Today is my favourite day of the week – it’s breakfast day! For most of the week, I work from a desk nestled cosily in my living room or from a table in one of my local coffee shops. On breakfast day, I make an extra effort and head into central London. I usually have to squeeze onto a commuter train but I don’t even mind. I think there’s something different about commuting when you don’t have to do it everyday. And at the end of it, there’s food with my friends in the Support Driven community.
If you spend time in the Support Driven slack team, you might have seen us talk about our weekly London breakfasts. If you want to sell the benefit of these to your manager, you can tell them that they’re a great opportunity for us to get together and talk about our experiences with support or share what we’ve learned. We’ve workshopped replies to difficult customer questions and offered each other advice about the best browser extensions. The real benefit to weekly breakfasts, though, is the community that we’re building together.
When I first started working remotely, I worried that I’d get lonely and forget how to interact with other people. If you talk to Conor, he’ll tell you that this is the same reason that weekly London breakfasts first started. Support breakfast or, as Conor and Dave would like us to call it, Breakfast Driven, began as a way for Conor to get out of the house and talk to other people. Being a remote worker can be lonely and even those of us with offices sometimes need to spend time in-person with other support folks.
There are no hard and fast rules for attendance – you don’t have to work remotely, you don’t have to be there every week and you don’t even need to be from London – we welcome visiting colleagues. So if you’re planning to visit the city, you can drop into the London channel (#zlocal-uk) and look to the channel topic for details of the next breakfast.
I know that the food is going to be good this week because we’re headed back to one of our regular restaurants. There are 3 or 4 places that we frequently go back to – usually if no-one has any other ideas. We know the food is good and where the plug sockets are and how long we can sit at a table before someone will politely suggest that we move on. We’ve tried a number of different restaurants, though, some to great success and some that we’d never go back to. It’s been a great way to get to know other parts of the city as people know different areas and restaurants.
If you ask Conor, he might tell you that one of best thing about our breakfasts is that they happen independently of their founders. That, while he’s in Portland this week, people are getting together for breakfast without him. This works because there’s no single person in charge of organising breakfast. Anyone can suggest a restaurant or an area of London. Anyone can organise.
When I’m describing this, you might wish for your own weekly breakfasts and wonder how we got to this point. This might sound like some kind of impossible dream. You should keep in mind that we didn’t become a community right away. There have been weeks where breakfast didn’t happen or when there were only a couple of people. It definitely took the idea a while to gain traction. Over the last year, we’ve grown from a core group of 4 to a group large enough to take over a number of tables – and that’s without everyone in attendance!
If you’d like to put together your own breakfasts, be prepared to be flexible about when they happen and to start small. You might not be able to do every week but try to make them happen on a regular basis, even if it starts off with just you and one other person. It doesn’t have to be breakfast either, just find your locals in Support Driven and find out what you have in common! I’d definitely recommend it. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to order some food and complain about the lack of huevos rancheros on the menu.
About the author, Lisa Hunt
I’m an @Moz helpster – the first to be hired outside of the U.S. and part of our small UK team. We provide tools to help you become a better marketer and I help people learn to use them.
Before moving towards support, I worked in retail as the manager of a bookshop. When not working, you can find me studying part-time for my Computer Science degree, reading as many books as possible and tweeting about both of these things @gentlethorns