Staying Connected Through Zoom
Coates Design is fortunate enough to function at full capacity during quarantine, but that doesn’t mean it has come without some bumps in the road.
In-person communication is something that we took for granted and working remotely certainly came with its challenges. Whether it be an employee with a spotty mic during Zoom conferences or a VPN malfunction on a deadline, working effectively during a pandemic is no walk in the park. As we enter the third week of Phase 2, we thought we would share a couple ways that we have stayed connected through Zoom.
Before quarantine began, morning meetings were nothing more than something that marked the start of the day. There may have been a short announcement about someone bringing in coffee cake for everyone’s enjoyment or a banging of the gong to welcome in a new project. Usually, though, it was nothing more than a brief hello before we started the day. But as we would find out by working remotely, being out of the office makes it much more difficult to communicate. There were no more shouts across the room, passing of notes, or team meetings in the conference room. What was once an arbitrary routine had become a very important time to keep our team connected and engaged. Almost like attendance being taken in elementary school, we go around and name our tasks for the day and announce any relevant news. It seems so simple, but when working remotely, it is the only time the firm has the chance to come together. Without this daily check in, it would be easy to be isolated in one’s work. But with the Morning Muster as we call it, architects know what’s going on with each other’s projects, the marketing department gets a glimpse into the daily workings of the architects. People raising their hand to help someone with their work is a frequent occurrence. The firm has become more cohesive, unified, and collaborative despite the limitations of social distancing.
Beer O’clock Happy Hour
Something else Coates Design has been doing to keep our team tight-knit is having Beer O’Clock Happy Hours to cap off every Friday. It’s a fun way to wind down after the work week, and even support a local business like the Bainbridge Brewery by picking up some growlers! In a diverse team with people from different walks of life, it is a joy to connect and learn more about coworkers outside of work. We played Jackbox TV games like Quiplash and it was quite the pleasant surprise to find out that there are some real jokesters on the Coates Design team!
Although the quarantine isolated us to our homes, in many ways, it brought our firm closer together. It forced us to rethink about the ways in which we communicate and how we can do so most effectively.