Virtual Water Cooler Talk

Many companies embraced employees working from home for the first time this year. Some had resisted because of productivity concerns. I think those concerns have largely been proven unfounded—but now there are new ones. I’ve personally been paying attention to how diminished socialization is affecting many people. People are social by nature, so removing human interaction can have a negative impact.

For example, working in a shared office makes possible unplanned conversations that help teams bond. Think water cooler moments or walking to lunch with a coworker. These serendipitous confabs seem unimportant, but they help people know and understand each other better. Which in turn helps team chemistry and output.

Current work-from-home tools and approaches don’t allow for chatting. Sure, you can use Slack or some other messaging platform, but it’s not the same.

I’m bullish on rethinking how we communicate. And I think that home workers missing out on informal conversations is a huge problem. Tons of companies of all sizes are looking for a way to solve it. Zoom, Slack, and their like are work-arounds. When someone builds a tool that’s a good solution to this problem, I foresee them building a large business that could change the landscape!