The Proverbial Water Cooler Moved Online, and It’s Better than Ever

What comes to mind when you hear the words water cooler?

If it's an image of a physical place in an office where people gather to talk about work, life, and everything in between, it might be time for a refresh.

Given all the changes work lives have been through lately, water coolers morphed into something more of a concept and moved online. But they're still a pillar of company culture, ready to quench our thirst for engagement, communication, and friendship.

Let's see why that is and how you can gather your team around a digital water cooler and still reap all the benefits.

The Allen Curve is flattening

In the world of management, things happen fast, and they change a lot.

While some concepts stand the test of time, others fall into obscurity when they don't manage to make the jump to digital. And it looks like the Allen Curve is on this list of doom.

In his 1977 book, Managing the Flow of Technology, MIT professor Thomas J. Allen coined the Allen Curve. The concept refers to the strong negative correlation between physical distance and frequency of communication.

This means that, in real life, you're more likely to chat with people who work next to you and not on other floors or in different buildings. Four times more likely, to be precise. 

However, that's not what happens when we take a collective leap forward and move online. With distributed and dispersed teams becoming the norm, we can now log into work, take meetings anywhere, and break that distance-communication correlation.

And since offices are no longer just physical, neither are water coolers. But they haven't lost their importance since random conversations matter too much to be left to chance. Let's see why that is. 

Virtual water coolers are taking over

Virtual water coolers can do all the heavy lifting of facilitating connections and kindling innovation when conversations no longer happen between people face-to-face. And figures show we need this now more than ever.

For example, a survey done by PwC on the onset of the pandemic showed that 27% of people believe their ability to be innovative has deteriorated. 40% also believe their opportunities for collaboration took a hit. Judging by a long list of benefits, the solution seems to be a good-old water cooler with a digital twist. 

Here are some of the goodies a virtual water cooler brings to a company: 

8 benefits of virtual water coolers -

So, going remote doesn't have to equate to all banter and casual conversations evaporating. On the contrary, informal interactions can find their place online and flourish if supported by the right tools.

Case in point: Mirro.  

Move the chit-chat online with Mirro

Mirro is designed to reflect and support the way work and interactions actually happen today. As a result, it's the perfect employee performance management tool to foster a sense of belonging on your team, get everyone on the same page, and encourage innovation.

The Activity feed in Mirro acts as your digital water cooler. If you keep an eye on it, you're rewarded with news about:

  • Kudos
  • Ongoing feedback
  • OKR updates
  • Job role changes
  • Work anniversaries

These are all great opportunities for you to stay in the know, start conversations with people in your company, and break barriers. Plus, this is your chance to get involved, start your own conversations, and highlight the topics you care about.

You’re getting all the benefits of IRL interactions even when most things happen remotely. 

So, if you're ready to make work so much better, it's time to get Mirro. Word out there is you'll love it. ;)  


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