Coffee Breaks

The purpose of the coffee break check-ins is to provide touch points throughout the day for people to connect with each other, to share concerns and provide encouragement to one another or just to stop and catch up.

Attendance is not mandatory but you should make use of them if you feel you want to connect with people.

The coffee break times can be found in the 🔒 HM General calendar.

Please be aware that Coffee Breaks is a revision of the Daily COVID Check-ins. People may want to use the space to share COVID related concerns.

There is no formal roster of people facilitating the calls, so anyone can jump in and lead the conversation.

The call is scheduled to be 15 minutes long, so there is not much time to cover a lot. Some tips:

  • a quick check-in question (like the first three listed below) works well for large groups to gauge the overall temperature.
  • try to ensure everyone has the opportunity to speak, but be aware that not everyone will want to speak
  • give people space to air how they are feeling but try not to let anyone dominate the conversation
  • try to keep it as a safe space for connecting. People should feel comfortable sharing their thoughts without any judgement.
  • if someone is visibly upset, withdrawn, or you have concerns, DM them after the call to see if they are okay. For further steps, please read the escalation section below.

Conversation starters

If the conversation needs help to get started here are some resources to help kick the conversation off.

Museum Hack’s long list of icebreaker questions: here are a couple that we’ve used before to good effect “You can have an unlimited supply of one thing for the rest of your life, what is it?” or “What would your superpower be and why?”

This is a list of example questions you can try out:

  • Can everyone post an emoji in Slack that represents how you are feeling?
  • Share one word that represents how you are feeling.
  • Can everyone give me a ? or ? in the Zoom chat to represent how you are feeling?
  • What are you feeling happy about today?
  • What worries you today?
  • What are you looking forward to today?
  • What’s your favourite thing to watch/read/listen to right now?
  • Does anyone have anything the would like to share?
  • What would you like to learn from each-other today?
  • What have you learned today?
  • What’s gone well at work today?

Here are some other lists –

Quick game anyone?

If you’re feeling adventurous, what about a quick game of Scribl? This is quick to start and easy to pick up and often has hilarious results skribbl – Free Multiplayer Drawing & Guessing Game.

Feeling competitive? Find out who is the fastest typer in the group by having a typing race on TypeRacer. Pick the race your friends option and share the custom link in Slack or the Zoom chat. You can even change it to a language other than English with some fun results!

Or if you want to exercise your word skills there’s free online Lexulous (like scrabble) over at Welcome to Lexulous – It’s the fun word game you can play online. For free! though… that could take longer than the allotted 15 mins…


If during a coffee break call, you are concerned about someone, you should follow the following process:

  1. DM the person to see if they are okay
  2. Message their manager to let them know about any concerns you have. (If you don’t know who someone’s manager is you can look in Bob)
  3. If their manager is unavailable and you have immediate concerns you should message Siobhan. If Siobhan is unavailable you should message Tom, Joe, or Noel. If none of the partners are unavailable you can message any member of the leadership team.