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Welcome Wednesday: Work Check - Should your team set aside time for virtual hangs?

Jimmy Seddon
Community Leader
Community Leader
Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
May 17, 2023

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

I think by now you must have realized that I’m a big fan of the Work Check Podcast!

The latest episode was just released yesterday and it was another fantastic debate. What made this one even more special (for me) was that this one was recorded live at Team '23 in Las Vegas in front of all the attending Community Leaders!

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Getting back to the topic of the debate. Going into this my default, reaction was:
Yes we should set time aside for virtual hangs!

Both debaters made very strong arguments, and listening to the opening arguments, I almost fell for the “we are already busy, we don’t need another obligation“ argument. But in the end, I ultimately sided with my gut feeling.

Let me justify my initial thoughts. I work on a completely remote team. A number of our members are multiple hours away from our closest office. Also, unlike where both of the debaters focused (“zoom“) I assumed virtual hangouts wasn’t exclusively limited to zoom (since that wasn’t called out at the beginning of the debate).

Additionally, while we are all busy, we know that personal professional development is very important. This takes us away from our very busy jobs and with so many people not having regular interactions with people on a day to day basis because they are working from home; these virtual social gatherings, while awkward, are important for us to maintain our ability to interact with people.

@Christine P_ Dela Rosa if you are ever looking for more debaters, you know where to find me ;) 

So, now it’s your turn to chime in with your thoughts. What side of the debate are you on? Please share your thoughts in the comment below!

Have a great rest of the week!

14 comments

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ibrahim_aly May 17, 2023

Interesting reading

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RIZVAN RAHAMATH
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May 17, 2023

Interesting, but I prefer to hangout in person. 

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tondeleya_allen May 17, 2023

While there's nothing quite like hanging out in person, we should never underestimate the value of connecting virtually. For anyone working completely from home or on a hybrid schedule, checking in on others and having others reach out to you, can serve to keep everyone in the loop, foster community, and potentially break up the monotony of the day. 

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Summer.Hogan
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May 17, 2023

Welcome to the community @tondeleya_allen!

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tondeleya_allen May 18, 2023

Thank you so much! I'm glad to be here! 

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Summer.Hogan
Community Leader
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May 17, 2023

Thanks for another great Work Check post @Jimmy Seddon! I agree that while hanging in person is the best, some of us don't have that luxury since we don't have teams centrally located. My team is fully remote with individuals in Arizona on both sides of the valley, Brazil, Canada, South Dakota, and India, so it is impossible for us to get together in person EVER! So, hanging out virtually is the only way for us to hang and I think it is important to do so, which is why we do! 

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Amanda Barber
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May 17, 2023

So fun to listen to the live recording - really hope to make it to Team '24! I think that setting aside time for virtual hangs is vital to a team's culture - especially in the remote world many of us live in! My team's monthly lunch and learns tend to be about 50% fun activities and the other 50% learning. 

My company is also currently working on defining our culture and writing a culture statement over the coming months. I think that as a fully remote team, we've already identified the importance of connectedness and these virtual hangs are one way to facilitate that.

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John Funk
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May 18, 2023

Like @Jimmy SeddonI got to see this one recorded live, and what a neat experience to see that happen. Teams should definitely have outings and enjoy time together when you can. But I am not sure that forcing that to happen for virtual teams is the right way to go. Maybe in small doses it might be okay, but most of us don't want to spend the time online in another Zoom call - especially for an extended period of time. 

But maybe have food delivered to everyone and enjoy that time while eating and getting to know one other. There are probably lots of ways to creatively make that happen. 

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Amanda Barber
Community Leader
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May 18, 2023

On my fully remote team, for lunch and learns, we have everyone order and expense their own lunch. We've also started offering the option of a doordash gift card for folks who prefer not to need to expense the lunch for whatever reason. Food always brings people together, ha!

We tend to eat and chat - or - sometimes we play games like Jack Box or Gartic Phone when it's a team building day. 😊

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Aleksandra Cieslak May 18, 2023

In my team we have weekly unofficial one hour meeting just to see each other and talk about anything but work. It works great for us as a team building activity even if it's virtual meeting. In my opinion, virtual meeting is better than no meeting at all! But I must admit that I am still in a 'in-person meeting team'

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TinusL
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May 18, 2023

I would say one on one is okay(in person is always my preference), but I feel that in an online group setting, there is a lot of time being wasted because only one person can talk at a time. At an in-person hangout, if the group is big enough it will naturally break up into smaller groups with different topics, so still only one person talking per group, but more than online. And in that setting, you get to still listen in a little on other conversations and you can move at any time if that conversation sounds more interesting. 

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Christine P_ Dela Rosa
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
May 18, 2023

Yeah, the debate is specifically framed for those remote or in hybrid work situations. Which I think is what provides tension in the question: if you don't have the option of in-person hang time, do you designate time for it as a team or let it happen organically?

I'm sure we're all clouded by our own teams and whether this happens organically already, if team members are new or already established in their relationships, etc. But when thinking about a general best practice, it can be tough because there are so many things to consider.

Thanks for your thoughts, @Jimmy Seddon ! And to you and any other Community members out there, I'd love to hear your own work practice-related debates. In fact, I'm trying to see if there's enough folks out there willing to publicly share their hot takes with their own events ;)

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Tomislav Tobijas
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May 21, 2023

I think I'm more into having virtual team hangs than not, but I am still not 100% sure. I might suggest this to my team colleagues and in the meantime I'll keep an eye on this discussion and the replies 😉

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Nikki Zavadska _Appfire_
Community Leader
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May 23, 2023

I'm all up for the virtual meetings... I know it's not for everyone but as you said it helps create relationships with the team on a bit more personal level.

 

We were usually playing games once a month for 2 hours.... although the majority of the time we spend on fixing the game settings and getting everyone in the room I would argue that that's an even more important part because you can see how the team works together and helps each other 🫶

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Justyna Gdowik _ Deviniti _
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Marketplace Partners provide apps and integrations available on the Atlassian Marketplace that extend the power of Atlassian products.
May 23, 2023

I'm firmly on the side of setting time aside for virtual hangs. Why? Because in today's remote work world, we need those social connections and personal growth opportunities more than ever. They combat isolation and keep us engaged🤝.

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Sri Kumar
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May 24, 2023

Thank you @Jimmy Seddon 

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Evgeniy
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June 7, 2023

After the lockdown I understood, that virtual hangouts can't replace normal communications. You need some time to talk with your colleagues in office or in pub, just to have not only formal, but also informal connections.

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