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Bringing Water Cooler Chats Online: How Remote Employees Stay Connected

Say goodbye to suits and commutes and say hello to Zoom meetings and screen sharing. Many offices have adopted remote work setups to keep employees safe from the coronavirus pandemic. But how does it affect team dynamics? For many people, co-workers are their main source of daily human interaction.

Social distancing means workplace interactions have gone digital. Many employees have found a way to overcome the boundaries of the digital screen by turning water cooler chats and friendly office banters into fun and meaningful and conversations online. Here are some ways co-workers deal with isolation.

Morning coffee breaks over Zoom

Some companies try to recreate water cooler chats by setting up a video chatroom link for workers who want to join in the morning for a quick chat over coffee. This routine helps workers start their day well. It also doesn’t matter who’s going to be in the video chat—the idea is like it mirrors the morning scenario at the pantry where anyone can come in and talk about what they watched last night or plan to do after shift.

Trivia games over Slack

Some companies hold trivia games over a Slack channel where every employee is a member. A trivia host will ask one question to the group, and workers submit guesses in a Slack thread until someone answers correctly. The host continues to ask more questions, and the competition can get fierce and fun.

Coworkers’ families get involved

While single employees are free to attend virtual meetings at any time, many working parents struggle to balance working from home and taking care of their children. In turn, many companies allow working parents to have their kids with them on video during Zoom calls. Some organizations help working parents set up chatrooms where their kids can interact with each other, giving them time to catch up on work. In other companies, working parents bond better by sharing homeschooling and child care tips.

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Online meditation sessions

Since the world is now full of uncertainties, many employees cope by performing meditation exercises. And to make their sessions more fun and collaborative, they offer virtual sessions to their colleagues. Doing 15-minute yoga with your officemates over Zoom can help you stay relaxed and focused before going back to your desk to prepare for a meeting with e-commerce SEO professionals or a client pitch.

Virtual happy hours

Going out after office hours was a usual thing before the pandemic. It was a good way to de-stress and bond with colleagues outside the office. As they now work remotely, employees turn to virtual happy hours. Sometimes, virtual happy hours are organized by the management or employee culture leads. Other times, co-workers who are also close friends catch up online after office hours over a glass of wine.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to cause self-isolation, employees try to cope by finding new ways to socialize with one another and re-introduce some normalcy into their office day or after hours. Remote working may be tough for many, but workplace interaction, albeit online, can still make their day.

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