I'm working in a small team of developers and often it's very quiet. While that's a plus, it is sometimes a bit awkward if nobody talks for almost the whole day. It feels like you go to work, program the whole day and go home without exchanging more than two sentences with your colleagues.
The companies I worked at before had some sort of daily ritual – everyone would meet at the coffee machine or outside to smoke for 10 minutes or so and chat. I think such rituals are important to get to know your colleagues better and improve the atmosphere at work. I think it's also important to meet outside the office or at least constrain the "chat" time because it'd be very disruptive if some people would talk the whole time (all of us sit in the same room).
The problem with my current workplace is that aside from me nobody drinks coffee and we don't have any smokers either – we also somewhat lack a location to "hang out". Some of us have lunch together, but others don't live far from the office and eat at home (we also have many interns from nearby).
While those of us that have been working here for a while know each other quite well, I feel that more recently hired developers (especially interns) may feel uncomfortable at times.
We have been thinking about what we could do to inspire a little chat everyday, but were unable to come up with a good solution yet. We thought about trying some sort of "daily scrum" meetings, but that would hardly be a relaxed environment for smalltalk.
Now I know that companies like Google get very creative with such things, and I'd be interested to hear how other companies put some social interaction in their developers workday. To sum the up the above:
- Looking for a replacement of the traditional "coffee break" – an environment for developers to meet, hang out and chat about unrelated stuff
- Shoud not be obligatory (in case you're busy / don't want to) and not take too long. While I think it's important, we still got work to do. I think 10-15 minutes would be fine (once or twice a day).
- Looking for something we could do daily. Every two weeks or so all of us are invited to a local pub where we hang out, which is great, but probably not enough to "integrate" new developers. While ideas for events like this are appreciated too, I'm primarily looking for ideas on a daily or at least more regular basis.
Thanks in advance & let me know if something is unclear / not concrete enough