The people at Marketing Systems Group are data-driven. We crave the laser-focus on statistics, the wonky allure of sample frames and demographics, panel management and survey methodologies. So when the CoVid19 crisis fell upon us, we, like many others, were forced suddenly to work from home, and it hit us hard.
When teleworking from home, you are faced with juggling work, running meetings, taking phone calls, responding to emails, helping clients, all while taking care of household matters: our kids, our cats, our dogs. It certainly isn’t business as usual. Distractions and anxieties are all too real.
Still, the work gets done, and we find ways to manage. By the end of the week, though, everybody starts to feel just a little bit frazzled. Obviously, since we must maintain social distance, a traditional happy hour to blow off steam is out of the question. We have come up with the next best thing: “cool down Fridays.”
Every Friday at 5 PM we meet by video over Microsoft Teams to decompress and boost one another’s spirits. Yes, indeed, “spirits” are involved, too. Each team member is encouraged to show their “beverage of choice”, and together (virtually) we knock down a few. We chat about our week, the challenges we are facing, how we are coping, even which grocery stores have toilet paper in stock!
Though it sometimes can feel as if working from home means living as a face inside a box (think the opening credits to The Brady Bunch or The Hollywood Squares), “cool down Fridays” have given us a renewed appreciation for the value of each co-worker. We have the opportunity to let the hair down, get to know each other better. We see one another as real people, with families, partners, spouses, kids, and cute pets.
The Friday cool downs absolutely have been a big morale booster. With peer groups communicating in new and unexpected ways, we are forging new connections across departments, seeing new synergies emerge that translate into an even more productive work place.
Ironically, the social distance has brought us a lot closer as a team. And this is just the kind of attitude that will get us through this crisis: together.
If you haven’t tried a Friday virtual happy hour at your workplace, consider doing it. And don’t forget to BYOB! Stay safe, stay healthy.