Lynda Gratton

How to create virtual water cooler moments

‘How to create virtual water cooler moments’, Management Today by Stephen Jones.

13th October 2020

Collaboration often depends on serendipitous office interactions that aren’t easily replicated on Zoom.

Among the biggest cultural casualties of widespread working from home has been the ‘water cooler moment’, the kind of serendipitous interaction that occurs when people bump into each other in the lift, on the way to meetings or indeed (if your office actually has one) by the water cooler.

Water cooler moments may seem like pointless chitchat, but studies show they are crucial not only for employee relationships but for corporate innovation and problem solving too.

When the coronavirus lockdown forced desk workers from the office, we turned to virtual platforms like Zoom, Teams and Slack to fill the void. But an unintended consequence of that was to make our interactions much more formal and regimented.

In this Management Today article, Lynda Gratton and Harriet Molyneaux explain how using HSM’s Collaboration Jams can help encourage employees to talk about their challenges with colleagues they otherwise would not have spoken to.