A Guide on How to Start a Virtual Water Cooler at Work

Your remote team needs a space to casually interact. It's time to start a virtual water cooler.

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By the Offsyte Team, February 9, 2023

If you've ever worked in an office, you know that the water cooler is a vital cog in the workplace machine. Of course, it doesn't have to be an actual water cooler. It can be a snack room, the coffee maker, or any space where you can usually find coworkers mingling.

These spaces are important because they offer you and your team a way to casually interact throughout the workday. When your team is entirely remote, there's no water cooler. So, you need to be creative and make one yourself. Here's a complete guide on how to start a virtual water cooler.

  1. Choose a Platform. Your team is remote, so you already use a video conferencing platform like Zoom and/or a messaging platform like Slack. Pick one platform for your virtual water cooler and let everyone on your team know about it.
  2. Invite Your Team. Once you know what platform your virtual water cooler will use, send out invites so that everyone can join. And we mean everyone! You might have some reserved team members who might not want to join, but they will when they see everyone has been invited. You want your virtual water cooler to be a safe space for everyone to hang out and share common interests, so the more the merrier.
  3. Create Topics. The easiest way to get people talking at your virtual water cooler is to give them some premade topics to kick things off. You can make separate rooms or chats for each topic. Once your team starts getting into the virtual water cooler, they will surely start adding their own. Not sure where to start? We've got you covered.

Virtual Water Cooler Topics

  • TV Shows and Movies. A space for everyone to discuss the latest episode of the best show or a movie that they just saw that was absolutely terrible.
  • Meme Moments. A virtual water cooler for those who just love memes.
  • News Break. A space for your team to announce news, either personal or work-related.
  • Pet Stop. Pet owners love to talk about their furry friends, so give them a virtual water cooler spot to share pictures and stories.
  • Kids Ahoy. Just like pet owners, parents need a space to share pictures, seek advice and relay anecdotes. Yes, this will mostly be a space to complain.
  • Music Recommendations. A virtual water cooler spot for everyone's favorite new album, song or artist.
  • Recipe Corner. Inspire your team members who love to cook with a space to share recipes.
  • Team Recognition. A virtual water cooler space for your team to celebrate work accomplishments.

Keep At It

Depending on the makeup of your team, your virtual water cooler might not take off right away. Be patient. In time, people will start sharing more. The important thing is to keep at it. Schedule regular meetups at a specific water cooler if people seem reluctant to share at first.

More to Know About Virtual Water Cooler Conversations

Some common questions people have about virtual water cooler conversations.

What is a virtual water cooler?

A virtual water cooler is simply an online space for your team to casually interact. It can be on a video platform or a chat platform, whatever works best for your colleagues.

How do you make a virtual water cooler?

You can make a virtual water cooler by setting up channels and spaces on a digital platform. Get your team talking quicker by creating premade topics.

How can virtual water cooler conversations be beneficial for teams?

Virtual water coolers are beneficial for teams because they increase communication and build bonds. The more connected your team feels, the happier they'll be.

Get Started!

Now that you've set up your virtual water cooler, it's time to find more ways to bond with your team. Check out Offsyte's many virtual events — from happy hours to arts and crafts — and book one today.

Get more team-nurturing insights

We're always looking for new ways to help you deepen relationships with your team. We'll email you the newest findings as we discover them. No spam. We promise.

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