Don’t Hold Your Team Meetings at the Nearest Fast Food Restaurant

We can surely do better.

Before I began working freelance as a content writer, I worked the graveyard shift in an office at a busy CBD. It was also a writing job, and our team had to crank out a set number of content pieces each day for different kinds of websites.

Generally, the work kept our brains busy (especially when clients were quite fussy about how they wanted their content to turn out) and we were pretty much buried in work throughout the entire day (well, night). Plus, starting work at around midnight and stumbling home when the morning sun has just turned hot enough to no longer be refreshing can take a toll on your mind and energy.

So after long stretches of being left to our own devices, pounding away at our keyboards and rubbing our bleary eyes after taking the nth gulp of lukewarm coffee, our team manager would occasionally gather everyone together and announce that there would be a team meeting at a nearby fast food restaurant.

Wha — ? This may seem like a welcome break to others, but I personally would not look forward to this kind of meeting. Why?

(Keep in mind that this is just my anti-social, introverted, and totally-in-need-of-a-week’s-worth-of-catch-up-sleep-like-yesterday self talking.)

It disrupts my rhythm.

I think I can speak for most other people who write for a living that you need to get into a zone to be able to produce content. It takes brain power to string together cohesive sentences that are smart, informative, witty, and in just the right tone and voice required for the piece. You need to be focused. So being dragged out of your cube (which is just right in terms of temperature and decibel levels for you to be able to work) to get your things, wait with the rest of the team for the elevator, pile into the elevator, and trudge out into the streets in the middle of the night to a fast food restaurant with blaring white lights, horrible pop music blaring from the speakers, and the heavy smell of French fry grease hanging in the air is not my idea of a way to get my work done, right and on time.

It takes forever for everyone to get their orders in.

Sometimes the team manager makes it easy for us and simply takes us to the fast food joint for just ice cream cones or just fries and sodas, making it simple and quick to get everyone seated and fed. But then there are meetings done right smack in time for lunch and everyone will have one issue or another about their food. Some brought their own packed lunch, others don’t have enough money for the unexpected lunch out, and some take forever to order their food even though they’ve been there thousands of times. And I abhor small talk while we’re in line to pay.

The food gets old real fast.

It’s easy to fall into a rut of ordering fast food when you’re busy so you won’t have to waste time on choices, but that catches up with your body, energy levels and brain power quickly. So I try to go on a no-burger, French fry and milkshake diet often to get the junk out so I can be a better, no longer zombie-like being.

Sigh. All I want is for the boss to call us into the conference room where a catering setup full of sandwiches, wraps, salads, desserts, and coffee (of course, but also some healthy juices) is ready and waiting. We can talk while digging into the healthy spread, enjoy the rare opportunity to eat and talk like calm human beings, and get back to our desks fast. Is that too much to ask?