A tool for the times: build teams at a distance

Remember conversations by the watercooler?  

In this client spotlight, we want to introduce you to a client who has a low cost, low interruption, high impact virtual watercooler alternative: trivia. 

It turns out that watercooler conversations matter when it comes to building rapport and developing relationships within an organization.  

HP developed a whole management practice called management by walking around that luminaries such as Tom Peters attributed to high levels of corporate success.  

What happens when you remove the watercooler?  

Enter self-proclaimed trivia nerd Collin Waldoch who together with his partners in business developed Watercooler Trivia.  

The idea is to engage your team in some fun banter.  It doesn’t have anything to do with work per se, but it does build trust and relationships that make work more efficient and drives better outcomes.   

This seems to be particularly important with so many of us working remotely – remote work was on the rise before COVID-19.  The pandemic has just accelerated this trend.

The challenge with remote work. 

Working remotely introduces a whole new set of issues into your business life. Management by walking around is great until miles of road, commuting time, and a mandate to separate interfere.   

Socializing can be a real challenge and remote workers can get lonely.  This is a problem for extroverts (who need the stimulation) and introverts (who need to be cajoled out of their shells).  

And this lack of social interaction can make team building very difficult. Without the conversation and the trust, teams don’t get, you don’t realize the synergy of having teams work together.  

People become islands. 

So technologies that bring people together are key.  

Zoom and similar video conferencing software have surfaced as very useful tools, but they have their limitations: a video conference can be very formal and force you into having a meeting to discuss anything.  

Watercooler offers a less formal approach.  

Their platform offers a low-cost company trivia quiz.  Once a week everyone gets the quiz, via Slack, email (and soon MS Teams).  They can answer when they want during the day and then the results show up the next day.  

There is recognition for the fastest answer, best answer, funniest answer and actually getting the most questions right.  

We’ve had fun with this at Rosenberg Chesnov, and though some of us (well, me) are lousy at trivia, the conversations that the program inspires has been valuable.  

And apparently, we are in good company: their clients include Lift, Medtronic, Accenture, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Benefits ranging from team cohesion to just having better days. 

Really, it is a low cost, low overhead fun that helps bring your team together.  

They offer a free four-week trial, no strings, so give them a try and let us know what you think.