You know those dreams where you find yourself running but not going anywhere? That’s really not so different from how you might sometimes feel about your great wellness ideas. Perhaps they get stalled out and don’t pick up the steam you’d hoped for throughout your workplace—you and your team might end up cursing silos and bottlenecks and simply head back to the drawing board. But what if I told you there was a wonderful (and caffeinated) solution?
That Café Connection
I’m not sure where the idea of Randomized Coffee Trials (RCTs) came from, but I first came across the concept working in health care for a very large employer. The idea is brilliant in its simplicity—randomly pair people up in your workplace and ask the two of them to have a coffee (or tea or treat—anything really) together to talk about whatever they like! What better way to make connections with others than a bit of informal discussion?
What You Need
- A coordinator: someone to arrange the matchmaking, which can be a good task for a wellness committee.
- A schedule: once a month is often good but you can choose a frequency that works for your workplace.
- A promotion plan: regular reminders and opportunities to sign up. The process has to be voluntary, but be sure to continually remind people they can join—not everyone is an early adopter, after all!
- An open mind: try not to prescribe topics but it may be helpful to provide a couple of conversation starters to get the discussion going. People should feel free to talk about whatever they like.
- A hot beverage: bring one or go somewhere to get your normal coffee break beverage of choice and enjoy!
Find your Rhythm
Now, your coffee trial doesn’t need to be completely random. In fact, it often makes sense to reduce the randomness. Perhaps you want to make sure that two leaders and managers get to interact with front line staff from other teams? Just create two pools and match people up by drawing one name from each pool. RCTs don’t have to be in person either. I've seen examples where people connect by phone or video conference with a fellow employee who’s in a different city—or even country.
With a full cup of inspiration, I encourage you to create your own forms of RCTs in your workplace and watch the connections come to life. And you never know—maybe you’ll find a new source of inspiration from a longtime colleague or maybe you'll get your ideas in front of people who will give you support and understanding to get your wellness initiatives moving!