Joe Guerra

March 5, 2021

Coffee Time ☕️

In early 2020, my office closed due to COVID-19. We started remote work. I was a product manager on a mobile software team of 18.

For some, remote work was a first. For others, there was worry about productivity and collaboration. For everyone, it was a shift in habit. We were used to in-person conversations and chats over lunch or coffee.

We wanted to maintain our personal interactions. We wanted an option for real-time collaboration. For work purposes and for being friendly humans. We wanted to protect focused working time, limit interruptions, and have less scheduled meetings. 

So my team invented Coffee Time ☕️

Coffee Time is the standing video call for real-time collaboration, or just chatting. Like having coffee with coworkers. Sometimes work. Sometimes friendly personal stuff. Sometimes silence. Always optional.

My team uses Zoom. Whereby is a great alternative.

We schedule it 1 - 3 PM every day, after lunch. We have some people who attend every day. Some drop in for a few minutes. Some visit a couple times a week. Some never attend. And that's OK!

Sometimes we work. We collaborate, ask questions, make decisions, share code snippets, review specific designs, and troubleshoot issues.

Other times we talk about the news, politics, propaganda, and cryptocurrency. We even talk about the weather. A popular topic with remote team members across a bunch of cities and countries!  Cats, dogs, and family members make guest appearances on video.


Sometimes Coffee Time is completely silent. There could be 12 of us, or 3 people, or nobody.

No other meetings are scheduled during Coffee Time. It's blocked off on everyone's calendar. No pesky sprint ceremonies or design handoffs. No 1-1s. No official business. Some people use this time for uninterrupted work alone.

As you can see, Coffee Time is flexible and varied. It's a gentle combination of work, personal, and protected time. And yes, we drink coffee, tea, or whatever else! 

A year later, Coffee Time remains a great part of our mobile team's culture. 

Maybe your team could benefit from something like Coffee Time. There are couple ideas to brew over.  It's worked well for us. So I share with you. 

Cheers! ☕️