What is a Water Cooler Moment?
A water cooler moment is when employees run into each other in the break room. They’ll chat about anything from the latest episode of a show to their weekend plans, and this casual conversation can be a great way for teams to build rapport and bond.
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Today’s workplaces are increasingly remote, but we still need to connect with each other on a regular basis. This is why virtual water coolers have become popular — they give staff members an opportunity to engage with each other in a non-work-related manner, and this can strengthen relationships and team culture.
How to Create a Virtual Water Cooler?
The first thing you need to do when creating virtual water coolers for your team is to get them used to the space. You can do this by posting regular prompts on the virtual water cooler thread or chat that will get your staff talking about topics like getting to know you, trivia, and fun pictures or videos. This way, they’ll be more likely to use the virtual water cooler to chat with each other on a regular basis.
Depending on the structure of your company, you might want to set up a system where people can earn points for chatting with each other or helping others. This gamification technique will help your team feel more compelled to participate in the virtual water cooler and will make them feel like they belong to the community that you’re creating for them.
Another great way to encourage your team to chat is to use a team chat app. These apps are informal and allow you to have instantaneous conversations with your team, making them a good fit for remote workers who don’t want to wait for emails or video calls.
You can also try using a team chat app that includes virtual reality features. These programs let users meet up in virtual rooms with the avatars of their teammates. This is the closest experience to meeting in person, and it can be a lot more exciting than instant messaging or chatting on Zoom.
Other ways to stoke your team’s interest in the virtual water cooler are to issue challenges, play trivia, share funny photos or GIFs, and start a scavenger hunt. You could even turn the virtual water cooler into a quiz night where everyone is placed in teams and asked to answer questions about sports, films, general knowledge, etc.
How to Monitor and Improve the Virtual Water Cooler?
A vital part of making sure your virtual water cooler is effective is to monitor it on a regular basis. This will help you to determine what activities are working well and which ones aren’t. It’s also important to ask for feedback from your team members. You can do this through a poll or by asking them to share their thoughts on a dedicated Slack channel.
Keeping track of what your team likes about the virtual water cooler will ensure you have a good idea of which activities are successful and which aren’t. This can help you to further develop the water cooler and add more exciting new activities to it in the future!