Missing chats in the office around the proverbial water cooler? Your company’s “water cooler” might have been the break room, a sitting area, a coworker’s desk, or even the hallway. These places we gathered for informal conversation are gone, and now it’s difficult to connect with coworkers outside of formal Zoom meetings and phone calls. We’ve been on this remote work odyssey for a while now, and the initial appeal is wearing off. We don’t speak for everyone, but for many, remote work was an exciting prospect in March and April. Now, people are losing their stride and settling into further uncertainty as the pandemic lingers.
We might be getting more done in a remote environment, but with this productivity comes a lack of social interaction we crave.
The Water Cooler Matters More Than You Think
The reason water cooler conversations are so important is because they’re personal, informal, and come without expectation. There’s no pressure to accomplish anything. It’s in this space that ideas flow freely. A chat about your coworker’s vacation can turn into an informal brainstorming session that leads to a breakthrough on your latest project. People share stories, experiences, and ideas naturally. Conversation fosters a sense of community, and community fosters engagement and commitment to a cause.
We sacrifice a little bit of humanity with remote work. Our in-person connection is lost and we can miss social indicators like body language, facial expressions, nods, etc. Thus, we have to work harder to make sure we communicate effectively.
While casual conversations once happened naturally, we now have to make time for them with greater intention. Because we largely use the same platform (Zoom) for meetings, virtual happy hours, one-on-one conversations, etc., there’s little differentiation between formal and informal video calls. It’s our job to do the best we can with the tools we have and create new opportunities for connection.
Reestablishing Connection: One Way to Start
A lot of workplace problems are solved by stopping by a coworker’s desk, running into someone in the hallway, or chatting with someone in the break room. These spaces allow you to bring up that IT problem you’ve been facing or that HR question you’ve been meaning to ask and get quick answers. There’s nothing quite like human-to-human communication. That’s why we designed EVAN360, a human-powered support platform that makes problem-solving simple when working from home.
You might not be able to stop by someone’s desk, but you can use EVAN360 to get the same help in minutes. EVAN360 is not a water cooler replacement, but rather a tool to help you reestablish a sense of connection among employees and start to create a new normal. EVAN360 is simple, fast, intuitive, and the only support tool of its kind.
Watch how EVAN360 can work for remote teams here.