Creating A Virtual Water Cooler

I hope this message finds you all staying safe, healthy, and at peace during these trying times.

At this point, you may have a love/hate relationship with Zoom. More than likely you have used Zoom (or other video-conference platforms) more in the last few weeks than at any other time in your life. Between making sure your video is on (or off when you really need it to be!), or learning to unmute yourself or others, or managing breakout rooms and screensharing, many of us have needed to adjust quickly to a new way of life.

At the same time, the organic impromptu connections we made with colleagues every day do not happen in the same way we’re used to. We’ve made the business part work, and this week’s tip can help make the people part work.

We all need to take breaks from our work, even when working from home. In the workplace, that might be the time that you go to the water cooler, bump into a colleague, and strike up a conversation you wouldn’t otherwise have. That can still happen now – we just need to set up a structure for it.

This week’s tip:

Create a virtual water cooler. Create a Zoom room (or a room in whatever video conference platform you use) and leave it open throughout work hours. Then let people know about it – you can join the room whenever you need a 10-minute break from work, and sit with water, tea, coffee, or a snack, and chat with whoever else is taking a break at the same time. You can even schedule lunches on Zoom to chat with colleagues in a more relaxed setting, just as you would in the workplace.

Try these out this week, and let us know how it goes in our Facebook group! We’d love to hear from you.

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Published by Ian Jackson

Ian Jackson is the founder of Building Bridges Leadership, which works with individuals, teams, and organizations to create authentic community in the workplace. He also writes children's fiction and teaches creative writing.

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