What do you do when crisis comes knocking and forces your team to socially distance and work remotely?
Team Wetu has always been shamelessly social. We miss our gatherings, in-person chats, pranks and laughs, as much as we miss the simple luxury of working together in the same room, face-to-face.
How to make up for the brainstorming sessions with teammates across a desk… And the workshops in the Think Tank, Thunderdome or another of our aptly-named boardrooms? The Wetu HQ kitchen is bereft of company celebrations and there’s no special desk decoration to mark your birthday. We worry about our team members who have been laid off temporarily or placed on short-time. We wonder how everyone’s doing, coping and staying safe, and what lies ahead for all of us.
How we connect
Like everyone else in the world, we’re trying to adapt, to retain the camaraderie that previously carried us through so many challenges at work. Our company values have come to the rescue.
Keeping in touch and staying up-to-date with each other starts with a Slack chat and video conference team challenges on the best background pic, sometimes escalating to unashamed oversharing.
We appreciate you Ray, for showing us how it’s done.
Our last Funky Friday concluded with a virtual baby shower for Senior Software Developer dad-to-be Brent, courtesy of Google Meet. In its run-up, our People Team polled the team on Slack to guess baby’s gender, birth weight, hair colour and whether or not Brent will pass out during the birth.👶🏻
Working apart for so long can cause team spirit to fade. On a company-wide survey sent out to the entire team about the feelings, thoughts, circumstances and expectations of every single member of the company, the need for effective engagement was a key takeout. It determines how we work together, how we relate as teammates, and how we collaborate on the way forward.
Introducing the Donut. This social plugin on Slack is an opportunity for us to have virtual coffee and chat dates with a teammate, randomly paired up on the Donut-be-a-stranger channel every 2 weeks. The extroverts among us are encouraged to take selfies while we’re at it and share with the rest of the team. Some of us like to watch. Some of us love showing off. Mostly we’re just happy to connect.
How we adapt
When we celebrated our 10 years in travel last year, we couldn’t have imagined that our 11th birthday would be an all-day affair of virtual group activities across multiple time zones. It started with an early morning walk outdoors, followed by a group yoga and meditation session, a mass baking session, singing and feasting. Why not try our wheat-free Chocolate Banana Mug Cake?
Megan & the doggies get a wet-nosed #ViewFromMyWalk of their neighbourhood park.
Nafiza taunts us with glorious images from a bright summer night in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Christine spots a rainbow lighting up her cloudy morning walk over False Bay, Cape Town.
The manner of gorging that followed should never happen to any innocent cupcake, and then preferably without an audience. Our WFH colleagues joined in and it became a party.
Next up was a virtual pub quiz. Anyone clever enough to have some spare tipple squirreled away at home enjoyed the pub part of it. As for the quiz part, I believe it was rigged. But congrats to the champions: Peter W and William, who shared this self-penned haiku in honour of his victory. (We totally get it.)
Filtering the soup
arbitrary knowledge is
lost more than is found.
How we build
If the team can’t come to the building, then bring team building to their house. Swapping coping tips and tools in pjs and hoodies is a fun way to bring connection, relaxation and necessary release for teams suffering from disconnect. Members of Team Wetu were recently treated to a laughter and breath-work session by Barry from Adventure Works.
Staying connected with clients during down time has been really good for us (after all, you are our reason for being). Now and then we get a nice comment from a client getting organised and prepping before travel restarts – spreading the love has never been more important!
Quiet time is not idle time. We’re being productive, laying some groundwork before everyone gets busy again, supporting clients who want to upskill while they wait: the Supplier Success Team are doing training webinars; the Onboarding Team are offering one-on-one training to clients and producing tutorial videos.
Our Latin American team in Argentina are doing a training webinar on June 30th for our Spanish-speaking operator clients. ¡Unite a nosotros el martes y aprovecha al máximo tu tiempo de tranquilidad! Registrate aquí. They also decided to introduce themselves properly to the world in recognition of their growing operations in Wetu’s Spanish and Portuguese language markets. Say hola.
It’s hard for many of us to know what our companies will look like a year from now. What we do know is that regardless of what’s happening out there, we are still a team. As diverse and as spread across the globe as we are, the common ground that binds us is this sense of belonging to Team Wetu. It defines our brand, who we are for our clients and for the industry we serve.💚