Distance Bias in the Virtual Workplace
Water cooler conversations are informal, organic conversations that occur between coworkers in the workplace. These conversations may take place in your office kitchen, with the person who sits across from you, the person you pass in the hall and maybe even at your office water cooler! So what happens when our workforce is forced to work remote? In today’s Thrive, we will discuss the Virtual Water Cooler and how it can enhance the virtual culture in your team or organization!
Water cooler chats have multiple benefits, especially in trying times like now. The chats can improve collaboration and productivity among employees, promote healthier staff and bring people together.
Use the tips below to enhance your organization’s virtual water cooler!
Coffee Dates – Create some time at the start of your remote work day to drink coffee or tea over video with coworkers, just like you would if you were in the office. At Evans, we host a company-wide “Coffee and Chat” on Friday mornings.
Create a Virtual Water Cooler Channel – At Evans Consulting, we have created a Channel on our company’s Microsoft Teams page to share and talk about non work-related items. The conversations include funny videos employees came across online, wellness tips and tricks, and fun conversations about which employee has the most creative Zoom backgrounds!
Regular Check Ins – Since it is easier to feel disconnected while working remotely, scheduling frequent check ins with your team and employees can help them feel connected. Leave time at the beginning or end of your check in to see how employees are doing from a social and wellness perspective. At Evans, some employees leave 10 minutes at the end of a meeting to stretch and prepare for the next, as if they would in person!
Virtual Happy Hours – Host a virtual happy hour at the end of the day to check in with coworkers you may not interact with on a daily basis, and play a game of Heads Up! At Evans, we typically have a happy hour at the end of our monthly staff meetings. Since we are all working remotely now, our virtual happy hours have more attendees than the ones in person!
The new normal is evolving and so should we. While change can be difficult, it is important to stay connected, and to continue to create connections in our digital world! By attending a coffee chat or a happy hour and by communicating with those in similar situations, we can bring about a sense of normalcy and routine to our new reality!
Apply the Five!
Now that you’ve got some tools in your toolkit, take the quiz below to learn more about your communication skills!
Once you have your results, use the tips in this Thrive to enhance your virtual communication skills, look for areas of improvement and plan a fun check in or coffee chat with coworkers or your team!