Engaging Our Global Team Part 2: COVID Connections

With half our team based in the Chicago area and half global, engaging our remote team has always been top of mind. In late December of last year, we shared a blog about our white elephant gift exchange across eight countries as an example of how we’re working to keep everyone engaged, connected and having fun – whether from our headquarters or from home offices across the globe.

Multilingual Connections engaging global team

Fast forward a few months, and our whole team has now shifted to remote – and our engagement needs are even greater today. There is no “mother ship” right now. There’s no opportunity to overhear a conversation, whether work-related or personal, and jump in to share ideas and experiences. We’re working with kids in the background, with spouses sharing workspaces, with slower internet connections, and even more importantly, with a tremendous amount of stress and uncertainty. We have to be even more intentional about supporting our team and keeping everyone engaged, motivated and connected – both to the company and to each other. Social distancing, we realize, is best approached as physical distancing, or “a recognition that what we need is greater physical distance between people, not great social distance.” Now more than ever, those social connections matter. Because we’re all stuck at home, our life outside of work has changed dramatically – so work plays a more active role in social connections.

To that end, a few things that have been successful for us at Multilingual Connections:

Small Group Huddles

Small Group Huddles

For years, we held all-team huddles to check in as a group on a variety of informal topics, from weekend plans and favorite comfort foods to favorite books and movies. As our team has grown in size and in location, we’ve broken our huddles up into smaller groups to ensure a more comfortable conversational flow and meet via video for twenty minutes. 

Virtual Coffee Breaks

As our company grew beyond our office walls, our CEO and COO started doing virtual coffee breaks with team members, and we’ve now encouraged the whole team to take part. Since we can’t easily grab a coffee together or have an informal chat in the cafe, our team members schedule periodic virtual coffees with each other to catch up on life outside of work. 

Water Cooler Chats


We have a variety of rooms in Google Chat to discuss work-related content, but we’ve developed themed chat rooms to discuss employee-driven topics and boost morale. The most active room is our virtual “water cooler”, where we share everything from cat memes to news articles to pictures of our daily lives – and most recently, a video of our COO slowly flipping over the handlebars of his bike while out on a trail (just a bruised rib and wrist…and a good lesson of what not to do).

Formal Fridays

Formal Friday at Multilingual Connections

From many people, working from home day after day means alternating between night time pajamas and daytime pajamas – or putting on a clean shirt to be video-ready. We’ve always been a casual company, so aside from client meetings, we rarely dress up. However, after weeks of questionable hygiene and abysmal fashion, we decided to hold a Formal Friday competition. The team was encouraged to dress up, submit photos, and vote on categories including Best Tux, Best Shoes/Slippers/Socks, Most Ready to Go Out on the Town, and others. Winners were announced during an afternoon happy hour and were charged with coordinating the next Friday’s events. Since then, we’ve had a second Formal Friday, followed by Fitness Friday, and we’re looking forward to Future Friday!

These are challenging times, and we’re fortunate that our team was able to transition to fully remote so quickly and seamlessly to support our clients’ translation and localization needs. However, working from home and working during a pandemic are not the same. The additional stress, family obligations and general uncertainties presented by COVID-19 make things much more complex, and it’s essential to keep this complexity in mind when thinking about your team’s performance and engagement – and how you can support them through their unique experience of this crisis and beyond. 

Oh, and don’t forget to wear pants on your video calls!

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Elizabeth Dumitrescu: Leading Your Team Remotely

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Multilingual Connections Celebrates Its 15th Anniversary

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Silver Linings in Times of Coronavirus

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Twenty years ago, as I was pursuing my doctorate in linguistic anthropology, I spent a year doing research in Israel among speakers of Judeo-Spanish. As part of my research, once a week I would travel from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, where I would visit with elderly Greek Holocaust survivors – all native speakers of the …

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Creating Authentic Connections with Your Audience

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With conferences and networking events canceled this spring, I’ll miss chatting with folks about creating meaningful connections with their global audiences. And now, as businesses everywhere are trying to figure out how to work in an increasingly online world, creating those connections is essential – whether you’re doing international research or trying to connect with …

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“Translation is About Bridging the Gap”

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Multilingual Connections works with hundreds of talented linguists across the globe who are experts at translation, transcription, subtitling and more. Linguistic accuracy and cultural relevance for translation often require our linguists to do extra research to better understand the full context of the source text. To reward the linguists who go above and beyond, we …

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Mark Bishop: Leading With Values

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Our Clients

Your Success is Our Success

We succeed when we help you understand, engage and grow your audience – and accomplish your business goals.

Relationships, Not Just Transactions

Sometimes you’re going to want to pick up the phone with questions, schedule a video chat or meet in person, and we welcome it!

Let us be your trusted partner

We believe in building long-term partnerships and finding the right solutions for your needs. We value our clients as partners and appreciate the trust they place in us.


Office Location

Multilingual Connections
847 Chicago Ave Ste 250
Evanston, IL 60202, USA

Tel: +1-877-292-5264
Tel: +1-773-292-5500
Email: contact@mlconnections.com

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