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International Coffee Chats - How we stay in touch as a global team during the Corona pandemic
At Netfira, we pride ourselves on creating innovative solutions that are built by people, for people. While great effort is put to placing our customers’ needs at the heart of our research and development, we are also committed to nurturing a sense of connection within our global team. Shared team activities, considered initiatives, and a dedication to professional development are always a top priority for us. Like most teams worldwide, the Covid-19 pandemic caused great disruption to the way we go about our day-to-day work. In response to this we launched the Netfira Coffee Chat to support team members to stay connected around the world despite lockdowns, working from home and isolation.
Pre Covid-19: Shared lunch and coffee breaks, an after-work beer with colleagues, Christmas and summer parties all contributed to an enjoyable work life at Netfira.
2020: The Corona pandemic changes the world. Netfira’s commitment to placing the health of its employees above all else leads to teams working from the safety of their home. Everyday office life as we know it is shifted to the virtual world.
Now: The Covid-19 pandemic continues. Social distancing and working from home have become the new normal. Companies must support employees to remain connected through this challenging and unpredictable time.
International cooperation at Netfira
Faced with the question of how to stay in touch virtually as a team despite the “new normal” in the working world, we were able to build off our experience in working as an international team. We are proud of the collaboration between our Australian and German teams and the “new normal” presented an opportunity for us to take this collaboration and communication to the next level. You can read more about this in our International Collaboration blog post.
Weekly coffee chats at Netfira
The most important consideration for smooth digital collaboration between international teams and varying time zones is the use of digital communication tools to keep in touch and hold virtual meetings. For this reason, we have launched a weekly Coffee Chat initiative. Once a week, we meet around morning tea in random groups of 3 to 4 people to chat, catch up with colleagues in other teams and share a laugh. This virtual meeting offers us a great opportunity to take a break from our daily work routine, connect with our colleagues on a personal level and learn something new. For new colleagues, the international coffee chats provide a great opportunity to get to know the Netfira team in an informal atmosphere. Australian colleagues have even shared stories of seeing snow for the first time thanks to their coffee chat.
Time and cultural differences - no problem for the Netfira team
Due to the significant time difference between Germany and Australia, the term “coffee chat” is not to be taken too literally. While coffee is indeed an important part of the break for our German team, Australian colleagues often prefer a “good night” tea in the early evening (or a well-deserved “Feierabendbier”).
Cultural differences and idiosyncrasies are a part of everyday working life for international teams. Language barriers are not a cause for concern at Netfira, although the Australian slang can present some funny pitfalls. For example, the expression “I’m fine” might seem like a straightforward response to “how are you?” However, in Australia, it is often used sarcastically when you are anything but fine which has led to some confusion from our new Australian colleagues. Thanks to modern communication tools and a commitment to developing and nurturing the Netfira Family we are able to creatively deal with the challenges that a global team in pandemic times.
We value the diversity of our team and are proud of our international corporate culture. In these challenging times, it is even more important to take short breaks to stay in touch with colleagues and exchange ideas. This also helps us to work together successfully as a global team and to put our customers at the centre of everything we do.