A few months ago, I took the time to reflect on my favorite ways MAKERS has helped our team stay connected during COVID-19. As the office coordinator and a member of the MAKERS social committee, it’s been a pleasure to help organize virtual social events. And although I’m thankful that MAKERS continues to encourage working remotely so we can keep ourselves safe and healthy… I think we can all admit nothing surpasses socializing together in person. Unfortunately, COVID-19 cases have not showed any signs of slowing down in the United States, so we’ve got to continue protecting ourselves and finding other ways to scratch that social itch.
A few days ago, I started wondering – I know my favorite ways to stay connected, but what about the other 30 MAKERS employees I work with every day? I (virtually) sat down with a few of my team members to find out everyone’s favorite activities to stay in touch with co-workers, friends, and family. Here they are, ranked from least to most popular.
#5. Following each other on social media
Social media is a core part of many of our days. For Gen Z, it’s one of the most popular ways to communicate with friends, right after seeing friends in person. Erica Bush, urban designer, said that “following each other on social media” is one of her favorite ways to keep up with co-workers and friends. Social media can offer us a little window into the outside world, something we’re definitely in need of (especially because traveling is the No. 1 thing Erica and many other MAKERS employees are looking forward to after quarantine)!
#4. Written messages
One of the simpler ways to stay in touch is over email. Weekly emails to staff featuring a different MAKERS pet have brightened everyone’s days since quarantine started. Jaclyn McDowell, planner, told me that the “pet of the week” emails are something she looks forward to. She also enjoys “sharing about our lives” remotely. Linda Ashby, planner and designer, enjoys texting friends and family “more than ever.” I agree that writing is one of the best ways to socialize and have been staying sane by writing to my pen pals.
#3. Spending time outside
Whether it’s with co-workers or friends and family, spending time outside is a popular pastime for MAKERS employees during quarantine. Julie Bassuk, partner, enjoys going on “walks, runs, and bike rides” with her family. Linda Ashby, planner and designer, takes part in “socially distanced block parties,” where her neighbors block off their whole street to enjoy a properly spread-out event. Spending time outside has many benefits, from improving mood to increasing vitamin D levels.
#2. Video chatting
Opinions on video calls vary a lot. Some enjoy the increasingly uncommon face-to-face time with co-workers, while others find themselves suffering from Zoom Fatigue. The verdict is in for MAKERS — people love chatting with their teammates over video. Jaclyn McDowell, MAKERS’ newest planner, notes that “team video calls” are her favorite way to stay connected. In her free time, she also enjoys Facetiming her friends and family. Julie Bassuk, partner, likes to have “video check-ins” with the facilities team, and always saves some time at the beginning or end of meetings to catch up with her team.
#1. Judkins Park socially distanced cleanup event
After the beginning of quarantine, MAKERS established various committees to help make office culture and activities even better than they already are. The philanthropy committee, led by Cecilia Roussel, architect, organized a volunteer cleanup effort at Judkins Park in Seattle during the summer. Linda Ashby, planner and designer, told me this team cleanup was one of her most enjoyed events with co-workers. This socially distanced event had 29 attendees, an amazing turn out!
How are you staying connected to co-workers and family and friends?