Check-Up Clinic: Tips from Clients

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Here are some ideas the creative advancement team at UNC School of the Arts in Winston-Salem devised and implemented in the past week to keep their team virtually connected:

  • Morning Coffee Break: 15 minutes scheduled every day from 9:45 – 10:00. It’s completely optional, but it’s a point in time that folks can log in and get answers to questions or check base. We envision other break-out meetings to be set up outside of this meeting.
  • Lunch Hour: Prior to all of this, we had a pretty strong tradition of honoring the noon – 1:00 lunch hour. Several staff members would meet in the office and have lunch together. We’ve scheduled an optional Virtual Lunch where people can log in and have lunch “together.” In addition to providing another outlet to connect/socialize, we are trying to remind folks not to expect emails or phone calls to take place during that hour.
  • Afternoon Tea: In tribute to the Brits, we are doing a 15-minute check-in from 2:45 – 3:00 each day. Again, not everyone is expected to attend all of these, but they know that this is time they can “check-in.”

And of course the work week wouldn’t be complete without a little TGIF “happy hour,” so this team has addressed that too:

  • Happy Half-Hour: This was the starting point last week and will continue on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. 

CapDev asked UNCSA to share more about this Virtual Happy Half-Hour, and here is the full report:

Format: We used Microsoft Teams, but you could easily do it on Skype or Zoom as well. 

What was nice about it: People made their own favorite beverage (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) which gave us something to share. For instance, I chose a homemade Bloody Mary for my drink of choice to coincide with giving blood that morning. 

Location: People picked their own location. Some were places inside their house, others chose to be outdoors on their back porch or in the grass. So it was fun to see glimpses of colleagues outside of work.

Bonus: We got to see everyone’s new “co-workers” (cats, dogs, spouses and children). Some of them just crossed in the background, others joined the fun. 

Any issues?: Truth be told, it’s hard to know how to end a virtual cocktail party. I think we are going to “mark” the end time so that people who need to leave can, and those that want to stay on can, so that it’s not awkward for anyone.

Benefits: Aside from the bonding (several said we should do this kind of thing more often, even after the crisis), it also serves as an important team check-in. You can use the time to see who is struggling more with the situation than others. I think it helped lessen the anxiety we were all feeling (or was that the alcohol???).

A few final thoughts from the UNCSA team:

These are in addition to the weekly 1:1 meetings between supervisors and their direct reports.

They are now developing protocols/etiquette as to what should be handled via email conversations versus phone calls vs. teleconferences. Also, what are the “rules” about timely responses, giving proper advance notice, approval processes, etc.

Big thanks to Associate Vice Chancellor for Advancement, Richard Whittington, for this fun share!

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