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Christchurch team gets wacky in the name of team building and morale

Wednesday 15 April 2020 2:58pm

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The Christchurch Heart Institute Omics Lab has fun during its weekly team meeting.

Hearing her husband laughing up riotously from his home office was Professor Vicky Cameron’s inspiration for a ‘freaky Friday’ dress-up Zoom meeting with her Christchurch research colleagues.

“I heard David laughing out loud from his office upstairs. When I checked on him, on his computer screen was a gallery of 25 software programmers wearing funny disguises. I decided us biomedical researchers could be just as playful,’’ she says.

“The Christchurch Heart Institute Omics Lab are having a virtual morning tea together every day. I decided to liven up the monotony and isolation of working from home by making our Friday meeting “Freaky Friday”, where we all dress up.”

"I think it’s important to have moments of fun and frivolity with friends and colleagues to remind us that life still has its lighter side."

The rules are simple. Researchers can change their background, and only use props they already had at home.

“As you can see, some of the younger lab members have extensive fancy-dress supplies on hand! Others of us had to improvise with sporting equipment.”

The group is planning to repeat the dress-up every Friday, and Cameron is excited to see how inspired they will get as the lock-down progresses.

While it is a fun activity to break-up the week, the exercise also has a serious side, Cameron says.

“I was aware the lock-down could lead to people feeling isolated, especially if they are in a small social bubble. People could also feel anxious about the COVID-19 situation and uncertainty about how it will affect them and their work.

"I think it’s important to have moments of fun and frivolity with friends and colleagues to remind us that life still has its lighter side. Normally the Christchurch Heart Institute is very collaborative and the Omics lab are especially sociable, working closely together in the lab and our shared work spaces. So with replacing our usual regular social contact with virtual meetings it felt right to give the meetings a focus on shared fun.”