Keeping Connected: Inspiration from ZRG Brazil's Virtual Happy Hour

Maintaining team cohesiveness during this period of widespread social distancing is a challenge facing organizations world-wide. ZRG’s Brazil team recently gave their video-conferencing software a workout, hosting a virtual happy hour that provided a "positive and super cool" opportunity to share personal experiences and simply have a good time together.

As work from home becomes a global phenomenon, teams around the world are facing the challenges that arise from the disruption of the typical ways we communicate and socialize at work. Firms in Brazil are no exception, and faced with quarantines in many states, ZRG Brazil’s CEO, Denys Monteiro, decided to put his video-conferencing software to work and host a virtual happy hour for his team.

At one level, the motivation for this gathering was business productivity. “My team works better when we can see each other,” Denys tells us, “and with the inability to do so, this was the next best thing.” At a deeper level, it was about sustaining morale and enjoying each other’s company as they always have. He comments, “Our team is gregarious. We need the contact, so our virtual happy hour was intended to help make the quarantine more bearable.”

Denys elaborates that "The ZRG team globally is a collaborative and inspiring group, with the Brazil team being no different. As a group I consider us family, so being able to see everyone, although virtual, was great. You can't replace the impact of someone's face has on a conversation.”

The ZRG Brazil team found that video not only allowed them to “touch base as a whole,” but to engage in a group conversation “that quickly turned into a more revealing session where we were able to share our insights into how our clients and candidates are feeling and working through this unprecedented time.” As the happy hour went on, the mix of “shop talk” and friendly banter about life created an energy reminiscent of what typically is found in ZRG’s Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro offices.

Denys tells us that his team members highlighted a new perspective on how people are using their time during this challenging period. He notes that “Candidates are more willing to talk, and all of us have found that most, if not all, have been willing to go into more detail than usual. There is no pressure to hurry and get back to their desk. This extra time has been valuable in creating a clearer picture of each and every candidate, which ultimately helps us do our job better. We are also seeing candidates reach out to us for some quality time discussions on re-evaluating their career.” That is, when people aren’t responding to a pressing business need, they are stepping back to pause and reflect. The ZRG Brazil team is doing its best to be a sounding board and to help individuals consider their next career steps.

Thus, Denys and the entire ZRG Brazil team are not just pushing through this time, but they are leveraging technology to accelerate the business, help clients and candidates, and improve team cohesiveness. “Our virtual happy hour was positive and super cool. I did make the point to the team to not waste this opportunity to get better. With the quarantine in effect, we have an obligation to be better consultants, researchers, and human beings.”

Given the success of this virtual happy hour, it is perhaps unsurprising that Denys celebrated his 50th birthday with over 100 friends and family the same way a day later.

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