The quandary of virtual informal get-togethers
Today, a working week crammed with digital meetings is no longer unusual to anyone. The pandemic has propelled us into a remote working experience. We have made our rookie mistakes ("You're on mute") and learned from them. And now that we've gained some experience, most of us have found a way to effectively discuss work-related matters online.
But every once in a while, it's great to talk non-work issues, too. That is how you get to know your co-workers. The problem is, nearly every conversation is scheduled these days, and the informal chat is becoming extinct.
For the sake of team cohesion, it's paramount that you occasionally organize a highly informal digital team meeting: virtual Friday afternoon office drinks. The sole purpose of these get-togethers should be to enjoy your drink and catch up with each other.
So, after having stared at your computer screen for about 40 hours, you sit back, relax, and have a nice chat with your co-workers — on the same screen. It's not exactly an ideal situation…
The secret ingredients: activities and fun!
At M3 Consultancy, we've struggled with this issue, too. We'll be the first to admit that it's difficult to match the non-virtual experience. There's no denying that having Friday afternoon drinks on Microsoft Teams is different. Yet we have found some fun ways to improve our virtual get-togethers.
A few weeks ago, for example, we held a cake baking competition. Some turned out to be natural-born bakers. Others saw their cakes collapse as we discussed the results. But we all got our hands dirty and had a good laugh.
On another Friday afternoon, we invited a professional cocktail maker who taught us his craft. Although some co-workers had embarked on a Dry January adventure (and mocktails would have been more appropriate for them), everyone had fun playing around with cocktail ingredients. It was a lot more interesting than just another Microsoft Teams meeting!
Spice up the online experience
Of course, different teams have different interests. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. But adding some fun elements to your Friday afternoon office drinks is always worth a shot.
I hope our modest attempts to spice up the online experience will inspire you in one way or another. And if you have a good idea for the next (M3) get-together, let us know!