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Miss grabbing coffee with coworkers or meeting up for snacks in the breakroom? We do, too! We asked our community to share the creative ways they’re keeping teams connected while working from home. This week, we’re sharing four of our favorite responses, plus one thing we are doing at Irvine Company to live our WorkLife anywhere.

*Some responses have been edited for length and clarity

SHARING WORK-HOME LIFE WITH SLIDE SHOWS

We’re holding go-to meetings weekly, sometimes twice per week. We use Skype as an instant chat to send quick notes. We’re also making slide shows where everyone contributes photos so we can see their work-home life. Some are so funny, but we know we are not alone during this crazy time.

Debbie Bryant, T&B Planning, Market Place Center

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FUNNY GIFS KEEP US LAUGHING

WorkLife has changed a lot in the last few weeks. Breaks with coworkers look more like sending gifs and links to funny stories rather than sitting together in a break room. I set aside dedicated time to connect with my coworkers. We check in on each other throughout the day through Skype messaging, try to do meetings with cameras on so we remember each other’s faces, and take the time to laugh whenever possible. It’s different, but it’s working.

Janice McMurray, Colliers International, Jamboree Center

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VIRTUAL TEAM CELEBRATIONS

Working at home in isolation is challenging. As the office manager, I had a lot of interaction with staff and I miss this. I was also in charge of the employee fun committee to help with employee morale. I put on my thinking cap to see how I could still do this while working from home. We have a fun day tomorrow, “National Crayon Day.” Everyone is sharing what color crayon they are and why.  Next month, I have “wiggle your toes day,” “stand up and stretch day,” and many others. I hope these small gestures will help them feel a little connected and bring a smile to their day.

Diane Quinlan, ServiceLink, Market Place Center

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BUILDING SOCIAL SOLIDARITY WITH A ZOOM WATER COOLER

In an effort to reduce the social and psychological costs associated with social distancing measures, our UCI CFEP team opted to build “social solidarity,” to stay connected during this crisis. We set up a virtual water cooler via Zoom to drop in between 11am-1pm to have lunch with each other. We start our week off with Monday morning Zoom-based TedTalk viewings and discussions. And we created an informal Padlet as a way to express gratitude and spread cheer.

Patricia Anderson, University of California, Irvine, UCI Research Park

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STARTING TEAM MEETINGS WITH ICE BREAKERS

Our team has been using the first few minutes of our weekly team meetings to share on an “ice-breaker” topic. We have shared favorite new tools, introduced our kids (fur babies included), and talked about things we just can’t live without in our new virtual workspaces. This exercise has not only been helpful in giving us ideas to make our work from home life better, but it has also helped us feel connected as a team from afar. 

Jason Goldman, Communications, Irvine Company Office 

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