Why my design team meetings never start on time
Late last year, the UX team at SEEK took the rare occurrence of having all our SEEK employment designers in the office at the one time as an opportunity to head out for a team offsite, and I kicked things off late, as usual. There’s a good reason though.
Getting all* our designers together in the one place at the same time is always a joyous occasion for me. The room is filled with laughter and the buzz of conversation. There’s an energy in the room that feeds my soul, and reminds me of one of the key reasons I stepped into a leadership role in the first place — people.
I’m not sure anyone in my team has realised this yet, although the cat will be out of the bag now, but I always start my team meetings just a little bit late. It’s not just because I’m disorganised (although I am frequently that). It is because I love that first few minutes when the team gets together, the babble of happy voices, the smiles, the camaraderie, that few moments where everyone forgets about work, meetings, agendas, and instead takes a moment to reconnect. Don’t get me wrong, I always have an agenda (or at least a workflow and a series of intended outcomes) for my meetings, but secretly I build in a little bit of extra time so I don’t need to rush to get started.
You see our design team at SEEK is distributed around the office, located with the various project teams in which they work. We do have a number of team rituals in place that allow us to come together for brief moments in time, but inevitably we all drift back to our own spaces at meeting’s end, not always taking the time to talk about anything other than work. These few moments in time where we do reconnect, although small, play a big part in building and maintaining the nurturing design team environment we have here at SEEK. It sets the platform and fosters a safe environment for designers to feel supported in their collaboration and critique sessions, and results in better outcomes for the humans for whom we design.
*we had all designers bar one this time, still a massive effort.