Connecting Your Team with a Virtual Watercooler
Daily calls and virtual team meetings are likely filling up the calendar, but it is important to connect with your remote team outside of your professional requirements. Apart from scheduling calls and virtual coffees, it’s essential to connect with your team members in more informal ways throughout the day or week.
One of the most effective ways to do this is to create a virtual watercooler channel using whatever chat or messaging tool is available to your company. This channel serves as a casual way for colleagues to share everything from uplifting news and remote work tips to positive photos and funny gifs.
As a purely remote company, Cheer Partners has had a virtual watercooler channel for a long time now. It serves as a stress-free way for colleagues to connect and share with each other. Due to the current pandemic and widespread quarantines, we decided to expand upon our virtual water cooler with the creation of a Quarantine Survival Guide channel. This survival guide serves as a one-stop-shop for employees to support each other while sheltering in place.
It might be wise to schedule a brainstorm meeting with a group of colleagues before you launch your virtual watercooler channel, in order to ensure it becomes a space that is open to everyone. Once created, you should encourage fellow employees to share and interact with each other but don’t be afraid to lead the way in order to help get everyone involved.
As the channel grows, you can begin introducing weekly event posts to get people talking. For instance, you could take turns posing a question to the team every Tuesday, sharing a favorite song every Wednesday or recipe every Thursday. It is important to remember that the current quarantines and social distancing affect people differently, which means it is more crucial than ever to be supportive and understanding. Encourage your colleagues to participate but know that for valid reasons some may not be able to or may feel uncomfortable doing so.
Regardless of participation, the virtual watercooler serves as a channel where you can curate helpful information and resources, so make sure that any articles being shared are from accurate sources and try and keep things positive.