Tuck Consulting Group has been growing exponentially over the past few weeks. We have hired 3 full-time employees in less than a month, almost doubling our existing full-time workforce.
Adding another layer of complexity, we are a consulting firm. This means that all of us have clients and priorities that do not always include the internal TCG team.
So, how are we bonding with our new team members? How are we making people feel included in their new workplace?
You may have immediately jumped to happy hours. It seems like every remote team has decided the only way to bond with each other is to extend the workday an extra 30-60 minutes and virtually drink with your coworkers. Spoiler alert: it is not a happy hour. Though we do have a “happy hour” on the TCG calendar, it is on 3pm on a Friday, giving people more of a break and making it less of a requirement.
The most successful meetings we have are…optional coworking sessions. Optional coworking sessions happen 1-2 times a week at TCG. Everyone is invited, sometimes people come with questions and sometimes there is a topic, but most of the time we are all in a Teams room. 50% rubber ducking and chatting through what we are working on and the other 50% we are just chatting about miscellaneous things about our lives, joking, getting to know each other better, etc.
The goal of these meetings? Recreating that “water cooler” moment. Running into a coworker in the kitchen and chatting with them about their weekend. Grabbing a snack at 3pm and having an impromptu conversation with the CTO and ending up learning about their cheese making hobby (I might be speaking from experience there).
The magic of these meetings is everyone that attends the meeting understands the goal. Our CEO regularly joins but knows that these meetings’ number one priority is connecting with your coworkers.
And you want to know something? We usually are productive during co-working meetings. Someone asks a question they did not feel comfortable asking in a group setting and we all cover it with them. Or a problem is posed to the group and someone that has not been in other internal discussions has a great perspective on it. This meeting not only drives connection, but regularly drives progress.
And to be clear: is not a revolutionary concept. Developers have been pair programming and rubber ducking long before this post, but sometimes we forget how to bond with a new person in our 100% remote world, so this post is a reminder. Have a low-pressure conversation, invite other people in so no one feels the need to hold the conversation, make it easy to leave if people want to, and if all else fails, talk about work and the weather.
So next time you are thinking you could use a little coworker interaction, or that you have not spoken to the new hire yet this week, I advise you to start semi-regular co-working meetings and even integrate it into your workplace culture. Trust me it works; I wrote this blog post during one.