In several conversations between Carpentries Core Team members, it has come up that, with all of the day to day work in community engagement, workshop operations, infrastructure, and supporting our various community segments from Members and Trainers to Maintainers and Instructors, we sometimes run short on time to (i) read up on resources that could help us in the work we do to support The Carpentries and (ii) reflect on the programs we support and how they can be improved. As members of the Core Team, we would like to reflect more on our existing workflows as well as how they can be improved so that our processes, programs, and infrastructure are in line with our core values. Sometimes we just need a day to read and reflect.
There were several ways to approach this opportunity as a team. Carpentries Core Team members suggested either (i) having the entire team take one day out of the month on the same day, (ii) taking a few hours per day over the course of one week in a month, or (iii) taking one day out of the month, staggered. Ultimately, we decided that everyone would take one day of the month on the same day to do a Reading and Reflection Day. The advantage of everyone taking the same day is that we can communicate more broadly about time away from our desks to help manage expectations around being engaged on Slack or other communication channels, except for emergencies. We will treat this day like a day off in that deadlines will be renegotiated, and there will not be any meetings or check-ins on this day.
One concern we had was how to take our reading and reflection day while also being responsive to the community in case there are questions or urgent needs communicated via our socials or email. We will be adding Out of Office messages to inform the community of this day, and given that we are a distributed team, several Core Team members plan to do a quick check at the beginning or end of their day to make sure there are no urgent matters.
To keep each other accountable, in our weekly meeting on Thursday, June 11 each Core Team member will share how they hope to spend their Reading and Reflection day, and everyone will have the opportunity to report back on Thursday, June 18 about what they were able to accomplish. This way, we can learn from one another and find opportunities to support one another in our goals for this day.
Our first monthly reading and reflection day is Friday, June 12. This is the first time we are trying this, and we hope to share what we learn in the future. For now, we are keen to hear what approaches you employ in reading and reflecting as you work. Let us know by tweeting us, @thecarpentries.