How to Make the Most of Your Water Cooler?
If you’re working in an office, chances are you’ve heard of the water cooler. It’s the place to go for a quick chat or to get a cup of coffee. The idea is to re-set and recharge, and it’s a great way to socialize with your coworkers. But while it’s an important function, it has been given a bad name. In fact, many managers think it takes away from productivity. So, how can you make the most of your company’s water cooler?
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One answer is to create a virtual water cooler. A virtual water cooler is a digital space that all of your team members can access. This allows everyone to take part in games and conversations without worrying about missing out. And you don’t even have to be in the same office.
Using a virtual water cooler is a great way to surface important links within your organization. You can learn about what your team members are interested in by playing trivia or other fun Slack channels. As well, your employees will feel more like they’re part of the team.
Another benefit of having a virtual water cooler is that you can do some virtual cocktail making. For example, you could host a virtual happy hour, or give your remote workers a chance to participate in a virtual cocktail-making lesson.
Another thing you can do is create a “hot take” survey. Surveys are a great way to spur conversation around the water cooler, and they can only take a few seconds to respond to.
You can also have an arts and crafts event on your virtual water cooler. There are apps for Slack that can facilitate these events automatically. Just be sure to create a good virtual onboarding process to ensure that your new hires can easily participate.
Having a water cooler isn’t just about meeting people, it’s about rubbing shoulders with ideas, projects, and news. Not only does it help your staff to connect on a personal level, it also helps to build a stronger culture. Studies have shown that companies with a culture that encourages water cooler talk increase employee engagement and retention.
While water cooler talk is often a good thing, it’s no substitute for a real-world face-to-face meeting. For this reason, it’s important to make your workplace a place where impromptu face-to-face meetings happen. Those meetings can help to build strong bonds between your staff and keep them engaged.
Another thing to do is try to encourage your team to engage in random conversations. Chance encounters can be the spark of innovation, and they are a great way to engage your Gen Z workforce. Often, these interactions can lead to a lot of fun. They can also lead to interesting solutions to problems or to new and innovative ideas.
While you can certainly do the aforementioned things, the best thing to do is to be proactive in facilitating these interactions. You can do this by creating an open and friendly environment and by being present on the communication platform.