Syneos Health Life
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Syneos Health Life

Creating Moments that Matter (over coffee)

“Do you have a friend at work?” … a question from a recent workplace engagement survey. It’s something that may not seem too important. We have jobs to get work done, not to make friends — right? But, unsurprisingly to me, research shows that people who have personal relationships with coworkers are happier in their jobs and stay with the company longer.”

Dani Lavieri — a Senior Patient Engagement Specialist for Patient Recruitment — is no stranger to remote work. Over half of our Syneos Health employees are remote, and Dani and her team have cracked the code to building an engaged team culture no matter where people are physically located. She shared this thoughtful post about her remote team’s standing monthly “Coffee Breaks” where they all pour a cup of joe, turn on the webcams, and spend 30 minutes connecting outside of their usual work projects.

And now, with social distancing, we need to stay connected more than ever. Yes, we need our friends and co-workers to get the work done, but we also need time to connect as people. So, I asked Dani to share her top tips to recreate these Coffee Break moments with home-based colleagues — to pause and check-in every so often before diving back into the regular workday.

3 Tips to Make the Most of a Virtual Coffee Break

Give ’em something to talk about: Come with a topic prepared to get everyone talking. This time is short so get the conversation flowing immediately. Dani’s Patient Engagement team has “cracked up over celebrity crushes, bonded over binge-worthy TV shows, and shared our pet photos.” Pick a subject that everyone can relate to and then see how much you have in common with your colleagues.

Turn on the webcam: Yes, that means you may want to freshen up your work-from-home look that day. If you do have a webcam, take advantage and try to create as close to an in-person experience as possible. Also, knowing that you’re on camera will hold you accountable to be more present with your team instead of answering those emails behind the scenes.

Speaking of which…

Resist the urge to multitask: This is a BREAK. Show your colleagues that you prioritize them during this time and they will do the same. You wouldn’t answer emails while grabbing coffee face-to-face (I hope!) , so make the commitment to pause for a few minutes and be present for each other.

So, carve out some casual break time with your virtual teams once or twice a month to bridge the distance of remote work. As Dani put it, “with some effort and placing importance on your people, it’s easy to create an environment where personal relationships flourish and strengthen the team’s overall performance.”

Now we’d love to hear from you! What are your favorite tips to foster friendships and virtual connections with your teams?

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Meredith S

Meredith S

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