In a company that predominantly works using the cloud, many of us are familiar with working from home. However, in the ‘time before Covid’, home working could also include a variety of in-person meetings with clients, travelling into the office to work with our colleagues, meeting up with them, and maintaining that ‘face-time’ which is so important to our working relationships. One of the many little things that has become most apparent whilst we work in isolation is how important tiny, mundane, day-to-day interactions were – the water cooler chats whilst getting a coffee, the chance to build team spirit, the opportunity to spark new ideas by chatting to staff who are not part of your direct team.
At Arcus, we have long had a group of volunteers who make up AWESOME (Arcus Workstation Environment / Social Organisation Management Executives. In short, they are our social committee. AWESOME oversees the normal, annual social activities that most companies would recognise: the Christmas party, for instance. Not only that, but we cannot forget the Summer BBQ and party which takes place on the birthday of Arcus Global, which, with us being a Cambridge-based company, always involves punting on the river. However, AWESOME also organises regular staff games nights, charity events, sports, inter-department competitions, and even cooking tutorials.
Now that everyone is working from home, such blasé social encounters, even casual meetings by the water cooler or playing a game of 5-a-side together are not possible.
So, what does Arcus ‘social distance socialising’ actually look like?
We have found that one of the most popular weekly activities is our Wednesday lunchtime quiz. We all connect via Google Hangouts and people take it in turns to be the quizmaster. Everyone else is divided into teams of up to four, made up of family members and colleagues. With teams named everything from ‘Comfortably Dumb’ to ‘The Lockdown Lords’ and ‘Kept-in Quarrentino’, everyone is given the opportunity to use their grey cells together in a fun way. We have discovered the shortest recorded war in history, which a cast member of Dad’s Army actually served in with the Home Guard, and what sort of phobia you have if you have a fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth.
On a Friday lunchtime, individuals are welcome to join a weekly games session. Easy enough, right? But Arcus staff, despite being a software company, are notoriously keen on table-top board games and card games. Somehow, the team have managed to make remotely playing these games work seamlessly. These have included games of Codenames, Werewolf, Pictionary and Listography.
Other lunchtime activities that have worked well ad-hoc are tutorials on hobbies, life-skills and other ‘life-hacks’. So far, conference calls on ‘how to cut an onion’ and a talk on plugs and sockets have been well-received, and coming up ‘Painting Miniatures 101’ – so there really has been something for everyone.
On an evening people are welcome to pop down to their new, discord-based ‘local pub’: the Directors Arms, where they can go into different rooms to engage in conversation over a pint from home.
Of course, none of this can completely replace face to face interactions, but from our CEO Denis Kaminiskiy to members of every department, Arcus employees have been able to come together and support each other from the isolation of countrywide lockdown.
About Arcus Global
Arcus Global, formed in 2009 and based in Cambridge UK, is a market leading GovTech cloud company, delivering mission critical technology solutions that enable local authorities and other public sector organisations to transform their service delivery to citizens.
The Software as a Service division of Arcus has developed a platform based suite of Applications for Local Government. Addressing the challenge of legacy technology in Citizen Digital interaction, Planning, Building Control, Licensing, Environmental Health. Arcus has grown to over 30 customers including Folkestone & Hythe District Council, Eastleigh Borough Council and the London Borough of Southwark.
The Cloud Infrastructure Division of Arcus provides Consultancy, Managed Services and Cloud Storage to a large number of Public Sector bodies across Central Government, Local Government, the NHS and the Education sector.
Kate Warboys, Marketing Manager at Arcus Global