Fun together on Zoom after work
How do we create social interaction with colleagues at a time when so much of our work is being done remotely? While many of us are now accustomed to taking meetings over Zoom, the level of everyday small talk with colleagues about matters unrelated to work has declined. Here are a few tips from KTH staff regarding how they ‘meet’ colleagues socially.
“A Zoom quiz with colleagues rounds off the working week nicely.”
Hanna Sundelin is not only KTH’s very own master of ceremonies, she is also quizmaster for her colleagues at Communications and Business Liaisons (CBL), a large number of whom occasionally get together on Zoom for a Friday quiz, competing in pairs with and against one another. A great deal of laughter generally ensues.
Hanna Sundelin explains why the quizzes are so much fun:
“The pandemic has honed all of our skills at digital meetings, which allow us to continue working as normal. But the social part is also important to a workgroup and quizzes are a good way to see one another and have some long-distance fun together.”
Successful quiz concept:
“Mix general knowledge questions with trivia, so that you have something for everyone. And given where we work, I always include one or more KTH-related clues. That may be part of a question or a whole subject in itself. I have questions about recipients of major KTH awards, KTH alumni and honorary doctors at KTH alongside questions about gardening, famous Stockholm landmarks and well-known epidemics.
Sometimes I have a specific theme for the quiz. Most recently, it was colors, with every answer having a color in its name. The quiz ended with contestants pairing a THS student union jumpsuit with the correct capter. That was a tricky one, and fun.”
What contestants have to say about the Friday quiz:
“Hanna’s quiz is a splendid way to round off the week with colleagues. It’s a great laugh and it brings out the competitive spirit,” Ewa Rönndahl.
“A quiz is the ultimate wellness activity. Laughter and skills development rolled into one,” Ellie Karlsson.
Now we run craft evenings via Zoom!
On Wednesdays, those at ABE interested in crafts used to be seen in the staff room at Teknikringen 74D to do crafts or knit together, but under the current circumstances, a new approach has been required. Nowadays the group meet up via Zoom.
Tiina Vinter , study counselling group manager and initiator of the group, is happy that it is possible to continue meet up despite the pandemic:
"It is fun to meet up on Zoom and do crafts, needlework, share tips and tricks or simply have coffee together, online. It gives more people the opportunity to participate from different environments (carpentry room, game corner, garage, construction project, garden, etc.) and we get to see different crafts and projects that our colleagues do at home! "
Sofia Jonsson , administrative coordinator at the Department of Philosophy and History, hopes that more people want to join:
"That I like to knit is really only half of the reason I joined. The craft meetings are a perfect opportunity to meet colleagues you otherwise do not meet at all or just quickly see in a meeting at most. The definition of crafts are also very broad. Some of us knit, others mends a patch, someone else has the meeting on in the background while cooking or finishing work on a PowerPoint presentation. We would even class fingersnapping as a craft. As long as you remember to set your zoom to mute!"
“Bokprat” – for book lovers in Södertälje
It is lunchtime and in a zoom room, five colleagues from Södertälje's professional support have gathered to socialize and “book talk”. The book of the day is The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes, and freely thoughts mix with tricky questions about ethical dilemmas and historical context. However, what is it like to socialize online like this?
“It works great!” says Rebecca Hansén, who started the group for her colleagues this spring. “I think the meetings are just a little more effective with less small talk, but otherwise we do exactly the same things online as IRL”.
Talk about books is of course a central part of the meetings and yes, the participants are expected to read a specific book that is drawn before each meeting; but food, drink and small talk are also important components.
In the beginning, they met after work with a glass of wine in hand for those who wanted, but now that the meetings are over lunch, it is mainly water in the glasses. On one occasion, the group gathered in an (airy) conference room and enjoyed both food and a specially designed cake in honor of the day.
For an outsider, it can seem time consuming. Meetings to book, cakes to bake, books to read, PowerPoint presentations to be created before the meetings. Rebecca, why do you do all this?
“ I want to hang out with my wonderful colleagues! In addition, I get to read books that I would not normally choose to read myself”.
Words: Josefin Backman, Ulrika Georgsson and Marianne Norén