In response to studies like Microsoft’s “The Effects of Remote Work on Collaboration among Information Workers,” which documents remote workers’ increasing feelings of disconnection and its negative impact on productivity, Shindig announced the release of Watercoolr, virtual lounges for hybrid workforces.
Watercoolr allows organizations to set up their own secure 24/7 virtual meeting space where teams can gather for coffee breaks, ad hoc meetups and informal get-togethers to share in free form conversations that might have occurred in the hallways, elevator lobbies or common areas of their physical offices.
“Pre-pandemic, managers could rely on informal networks created by their physical spaces to ensure that one corporate hand generally knew what the other was doing. That can no longer be taken for granted in today’s hybrid workplace,” said Steve Gottlieb, founder and CEO.
Unlike standard video conferencing where all participate in a single conversation, the Shindig technology allows an array of private conversations to take place concurrently, with one able to view but not hear the other conversation groups. Co-workers can navigate groups popping in and out of conversations and generally engaging in the same sort of ad hoc interactions that were commonplace at the physical office.
In addition to 24/7 deployment, organizations may organize specific meet-up times for departmental or interdepartmental get-togethers. The platform allows social occasions like new hire welcomes, personal or departmental milestones, celebrations of achieving goals, and of course after work letting loose, to resume their place in the fabric of virtual/hybrid organizational life.
Watercoolr was designed to help organizations combat the increasing fragmentation, siloing of critical information, isolation of team members, and general deleterious effects of remote and hybrid work on innovation and operational efficiency. Microsoft’s study of 60,000-plus remote workers concluded “employees’ needs for informal contact and spontaneous interaction are not being met in a strictly work-from-home environment.”
The Watercoolr virtual lounge supplements traditional institutional video conferencing solutions like Zoom or Teams, with informal, less structured virtual experiences; recognizing the essential importance of informal backchannels and feedback loops to organizations’ well-being and efficient operations.
Visit here for a video showcasing Watercoolr. For more information, details on pricing or to request a demo, visit the website here.