Team Rituals: Now and Then

As spontaneous connection opportunities are no longer possible our rituals have become even more significant

We’ve always placed great importance on our team rituals. We maintain a unique Inlight flavour to these rituals by being consistent with elements that work for us and allowing enough creative freedom for people to contribute, meaning they evolve over time, or new ones emerge.

We certainly didn’t intend to throw away those important moments of connection in the face of a pandemic. In fact, what we have learned, as spontaneous connection opportunities are no longer possible is that our rituals have become even more significant.

As we’ve been operating in this much-changed day-to-day reality for several months now this is a great opportunity to reflect with a slightly different perspective when, why, and how we come together as a team. How do we adapt our current rituals and what might we do differently? We’ve taken it as an opportunity to try some new things and bed down things we really care about.

**There are a number of project rituals that drive the delivery of our team’s work as well as team meetings and 1:1s. You can read more about Inlight’s methodology. Here we’re just talking about our team culture.

Launch Pad

We like to start each week together. Someone from Leadership takes the team through the priorities for the week across people, sales, and delivery, followed by an insight into something topical or an interesting idea to explore. Launch Pad provides us with a focus for the week, as well as an opportunity to connect socially, share highlights from the weekend and start the week energised.


Walking up the stairs of our Collingwood office at 9am on a Monday you’d be greeted with the team gathered around the kitchen table enjoying breakfast. A rotating roster means we were treated to some excellent variety: toasties, bakery treats, muesli cups, fruit salads, and always, always, always smashed avocado with some good bread. Those were the days.

We finish with a game that our Design Director came up with, #one-plus-one. Two categories smooshed together to create something that makes sense. It’s a nice creative break during the day and is best illustrated with some examples. See below.


The agenda of LaunchPad remains the same, but the insights that the leadership team share - on what they’re noticing in their own lives, in their neighbourhoods, and in the wider world - have encouraged reflection and contemplation and a more personal angle to how we start the week together.

#One-plus-one has gone virtual with its own Slack channel (one to be muted as it can get pretty active) and is joined by a weekly challenge, examples include a baking challenge, a gratitude challenge and the best mailbox in the neighbourhood (to be judged by Christina’s postie!).


Every fortnight we end the week with Huddle, where we celebrate the wins of the past couple of weeks. It might involve our delivery team demonstrating the work they’ve created, some new and interesting tech they’ve been playing with, or some insights they’ve picked up at a recent conference or training.

Without a doubt, the crowd favourite is Trendz with Sean, a segment that captures all things trending up and down in the team of late. There is a very loose interpretation applied to the term “trend” but things like office dogs, awkward waving, and raisin toast consumption have featured in the past. Following Trendz, and what we always end Huddle with, is Build Me Up where people drop notes into the custom ‘Build Me Up’ box calling out the excellent work our team has delivered, help they’ve received or any other noteworthy shout-outs. We pass around the cards and read them out with deliberately awkward slow caps to follow. Like many rituals, explaining them to an outsider feels odd but, especially after a hectic week, it’s a nice way to step into the weekend.


One of the important elements of Huddle is a chance to hang out together. So there’d usually be a beverage in hand, and if we’re really lucky, James, our resident bartender might make us an espresso martini. Our team is uber-competitive so Huddle’s often include a Kahoot (an online quiz), challenge the CEO in an “On your Mark” segment (yes his name is Mark), or a themed Huddle around Aus Open, Christmas, Chinese New Year, or something similar.


Our standing segments, Trendz with Sean, and Build-Me-Up remain. Crucial Huddle elements.

There was a bit of feedback and observation early into virtual Huddles that it’s either a little awkward or a tad intimidating to pipe up in a larger online session and we noticed our loudmouths (me included) dominated the air time. So we tried break-out rooms, where we’d split the team into smaller groups for one or two “break out” sessions and give them a topic to discuss in groups of between 2 to 5. “An object in your house that holds significance,” “What have you been noticing in your neighbourhood of late?” “Who, or what, are you grateful for this week?” Competitions in the break out rooms are our latest variation to this. I mentioned the team is competitive, yeah?

