Written by Kat Lee
When I started working for Mojo Soup pre-pandemic in October 2019, our entire team was based in Southeast Queensland and came into our Brisbane headquarters for work. Whether we commuted via car, train, scooter, bike, or walk, we all physically came to work 5 days a week. Our office culture was vibrant – we went for a daily coffee run, gathered in the kitchen for morning teas, had sprint reviews and workshops in our meeting rooms, and often had lunch together. On top of this, we went to weekly ‘beer yoga’ as a team at Howard Smith Wharves and regularly participated in various obstacle course challenges together quarterly.
With the pandemic came an abundance of change to our way of work. In the interest of our team’s safety and well-being, we immediately moved to a work from home model. We had to immediately change gears and start thinking about how we can maintain team connection online via Teams calls and activities. This tested us to think out of the box as to how we can keep our team engaged and ‘mirror’ the banter we would have in the kitchen over coffee and brownies from our favourite nearby café.
We started by introducing a daily check-in meeting at the start of every morning as an optional opportunity to hop online with your coffee or cat or both to say g’day and share what your day was looking like (work or non-work related). The scope of this meeting was purposefully open-ended to give people the chance to just chat for 15 minutes and connect as a team. We also introduced weekly Friyay games where we hopped online with the team as well as some Mojo Soup alumni guests for some healthy competition.
The answer wasn’t simple, and though we could never ‘replace’ in-person engagement, we found some clever ways to keep team morale high and stay in the loop with one another, especially during such a difficult time in the world.
Now, as we move into a hybrid work model of working from home some days and heading back into the office some days, we have the best of both worlds. We’ve maintained our online check-ins and social activities but are now also able to safely connect in person and continue with team bonding activities in the office again. And most importantly, we can return to Petite Treats for our coffee and brownie runs.
This is what modern work looks like – listening, adapting, and using lessons learned to take the best from every situation to recreate the new normal.