The Check-in

Why we believe in starting and ending the day together

Every morning and evening at Civilla, we Check-in and Check-out together inside our very own Dream Cocoon. To Check-in or Check-out means our team will spend about 10 minutes together connecting as people (rather than as colleagues). The experience centers on a thought-provoking question and an invitation to every member of the team to reflect on and share an answer.

This daily ritual reflects an early goal on our team that if you’re spending time at Civilla then someone on the team knows your life story.

Sometimes the questions have a hint of work baked in them (What’s the main hurdle before you this week? How did you balance productivity and enjoyment today?) but often they’re quite a bit more personal (Who is your oldest friend, and why? What’s something you made recently that you’re proud of?).

Such questions ask us to reflect on our past, present, and future, and deepen our connection to each other and our work.

We have found that the benefits of the Check-In and Check-Out extend far beyond what we originally imagined. Beginning each day together gives us time and space to transition from our lives outside of work and focus on the day ahead. Getting to know each other in a deeper way helps us understand how to work better together and support one another. Closing the day as a team allows us to reflect on and share moments of progress, frustration, or wonder — reducing the need for more formal, time-consuming meetings during the day.

If this practice sounds like it’d be of value on your team, it’s simple to get going (and you don’t even need a dream cocoon). Feel free to adapt the practice to fit the needs of your team and the culture of your organization.

here are a few ways to get started:

Determine a time and space to host your Check-In — Perhaps the beginning of an all-hands meeting, or at the start and end of your week. Find a space where the group can sit or stand in a circle so that everyone can see each other.

Craft a reflection prompt that strikes the right tone — Do you want the group to learn something new about one another? Start the day off in a more playful way? Instill a culture of reflection? Don’t be afraid to use the internet for inspiration!

Share the intent — When it’s time for your first Check-In, ask everyone to close their computers and put away their cell phones. Then briefly explain the new ritual and why you’re excited about it. The activity begins with a single question and ends once everyone in the group has had a chance to share their reflection.

Iterate and reflect — Introducing a new ritual is like building any new habit; It takes time and diligence to become solid. Be both patient and persistent with yourself and your team. Before you know it, people won’t remember a time when you didn’t check-in.