Wellbeing Mentorship Diversity & Inclusion

Café Stop: the new online meeting place

The idea for Café Stop came about by listening to our employees, as is the case with so many Enterprise ideas.

Friendships at work was the topic of discussion during a listening session with the newly created central Marketing Talent Acquisition Team.

We discussed how limited personal contact with other colleagues who work remotely or from home can make it more difficult to form essential workplace friendships.

Could we introduce a similar programme to another organisation, where employees had monthly online video calls to chat with a colleague they had never met before?

We engaged with employees to see to what extent people were missing those social conversations with others outside of their immediate teams: ‘passing the time of day’ interactions which people had in pre-Covid office life while heating up their lunch or getting a drink of water.

The feedback was that people were missing them a lot - and that was how Café Stop was born.

Café Stop groups colleagues who would not usually interact under normal work at home circumstances for scheduled conversations so they can get to know each other on Teams.

"We engaged with employees to see to what extent people were missing conversations outside of their immediate teams"

Café Stop may pair an accountant with an engineer, an HR partner with a sales manager, or a remarketer with a talent acquisition specialist.

In February we launched the first Café Stop sessions on Time To Talk Day with 102 people signed up to the initiative.

The feedback was really positive. The initiative has since grown month on month and we now have more than 200 participants.

Most Café Stop regulars said they joined in after hearing great things from their team-mates.
Each month there is a different draw to create new random pairings and we continue to open up the scheme to new sign ups each month too.

"The initiative has given us the opportunity to build relationships at all levels using technology to remove physical barriers"

It would be great to see even more people join even now we’re getting back to the office – perhaps some of the meetings could even take place face to face!

Guy Brooks, Remarketing National Sales Manager, said: “Café Stop has been great for my department and for me. It has really made us feel part of the head office team and we have enjoyed the warm welcome we have received as a newly centralised team.

"The initiative has given us the opportunity to network with our diverse peer group and enabled us to build relationships at all levels using technology to remove physical barriers. We are all looking forward to the next pairs, trios or quads!"

If you are interested in joining Café Stop, please reach out to Emma Grant on Teams.

by Emma Grant

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