At Continued, fostering connectivity among our fully remote team is a top priority. One of the many ways we achieve this is through a vibrant company book club.
What began as a way to read business and customer service-oriented books as a team evolved to include a broad genre of books and a virtual space for people to connect and share their love of reading.
Ronaldo Olivas, an avid reader and co-leader of book club, says this initiative provides an important outlet and helps replace the happenstance interactions that happen organically in a brick-and-mortar office.
“Book club allows people to connect with colleagues on a personal level and find commonalities through what they’re reading,” said Olivas, VP of operations. “Offering opportunities such as book club improves and fortifies relationships in a way that positively influences our business.”
Continued's book club began after each team member was gifted a Kindle at the 2010 all-company meeting. Since then, each new team member receives a Kindle as an onboarding gift for personal use.
Book club co-leader Stevie St. John reaches out to each new hire to send them a Kindle and invite them to join the book club Slack channel as desired.
“I think it’s really fun to talk to people about books, hear what people are reading, and have conversations about the books we choose to read as a group,” said St. John, who is Continued’s senior copywriter.
“I think for a lot of us, the company book club gets books in front of us we might not have known about otherwise, and it also allows us to interact with people from different parts of the company who we may not work with regularly.”
There are currently 83 team members in book club. In addition to bonding over a shared love of reading, the club has facilitated 40 optional group book selections and discussions since its inception. These books represent a variety of genres and are available for anyone in the company to access at any time.
Here's what more of our team members have to say about book club:
“I love the ‘What Are You Reading?’ thread that we have every Friday in the book club Slack channel. I enjoy chatting with coworkers about what we're all reading and finding common ground with people I don't work with typically. I feel fortunate that so many of my coworkers have such excellent taste in books!” — April Dolan, CEU administrator, AudiologyOnline
“There are definitely colleagues that I don't have the opportunity to interact with every day that I get to interact with in the book club. It's great for understanding different perspectives, particularly in the discussions.” — Erin Hoskins, chief marketing officer
“Book club gives me the opportunity to interact with team members that I don't speak to on a regular basis, at every level of our company. Since we all work remotely, it also provides a space for casual conversations that can lead to new ideas and collaborative projects.” — Jordan Kuntz, copywriter
“I’ve picked up books I may not have read otherwise thanks to people's recommendations, reviews, and reading lists. I am currently working on a reading list that was posted in the book club Slack channel.” — Fawn Carson, senior managing editor, OccupationalTherapy.com
“The group discussions on shared books have been very helpful in gaining others' perspectives on a topic and may even alter my own perception about a book and open me up to new learning. My favorite group selection was First, Break All the Rules. That book was life-changing for me.” — Joanne Slater, director, CE administration
“The company book club is a great way to connect with coworkers on a more personal level. It has helped me get to know people a little better that I might never interact with otherwise. Working remotely, you can miss out on things like chatting with a coworker at the office, but the book club helps me feel more connected with my coworkers across the country.” — Michelle Schiro, graphic designer