Water Cooler Moments Lost

Over the years, much has changed about the way we work, and even more has changed recently. Many of us are now working remotely for the first time ever–and missing a lot about the office environment. When you go into the office on a daily basis, there are so many things you take for granted. A coffee pot waiting for you when you arrive. Maybe a xerox machine (don’t miss punching in those codes). Having office mates that are a little too loud at times. I wouldn’t think I’d miss it, but I do – you know who you are. And of course, those “water cooler moments”.

meme worthy content... covid-19 and tiger king
Two of the most popular water cooler moments of 2020.

What is a “Water Cooler Moment”

The term “water cooler moment” was originally coined to describe those impromptu gatherings where information was shared around a literal water cooler. Nowadays those gatherings probably would happen around a refrigerator filled with La Croix. No matter where you are in the office these “water cooler moments” are crucial opportunities for social interactions. Sadly, this type of  social bonding has all but evaporated in this COVID-19 era.

What’s special about these “water cooler moments” is that they just happen, and aren’t necessarily planned or scheduled. You simply run into someone and start talking – and boom, your water cooler moment has happened! Often some of the best ideas or concepts come from these spontaneous interactions. 

zoom potato filter
A boss accidentally turned on a potato filter during a video conference and couldn’t figure out how to turn it off.

How do we get them back?

So, how do we get these water cooler moments back while we are sheltered in place and working from home?

Video conferencing like Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Facebook’s Workplace may come to mind. Those meetings with colleagues where your boss can’t undo the potato filter. Sure they can be fun and have moments sparked with ideas but they are scheduled. These moments often do not provide opportunity for spontaneous creativity.

Messenger apps like Slack and Microsoft Teams could also fill this void. Unfortunately the ability to convey emotion and context is lacking when limited to just text and gifs.

Voodle to the rescue.

Here’s where Voodle comes in, the app that’s bringing water cooler moments back to life. Through short video co-workers can easily capture and share moments. Out-of-the box thinking, off-the-cuff ideas, fun thoughts or random insights in an inclusive and spontaneous way. They can be created in the spur of the moment from anywhere you are (like your basement, dining room, or – if you’re really lucky – home office). Leveraging the power of video gives the message those layers of context, feeling and meaning we get at the water cooler.

What’s even better about a voodle than a water cooler is that the group of people you traditionally might share information with can grow. You can now include anyone on your team or even the entire office, sparking even more joy.

Voodle moments can be captured and shared whenever the time feels right, extending the “water cooler moment” beyond just the confines of the office. Now, those single points in time can be extended, preserved, and shared in a way that can reach a broader audience. These moments can now be available for consumption at the viewers discretion, stored in Voodle for anytime reference.

While “water cooler moments” may have disappeared, the concept doesn’t have to be lost. Voodle is here to help keep you connected to your team and to capture those fleeting moments. Let’s not take those “water cooler moments” for granted anymore!

The next level:

The old “water cooler moments” were snap moments of connection and insight, in a more casual, human setting… but they were limited. By where your office was, by geographic location, and – mostly – by luck. At Voodle, we make our own luck.

Enter our latest series: Voodle Water Cooler Moments. Watch these quick async convos from people who inspire and challenge us. We’ll keep dropping the links below as we release them with the supplemental videos as well! Give them a click to see how we’re using our own tool to intentionally build relationships and knowledge bases in a more inclusive way using short async video. Don’t rely on serendipity for the moments that matter.

Darren Murph | Head of Remote, GitLab

Darren Murph of GitLab uses short async video to give us the lowdown on what it takes to be a successful Head of Remote – and what “success” even means in that arena. He also shares tips from a lifetime of storytelling & the importance of learning how to thrive in the face of uncertainty & ambiguity.

Britt Andreatta, PhD | Former Chief Learning Officer, Lynda.com (now LinkedIn Learning)

Dr. Britt Andreatta brings her unique background in neuroscience, leadership, psychology, and learning to help teams take on the challenges of the modern work world. Using Voodle, she shares the science of video, connection at work, and psychological safety below.


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