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TIPS & LESSONS FOR 2022: Keep virtual coffee chats up and running

nina_schmidt Community Leader Jan 17, 2022


Use every day or at least every other day 15 minutes for an informal exchange within your team, just like you would chat at your office coffee machine. 


Relevance for today: 
This keeps the connection within your team good and helps to include new team members because it‘s officially informal without work topics. 
Onboarding these days is hard - I myself started a new job during the pandemic and this informal meeting helps to bond and get to know your colleagues you might never see „in real“. 






Andy Gladstone Community Leader Jan 17, 2022

@nina_schmidt thanks for sharing. Can something 'scheduled' still be 'informal'? Do you do it same time, same days, or at random? How do you created programmed spontaneity?

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Thanks for asking @Andy Gladstone

It really works, because you have a certain spot in your calendar that is blocked. With this you should be safe from „double booking“ and you are always free to join the coffee chat if you want to but you don’t have to. 

… and yes, it is always scheduled for 12:45 every day - the time you would grab a coffee after lunch. 

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Instead of a scheduled meeting, we have some kind of virtaul office with several channels/rooms. People can join this whenever they are not in a customer call and are open for a chat. People just talk to whoever is there, just like when doing a real coffee break.

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nina_schmidt Community Leader Jan 17, 2022

Awesome - I‘ll „steal“ that idea and discuss it in our next team meeting. Thanks @Adrian Hofreuter 

We sometimes and randomly theme the catch ups eg. I love to brainstorm an idea can we do that on Wed...

I'm often guilty of not prioritizing these types of hangs, but more often than not, I learn something about someone or feel like I vibe more with someone, and the team is better for them. If only my future self could tell my past self that she will thank my future self later.

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nina_schmidt Community Leader Jan 17, 2022

I totally agree! You really get to know cool things about your colleagues. 

@Christine P_ Dela Rosa you can at least start right now joining these hang outs and write your future self a nice sticky note to cultivate this new habit 🖍😊✍️

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I like that idea! Writing a note to myself is kind of like writing to my future self from the perspective of my future future self 🤣

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carolyn french Community Leader Jan 17, 2022

My team just kick-started this again since we're not going into the office for the time being. And so far, seems like a nice alternative for a bit of casual chat and getting to know each other.

The one thing I struggle with is not bringing up work topics. How do you keep it light and non-work related?

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nina_schmidt Community Leader Jan 17, 2022

We feared that too @carolyn french but we learned that as soon one is „drifting away into work issues“ someone is calling out not to do that. Perfect team building 😉 

We had also a buzzer sound prepared but never needed it. 🤣

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carolyn french Community Leader Jan 18, 2022

I don't know about others, but I find it so hard to focus when I have something urgent (work-related) I need to say to the person I'm actually right in front of. I will try writing it down and then messaging them later. But this is more than just buzzer territory. I understand the value in having a relaxing and social call, so that's why I keep trying, but it's so difficult.

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@carolyn french In one of my old jobs, we used a silly game like this in Teams, Gartic Phone - The Telephone Game, as an icebreaker. I know they can be cheesy but I think doing something together is a great way to get to know each other.

carolyn french Community Leader Sep 14, 2022

@Valerie Knapp Thanks for the fun tip there - we'll have to try out this game

I like the idea of having a daily standups even when team members are not working on the same topics.
Guess I'll try that one out for my STAGIL Mountains team aswell.

How large is your team @nina_schmidt?

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nina_schmidt Community Leader Jan 18, 2022

@Christopher Jaksch  awesome!

My team (soon 5 people again) meets every Monday morning and the whole department with the everyday meeting has about 24 people. 😊 4-7 participate each  day  

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Hi @nina_schmidt 

   If in fact I have already commented on it in other forums than in the team team, I have created a channel called "coffee shop" so that on Fridays we can have a relaxed drink and talk about anything except work

   The team celebrated this initiative with great pleasure and the weekly coffee is very important


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nina_schmidt Community Leader Jan 24, 2022

Hi @Vero Rivas 

we learned Friday especially afterwork is not the best day because many colleagues leave earlier on Fridays and would never take part then. 
This is why we chose lunchtime. 

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Darryl Lee Atlassian Team Mar 31, 2022

Thanks for raising the awareness of this @nina_schmidt .

I would like to call out to [Teamwork Musings] We need to "clock in" teamwork time to acknowledge the ways we "team together" as I realised that I haven't participate much of the informal casual chats every since the pandemic...

That is a terrible decision and your article reminds me the importance!

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