A year ago, I was in the middle of writing my bachelor thesis about the relationship between organizational culture and digital collaboration tools. Little did I know, that a year later I would find myself at the same desk in my apartment, again laughing at jokes and pictures posted in digital workplace-threads and Microsoft Team-chats. A lot has changed in the world since then, today I’m with a different company, on different digital platforms, and at home for a not so voluntary reason. But the friendliness, creativity, and togetherness formed over jokes and digital coffee breaks are still the same. As necessity is the mother of invention, I want to highlight the positive and brighter sides the current covid 19 situation has compelled.
Artifacts and Digital fika ☕️
One of the main conclusions in my thesis was that digital platforms are artifacts containing other artifacts. Artifacts are the overt and obvious things you see when encountering a new group with an unfamiliar culture, such as furniture and office layout, dress norms, inside jokes, rituals, and mantras. Some artifacts appear both in the physical and digital world, and some only appear as a result of the digital world.
One of the mor important artifacts at Elvenite is the daily afternoon fika-break. While working from home makes it difficult to gather in the sofas at our office, it’s still no excuse to stop meeting together for a few minutes of laughter and small-talk. Instead, we’ve moved the fika onto Microsoft teams. Those who want a break brings their coffee-cup and sits down in front of the webcam at three o’clock. On the positive side, the coffee at home is better than the one from the coffee machine at our office.
Digital fika in Microsoft Teams
Cats, children and new perspectives 💻
Another result of working from home is that you get to see your colleagues in a different setting. A cat suddenly jumping up in someone’s lap, a child watching Harry Potter in the background, or just that you get to see the home of a colleague during a video-meeting. This gives a different perspective to the people we meet every day and in a way, ads another level in the friendships usually formed in other circumstances. We’ve also noticed the fun in sharing pictures of our temporary home-offices, it tells you something about your colleagues when you are invited into their homes in the form of a simple picture shared in our digital workplace. We thought it would be fun to share the pictures here with you as well!
The current situation is deeply serious and in times like this, we need to innovate to find new solutions to old problems and old solutions to new problems. May it be by moving the organizational rituals into new mediums, using your ironing board as a desk, or by organizing gaming after-works – it does not matter as long as it works. By caring and helping each other, we can go back to our offices hopefully knowing each other more fully than before.
One thing is certain, we’re all in this together and together we’ll get out of it. For now, we’ll keep on digitalizing the food and beverage industry from our homes!
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