DESIGN HQ: Keeping the Virtual Personal

*Monday Meeting (October 19,2020) Theme: Which Villain do you relate yourself to?

At Design HQ, a weekly alignment meeting takes place every Monday morning. These Monday meetings are a routine for all the members of the design team, which include the Design Principals, Design Managers and all the Designers. Each person gives their project update, raises issues that need attention, discusses their to-do list, and sometimes shares tips and watch-outs regarding their project. The meeting enables everyone to align and internally coordinate on the various projects they are handling, be it may a hotel design project, amenities project, or a showroom design project.

When the pandemic hit and everyone started working remotely, Design HQ was no exception. Luckily, as the firm already had a once or twice a week work-from-home shift system from many years ago, we were able to adapt to this new situation that was thrust upon us somewhat painlessly from a technical standpoint. Along with that, our usual face-to-face Monday meetings shifted to virtual collaboration via MS Teams and Zoom. This arrangement took a little getting used to at first since there would be over 20 people in attendance on one screen making it a bit harder to stay focused as each member gave his or her rundown. It has however enabled the team to keep each other on track while working safely from inside our homes during the quarantine.

*Monday Meeting (November 3, 2020) Theme: What’s your greatest fear in life?

Currently, we keep our Monday meetings exciting by assigning weekly themes for our virtual background. Every Monday, each person shows up with their interpretation of that week’s theme as their virtual background that a member of the team had assigned the previous Monday. We have had an array of themes such as our favorite restaurant, a throwback photo of us, favorite memory from college, scariest moment, and even our favorite cartoons and Netflix series. After each designer’s project update, they spend a few minutes talking about their background image. It provides everyone a platform to share that leads to interesting tales and unexpected discoveries about our colleagues. We continue to get to know more about each other and connect even through our screens. Who knew we had a highly enthusiastic astrologer in our midst? Or a self-proclaimed amusement park roller coaster junkie?

One of our recent highlights of our Monday meeting was our Halloween Party. With the theme of being unrecognizable, each member of the team was given a chance to get creative with their looks and character. Before the project updates started, each one tried to guess the team members’ identities. It was such an enjoyable way to bond with the team and to start the week.

As we are a team used to collaboration, virtual meetings help us interact and openly share ideas. We take inspiration from our conversations and embrace the uniqueness and individuality of each team member.

Monday morning meetings are a hefty way to start our week, but keeping them as exciting as possible definitely provides an avenue of learning while staying connected, and even discovering a hereto hidden side of a colleague’s personality.

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