The workplace has forever altered with the development of remote and hybrid working. We are far more accustomed to dialing in for meetings or logging on for work from the comfort of our own homes than to commuting to real sites.
Why informal gatherings should not be abandoned
And there are several advantages to this. Work-life balance is easier to achieve for employees when they can work from anywhere. When people are given the freedom to choose how, when, and where they fulfill their responsibilities, productivity increases. But what does this imply for casual gatherings? After all, much of modern office design has centered on the ‘informal workplace,’ and the world has radically evolved away from constant co-location.
Informal meetings, it may be said, are a feature of business life that hasn’t organically moved to scattered working arrangements. As a result, they are frequently disregarded by executives, which has the ability to rip the heart out of their company culture and disrupt the personal ties that have taken years to develop.
In this post, we’ll look at why informal meetings are so important to the health of your company and how to make them work in remote and hybrid work situations.
What exactly is an informal gathering?
Contrary to common opinion, most of us refer to casual meetings when we say “meeting.” An informal meeting is one that lacks the distinguishing qualities of a formal meeting, such as:
- a person who serves as the chairperson
- It is meticulously planned and monitored.
- A meeting agenda and minutes are required.
Regular 1:1s, casual catch-ups, coffee talks, the famed “water cooler conversations,” brainstorms, weekly team meetings, and manager check-ins are examples of informal encounters that are typical in every organization yet sometimes go unreported. Every organization’s lifeblood is these encounters. They are frequently where ideas are conceived, developed, and realized.
Why are informal workplace contacts so important?
In organizations, informal interactions serve a variety of essential objectives, but maybe the most crucial advantage can be summed up in one word: serendipity. Serendipity is defined as an unforeseen favorable or helpful interaction between two or more people. While this word has many applications outside of the workplace, its importance at work is immeasurable and cannot be overlooked.
Serendipity used to happen at physical workplaces at visible sites of contact between individuals, such as coffee machines, water coolers, canteens, and entry and departure points. It also happened through overheard discussions across workplace areas, which provided employees the option to pitch in, contribute, or just profit from being overheard.
What is the significance of serendipity? Well, it’s frequently how ideas are generated and advanced, as well as how strong relationships are formed between coworkers and collaborators who realize their common experiences and interests via these fortuitous meetings and form friendships that extend beyond the workplace. These deeper relationships considerably improve people’s ability to collaborate with one another and promote a culture of trust and inclusion, enhancing the employee experience and increasing job satisfaction and happiness.
In distant environments, with people geographically spread – frequently to the four corners of the world – these points of inflection do not occur.
Making informal meeting methods work for your organization
Serendipitous contacts have fallen in the age of remote and hybrid working for obvious reasons. As a result, it has become vital for distant teams to formalize informal communications.