March 29, 2021
How Losing The “Water Cooler Effect” Negatively Impacts Remote Teams
Eons ago, you’d stuff yourself inside a little metal vehicle every morning to arrive at sacred land: the office. Regardless of whether your office was drab, miniscule, or eclectic, it was a hub of connectivity for coworkers. The water cooler in particular was a vehicle for casual conversation. Or a kombucha on-tap station if your office was one of those companies. These unofficial meeting spots were where the unplanned conversations would spark. You’d get up front your desk to refill on some lavender-lime kombucha, and before you know it you’re talking to Mark about their unnecessarily detailed weekend. Sure, some conversations were trite. Yet, the water cooler remained a lax environment where coworkers could chat and let their creativity flow. It was on these grounds that tiny serendipitous events could take place and change everything. But with the physical offices now obsolete, how do you recreate these watering holes online? Dedicate a Slack channel to it? Force a Zoom “water cooler convo” happy hour? Should your company even bother trying to recreate it? Yes. Here’s why.
April 26, 2021
With No Work Commute, How Do Remote Workers Define Their Workday?
There are two types of people. Those that rise at dawn to hop on their Peloton before logging onto work, and those who slither out of bed at 8:58 AM before scurrying to their work laptop. Whatever type of person you are, what’s made this morning routine possible is the obsoletion of the commute to work. The pandemic has made nearly all workers remote, and this trend isn’t going anywhere. Even after COVID becomes a thing of the past, more than 70% of knowledge workers want a hybrid remote-office model going forward. The future of work means little to no transportation, period.Certain people celebrate this, stoked they’ll never have to sit in traffic or sit next to a particularly sweaty stranger on the bus again. They’ve gained their time back - 226 hours a year, to be exact. Yet even with these wins, there are downsides to losing the work commute. It means the lines between ‘work’ and ‘home’ begin to blur. Without the ability to switch contexts, it becomes difficult to separate home life from work life. And soon enough, people don’t know how to differentiate the two. Is waiting until we can hop into cars, trains, and buses again a viable solution? Definitely not. There are other ways to create customized and effective workdays.
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