Friends without “coffee talk”?
Sanni Lares / 24 Aug 2020
About the author:
Sanni Lares is Summer Trainee at NAPCON. She works in the UI and Usability Engineering team as a Software Engineer Trainee. Sanni studies Information Networks at Aalto University, balancing between design and programming. During summer Sanni spends most of her free time outside, and often you can find her from climbing a wall or wandering in nature!
How old is she? Maybe 25? Or 37? What does she look like? She has this meme as a profile picture — she must have a good sense of humour. Does she even live in Espoo? She might also be from Turku. Any hobbies? Or common interests? We have been working together for almost three months, not knowing the smallest detail of my workmates.
As you might have heard, people tend to come up with their best ideas during coffee breaks, queuing to the coffee machine. But what if we all work from home and aren’t allowed to use those coffee machines? What happens to coffee talk? What happens to our future great ideas?
Sure, most of us still have the option of making coffee at home. It takes a little longer than in the office, but at least we can make it just the way we want. And sure, we can organize virtual coffee breaks and drink that coffee with our co-workers. But is it the same thing? Will our ideas be as awesome as they would be in the office?
Coffee talk is quite an informal form of communication. It’s a casual moment, when it might be easier to approach people.
In order to answer that question, we need to understand the reasons behind the greatness of these so-called coffee talks. First of all, coffee talk is quite an informal form of communication. It’s a casual moment, when it might be easier to approach people. Does a virtual coffee break do the same? Nope. Sometimes coffee talk is the moment to say out loud thoughts that felt too insignificant to bring up during the meeting. Or brainstorm ideas just for fun. Finding new perspectives. Talking to different people. Or just predict the future from coffee grounds.
On Fridays, I drink my coffee with other NAPCONian summer trainees. Even though we might not come up with those awesome ideas, at least we have a chance to get to know one another.
Now I just have my daily coffee breaks at home with my boyfriend and honestly, our ideas aren’t any better than ever before. That’s okay. Our ideas are always quite awesome. Coffee wise Fridays are good days. On Fridays, I drink my coffee with other NAPCONian summer trainees. Even though we might not come up with those awesome ideas, at least we have a chance to get to know one another. And that’s enough for now.
If you have never heard of NAPCON, I’m not surprised. Neither had I, before I ended up running into them at an IT exhibition. Back then, I didn’t have any idea that NAPCON is a part of Neste. When I first heard of it, I was a little worried because the first things I could think of were gas, oil and climate change. It didn’t even come to my mind that a company related to oil could be sustainable. Nor the third most sustainable company in the world. Indeed, NAPCON leads the process industry to a safer and more sustainable future by developing new digital solutions.
So I’d say that getting to know our workmates is the biggest mission for us summer trainees. All “traditional” ways of meeting and getting to know people are out of the game thanks to Covid-19. Finding out how to get to know people without coffee breaks and casual chatting is its own topic. Learning how to build trust and effective cooperation remotely is another one. Not to mention enjoying working and learning during the summer. Quite a mission indeed.
And last but not the least, make friends.
But you know what — as awkward and slow it may be, we have an urge to get to know others. That urge helps us have the courage to approach people. Show that we care. Build effective communication and cooperation. Enjoy our work. Build trust. And last but not the least, make friends. We care, we have courage, we cooperate. As stated in Nestes values. And that’s what matters.
Who said that you need to know how old your friends are? Where they live or what hobbies they have? There’s no reason to be too hard to yourself, those things can be figured out when we finally get back to the office. And so can be those great ideas. If we happen to work at the same office, of course.