An admission to make: we’ve not been the best at capturing goings-on at Huddle, which while sometimes is random chatter, at other times is important company announcements and not captured anywhere. Not cool. That means part-time team members, those who are on leave, or those who have left early don’t really have a way of catching up. And, given the great material out there on distributed teams, I heard of live capturing meetings and thought we’d give it a go. And so Huddle Highlights was born. Unsure of the reception from the team a volunteer was randomly selected but when I dropped the template in our general Slack channel I didn’t anticipate the majority of the team getting involved. Granted, that first week, most of it was making fun of me, including custom gifs, but I think (??) we’d call it a success. An all-in team contribution that keeps people engaged in capturing what’s happening.

Here are a few more optional rituals people can get involved in if they so choose:

Happy Hour

Since going remote we’ve introduced an optional Happy Hour on the alternating Friday fortnight to Huddle. If we can be bothered, there’s a theme.

Plunch (pub lunch)

We like to make up words and this one is fairly self-explanatory. When we were in the office there'd always be a small contingent who would get involved. The Birmy and The Fox were favourites, and we’d sometimes venture further afield.

We’ve now dropped in a window for virtual Plunch every Friday so people can pop in - for 10 minutes or an hour - to hang out with the team and catch up.

Turns out our team can put together some pretty tasty Plunch creations.

Fauxga (“faux yoga”)

I told you we like to make up words. This one started a few years ago when we were trying to come up with ways to keep a focus on the team’s health and wellness, especially important given we’re sitting at a desk for long stretches, hunched over a computer screen. With no mats or fancy equipment, in the office, it was avant-garde stretching. Now, in iso life, this has seen two excellent changes. Firstly, the frequency has increased from about once a fortnight in the office to happening pretty much every day. And what has been so delightful is having people’s partners join and opening it up to Inlight alumni. It’s a highlight of my day.


A great Slack integration is Donut, an app that randomly connects two, sometimes three, people, to connect. When in the office, people might grab a coffee, lunch, a walk around the block or there were street art discovery walks, ice-creams, bike rides as well as actual donuts consumed.

We upped the frequency from once every three weeks to once a week. While there are plenty of opportunities to connect with people to talk work, we thought it was feasible to check in weekly to just say “hi” to another Inlighter. As people shared ideas, we found that it was a great way to encourage people to get out of the house, an accountability partner if you will. There have been walks, sharing points of interest in the neighborhood, virtual picnic dates in the park, workouts, and dog dates. It’s a great way to get to know the team and to have a sanity check.

Team Salad Tuesdays

We had about three Team Salad Tuesdays before lockdown where a few people would bring in (or buy) salad creations for the team to share. This was initially met with resistance, in favour of Pasta or Carb Tuesday but people got on board. Unsurprisingly, salad is not trending in iso life so this ritual hasn't continued remotely.

Creating rituals requires balance. It’s important to have some structure and some consistency with frequency and content that allows rituals to stick. We also want there to be enough creative freedom so it doesn’t feel rigid and will allow rituals to evolve with new ideas, as well as new rituals to emerge.

We’ve become more consistent with a number of our team rituals and have introduced new elements as well, some of which may be temporary.

This is a reminder that a culture is always changing and that, during this time of weirdness, we can evolve our culture by experimenting with the ways we connect as a team.

Being intentional and protective of the all-team sessions where information and knowledge are shared is the foundation and then building on sessions that are optional. Team rituals should not be a distraction to the work but should provide moments of joy and connection, and a reminder that we get to create work with some pretty rad humans.

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About the author
Felicity de Lang
Performance and Culture Lead
Felicity de Lang | Performance and Culture Lead

Felicity leads the search for finding great people to join the team. She is passionate about Inlight's culture and in creating an environment where people collaborate and produce quality work. That means leveraging the different perspectives and skills of our team and creating experiences that connect people’s work and interests to Inlight's purpose, generating shared meaning and value.