” coffee conversations lasted for hours (don’t tell the boss), and some were over within 5 minutes. A virtual coffee conversation doesn’t need to consume the entire time you booked the meeting. If you feel a natural closure to the conversation, feel free to finish the virtual coffee early.
One last tip, remember to finish the conversation on a positive note. Given the uncertainty surrounding the current situation, sometimes when we catch up with people with whom we feel comfortable with we end up debriefing- our thoughts, feelings and experiences. Although this is appropriate and can be useful, remember that the conversation cannot end there. For the sake of your wellbeing and your colleague’s wellbeing, we need to finish on something that will be uplifting and positive. Something that sets you up for the next part of your day.
Positivity tips to finish up your virtual meetings:
- Name one thing that you are grateful for today?
- When was the last time you had a really good laugh?
- What is the funniest meme/video you have seen in the past few weeks?
- If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why
For more insights and exercises you can use to improve your wellbeing and working life, check out more of our blogs. Alternatively, if you’re looking to improve wellbeing, productivity and effectiveness across your organisation, contact our experienced team.
As an organisational psychology consultant at Kaya, Lisa Vandertogt believes the key to unlocking both individual and organisational potential lies in a holistic approach and understanding the complex interplay between individuals, teams, and organisations. She has specialist interest in wellbeing, engagement, diversity and inclusion, team effectiveness, and personal capability development.