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Grab a drink: Avanade's First Friday Happy Hour

  • Posted on June 3, 2016

New Normal

I feel privileged to be able to work remotely. Even with that great freedom, I can at times feel isolated and separated from other people. So much so that I look forward to a package delivery just to see another face and break up my back-to-back Skype meetings. In today’s digital world, change happens fast and I find it hard to adjust to the new normal.

Recently I took on a new responsibility as the Talent Community Lead in the Central region for Infrastructure. My role began by speaking to a few of my fellow infrastructure teammates to get to know them better, and I realized quickly that with everyone’s busy schedules, this would take weeks if not months to complete. That’s when I set out to regain a sense of community and connection with my teammates.  From that, “First Friday Happy Hour” was born.

Here’s how it works. The calls (yep, we’re still on Skype!) start off with a presentation pertaining to work which phases into fun introductions of the team members on the call. Halfway through the meeting we announce, “it’s Friday afternoon Happy Hour” and all are invited to grab their favorite beverage! This is my favorite moment. People are excited to unwind and talk freely about ideas for future meetings, new movies, or what their plans are for the weekend. Our first meeting was such a blast, people stayed on the call long after just talking and joking around!

Since that first happy hour, this event has evolved. I’ve traveled to different office locations to meet with the people who are not centrally located in or near the Chicago office. The gathering starts as an in-person office meeting and transitions to an off-site Happy Hour including dinner and drinks. The next meeting/Happy Hour event will take place in Chicago but after that I hope to make it out to any location that has a cluster of a people who can all meet in person. We are bringing the digital world back to the physical world! It’s a great thing.

Our digital workplace facilitates constant and daily communication through a variety of channels – and that’s great for our business and for providing our people the flexibility they need to be successful personally. And while this style of work is becoming the new normal, at times the face-to-face personal experience is a fun and refreshing change. As in all things, it’s about balance and we’re working hard to make sure we all have it here!

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