Rainier Fuclan / Culture / June 6th, 2014

15 Minutes A Week to Build Stronger Inter-team Relationships

At work, and in our personal lives, many of us are glued to a screen to be entertained or keep in-touch with people. We still have random water-cooler conversations, but long are the days where small talk was commonplace. Now it’s a group of people staring at screens all day. Well, we’re not all about that! Yes, we do work online and in front of computer screens all day. But, we haven’t lost sight of face-to-face interactions with our coworkers.

Our new offices have embraced open floor plans to foster collaboration and teamwork across our teams.  But even with an open office space and collaborative teams, we still struggle to break out of our pods and really interact with the rest of the office.

We looked for ways to knocked down some of those barriers, and when we heard about Zurb’s Friday 15, our Tampa office knew it was an obvious fit for our culture.

Friday 15 was created by a web design agency Zurb to encourage its teams to exercise their creative muscles by collaborating on unique and interesting activities for 15 minutes each week. Even with such a short timeframe, the exercises help create relationships outside of teams and an understanding how different people think and work.

Plus, it is a chance to take a nice 15-minute break on a Friday to unwind.

Playing-card construction, not just for bored kids anymore.
Playing-card construction, not just for bored kids anymore.

The exercises are mostly simple – constructing a house of cards, building a gravity car of office supplies or playing blindfold mailman – but they’re challenging enough to require teamwork and inspire some friendly competition.

We recognized the value behind Friday 15, but we adopted it because we felt in order to do amazing things in the digital world; we needed to gain inspiration from living life (outside). Many times brilliant designers, programmers and marketers working in digital become locked in the world and slowly lose that outside insight.

Team building in style.
Team building in style.

The Agile methodologies we’ve applied across 352 require adaptability and timely action. The short activities of Friday 15 allow us to pivot ideas and thoughts in short time frames. The idea of small changes and iteration is one of the core elements of Agile.

These short activities help us keep in that mind set when we’re working with our respective clients. It also makes us think outside the box, since sometimes the normal way to doing something might take too long for the time commitment. Keeping your eye on the end goal and what the minimal viable product should be, becomes a key point at the start of the activities.

So for 352, Friday 15 is about collaboration and fun. But it also goes beyond that by giving us an opportunity to get out of our comfort zones and do fun and creative activities. We become inspired by living and doing, which reflects back on our teams’ work and performance.

  • mikewcohn

    I love it. What a great idea. I love things like this that require such a short investment. It’s hard to imagine this not having a positive payback when the investment is only 15 minutes per week. Thanks!

  • ibie

    Great read! Thanks for the Friday15 love! We enjoy doing these activities at ZURB to keep our teams sharp and on their toes! Would love to see more of your activities and if you’re ever in Campbell, CA join us for a Friday15 activity!