What are your weekend plans?

By Therese Nesseth Tørlen, 29. of April, 2019

Open communication as a tool to break down barriers

Do you know what your coworkers are doing this weekend, and should you know? Do you share your day, evening, and weekend plans in your work calendar or to your colleagues? From my experience, having an open work calendar and sharing personal information can drastically improve organizational culture.

We are all just humans

Every one of my coworkers are humans in different stages of life. Some are fresh out of college, some are getting married, some are establishing a family, and others getting a dog. But how much do you actually know about your coworkers, and do you take the time to get to know them?

Going to the doctor

We openly share non-work related information on the same level as work-related information. Everything from doctor appointments, that we will run late for office, that we deliver or pick up kids in kindergarten, veterinarian appointments, and we add our sports games and events in our calendar.

You might think this is information-overload in an already hectic day. Nonetheless, it provides opportunities. Opportunities to see what is happening in my co-worker’s life and we connect on a personal level. It provides possibilities to follow up about their sports games, and asks how their kids are doing.

“I do not want to be perceived as a Mom”

We are in a tech-heavy, male-dominated industry, and we are less than 20% females as per now. For a long time, I personally took our open and transparent communication for granted.

That was until a friend of mine who is working in a similar male-dominated industry told me this.

“I do not want to share with my coworkers that I need to leave early to pick up my sick child in Kindergarten. I do not want to be perceived as “the Mom” in our team. My male colleagues are never leaving and sharing it. So if I start, I am afraid of being labeled.”

Role models

Do not take it for granted!

Being in a company where my male colleges openly share that need to leave early to pick up kids or sit with their kids in video meetings breaks down role barriers. It makes it OK to share the information, OK to leave the office, run from meetings, and have a bad day.

Getting to know your colleagues on a personal level builds interpersonal trust and emotional connections between team members. It fosters the foundation for a culture that embraces vulnerability and the fact that it is allowed to f… up. If f… ups happen, then you know that your coworker will support you.

Interpersonal trust and emotional connections, built on open and informal communication, are proven positive for creativity and innovation in a company.

So, do you know what your coworkers are doing this weekend?

What we do

  1. Open calendars by default
  2. Open communication on slack (ex. if we are sick or home with sick kids, we share it with all in open group channels. Share it with all, not only your boss)
  3. We are all different and have different personal situations. Be open on it and have respect for each others time.

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Working Groups Two's website is completely open-source and hosted on GitHub. Anyone is free to suggest changes through GitHub.

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