Cotorreo (koh-toh-reh-oh): Mexican Spanish, colloquial term that refers to a lively and playful conversation among friends.

When I worked for a fully-remote company with a single team responsible for the e-commerce funnel, we anticipated that growing this same team would be challenging in terms of communication and processes. To address this, we decided to split the team into three groups, with some of the seniors becoming leads and continuing their work with new or existing team members.

One thing that concerned me when planning this change was the lack of communication between the new teams. Previously, we used the first 5 minutes of our daily stand-up to chat, tell jokes, share news, and catch up.

With the split, each team would have its own stand-up, and the 5 minutes for casual conversation would be lost. That’s when we came up with “The Cotorreo” - a 30-minute optional meeting at the beginning of the day, before the stand-ups, where everyone could just talk. We could chat about our weekends, watch funny videos or memes, or gossip a little. Talking about work was discouraged.

Thirty minutes may sound like a lot, but keep in mind that we were 100% remote, so we didn’t have coffee breaks, hallway chats, or bathroom fist bumps (just kidding). These 30 minutes were valuable for everyone. Sometimes we experienced awkward silences, or only a couple of teammates joined the call instead of the usual 15-20 members. But overall, it was a positive experience.

I can’t stress enough how beneficial “The Cotorreo” was for us. If you have a remote team, I highly recommend giving it a try. It brings the team together and makes the start of the day more enjoyable than just spending time on boring meetings or other work.