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On Monday 18 January our colleagues took part in the Samaritans campaign Brew Monday.
The Brew Monday fundraising event was held on the third Monday in January, which is usually known as ‘Blue Monday’. The fundraising event was to encourage people to reach out to friends, family and colleagues they are not able to see at the moment for a ‘catch-up’ over a cuppa.
Making use of our technology, we set up a virtual meeting which employees could 'drop in and out of ' throughout the day, and have a chat with whoever happened to drop in at the same time. This enabled colleagues to catch-up with each other, as you would in the workplace kitche or corridor. Our colleagues have either been working from home or in branch many have not seen or talked to each other for some time. The social side of the work day has been hard to maintain during this time.
About 50 colleagues joined in, and we received some great feedback on the initiative.
“I was a little hesitant to join at first because I wasn’t sure who I would end up speaking to. I joined a group of 5 people mid-conversation – and it was lovely to recreate an office kitchen conversation but with people from across our business. It was relaxed, human, funny and offered some small relief from what can be an intense experience working through a pandemic.”
Of course it doesn’t have to be a 'Blue Monday' to do this. Now more than ever, impromptu chats in the work kitchen or corridor are what a lot of us are missing.
We are now looking into setting up a regular 'Virtual Workplace Kitchen' for colleagues to drop into when they make themselves a drink.
Sharing a cuppa and an impromptu chat is more than a drink or a fund-raising event – it's about maintaining social contact, meeting new colleagues and staying connected.
As this was a fundraising event for the Samaritans, who provide support for people who need someone to turn to at times like these, we have made a donation to their branches who provide support for residents in each of our branch town communities.