DAILY INSIGHT: Food for thought

By Jon Castelhano, CIO Advisor

It's Lunch Time

Do you ever notice that lunch conversation quite often is just another opportunity to talk about work stuff? It is tough sometimes to turn off the switch in the middle of the day for an hour and conversation inevitably stays on work. In my post F5, I talked about IT stress, burnout, and it being difficult to shut down at the end of the day, so should we be concerned about lunchtime?

Good Question

It is a good question, but a tough question to answer from a director's view. Often the best time to collaborate is over a good meal in a relaxing setting, so why change the conversation? A couple months ago we were discussing how to communicate the day-to-day information that is so critical for an IT department. Each day something new is discovered that can improve the end user's experience, but often we are busy and don't find the time to e-mail, blog, or just talk about these things.

Make It A Date
A longtime veteran of our IT department, Lonnie Trotter, suggested that we get together once a week at lunch time for an informal lunch gathering to chat about day-to-day happenings. Everyone can bring their lunch of choice, no formal agenda, and share anything that they feel is important for others to know. Since it is a "working" lunch, that hour is taken off the end of the day and another positive layer of communication has been added to the week.

Keep It Simple

You are probably thinking to yourself, so what. Working lunches, morning coffee, there are a number of ways to informally gather staffs together to chat, but how often do those go by the wayside when things get busy? The difficult task is finding the time and staying consistent with promoting positive collaboration within teams. Keeping it simple and not creating a multilayer approach to most situations usually yields the best results, in my experience. If it takes rocket science to figure out how to communicate with one another, there may be other issues.

So, how does your team find time to stay in touch with the valuable day-to-day information that is critical for an IT department? The more collaborating the better, so please share.

Jon Castelhano is director of technology for Apache Junction USD in Arizona. This blog is cross posted on his blog, This and That.