And now, for something completely different.
Employees across the country are feeling stressed, many are working remotely for the first time and the constant drumbeat of coronavirus fear is taking a toll.
This morning, over coffee on day seven of self-isolation, my partner told me about an interesting initiative from someone in her office. As I’m apt to do with good ideas, I immediately stole it: A virtual Thirsty Thursday.
Thirsty Thursdays are a thing in many offices, especially if you’re in an urban area close to a pub and transit. It’s a fun way to socialize, teambuild and relax after a stressful week.
Well, in the era of social distancing, Thirsty Thursdays have gone the way of the dodo. Extinct. No pubs are open, few people are venturing out and that social aspect has left a void, even for the introverts among us.
In the COVID-19 era, I’d like to introduce you to “Virtual Thirsty Thursdays.” (Trademark pending.)
How it works
The idea is simple. When the clock strikes 5 p.m., you fire up your webcam and connect to the conferencing app du jour. (We’re using GoToMeeting, but there are pleny of others available.)
It’s a way to bring the entire team together — the remote workers, the quarantined and those still in the office. You can raise a toast (alcohol not mandatory, but highly recommended) and reconnect with all the friendly, familiar faces you haven’t been able to see.
I sent the note out to my team this morning, and the responses came piling in fast and furious.
“Totally in!!!! I miss everyone’s faces already,” came the first response from one of the more extroverted sales reps. It should be noted that response came about 18 seconds after I hit send.
“I’ll be here, and would love to have a drink with you,” said another, adding her dog may make an appearance or two.
And another: “OK I AM TOTALLY IN!!!! I may have a toddler shouting or throwing toys in the background… maybe even running around diaperless as we’re trying to potty train… sooo there’s that!”
Clearly, it struck a chord. I haven’t really figured out how it’s going to work practically — because only one of us can talk at a time, and 15 people have responded yes. (Which, oddly, is more than I have on my team — but other colleagues wanted to join in too.) It will be a moment of levity and normalcy, even if our computer screens look like a massive Brady Bunch opening.
A return to normal
It’s a simple gesture, and a way to keep everyone connected. We all may feel alone in our basements and in our kitchens — but we’re not.
We’re co-workers, we’re friends, we’re community and we’re all in this together.
Bringing the team together is a way to return to normal, to create camaraderie over the Internet. And, of course, have a little fun in the process.
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