New York, NY. – March 24, 2022 – In response to studies like Microsoft’s “The Effects of Remote Work on Collaboration among Information Workers,” which documents remote workers’ increasing feelings of disconnection and its negative impact on productivity, Shindig announced the release of Watercoolr, virtual lounges for hybrid workforces.
Watercoolr allows organizations to set up their own secure 24/7 virtual meeting space where teams can gather for coffee breaks, ad hoc meetups, and informal get-togethers to share in free form conversations that might otherwise previously have occurred in the hallways, elevator lobbies or common areas of their physical offices.
“Pre-pandemic, managers could rely on informal networks created by their physical spaces to ensure that one corporate hand generally knew what the other was doing. That can no longer be taken for granted in today’s hybrid workplace,” said Steve Gottlieb, founder and CEO.
Unlike standard video conferencing where all participate in a single conversation, the Shindig technology uniquely allows an array of private conversations to go on concurrently, with one able to view but not hear the other conversation groups. Co-workers can easily navigate groups, popping in and out of conversations and generally engaging in the same sort of ad hoc interactions that were commonplace at the physical office.
In addition to 24/7 deployment, organizations may also organize specific meet-up times for departmental or interdepartmental get-togethers. The platform allows social occasions like new hire welcomes, personal or departmental milestones, celebrations of achieving goals, and of course after work letting loose, to resume their place in the fabric of virtual/hybrid organizational life.
“Video conferencing is an integral part of many people’s lives, and companies rushed to fill the need by relying on slight and simple variations of a product. This has created a host of providers with little market differentiation and persistent flaws,” said Rob Enderle, President and Principal Analyst with the Enderle Group. “Watercoolr has solved a key problem that no other company has addressed, and that is how to bring casual conversations and creativity back into the workplace, replicating the in-person experience in the closest way possible.”
Watercoolr was designed to help organizations combat the increasing fragmentation, siloing of critical information, isolation of team members, and general deleterious effects of remote and hybrid work on innovation and operational efficiency. Microsoft’s study of 60,000-plus remote workers concluded “employees’ needs for informal contact and spontaneous interaction are not being met in a strictly work-from-home environment.”
The Watercoolr virtual lounge supplements traditional institutional video conferencing solutions like Zoom or Teams, with informal, less structured virtual experiences; recognizing the essential importance of informal backchannels and feedback loops to organizations’ well-being and efficient operations.
Gottlieb added, “Watercoolr was devised because of key clients sharing with us their realization that those informal, unstructured communications were essential to their organization’s performance and their demands for a solution that would foster such interactions amongst the hybrid workforce.”
Watercoolr is a 24/7 virtual space where coworkers can check-in, strike up a conversation, or alternatively, organize specific meet-up times for departmental or interdepartmental get-togethers. Watercoolr is built upon the state of the virtual events technology pioneered by Shindig, known for their work with global companies such as Amazon, Hearst and Salesforce. High-profile events include Rihanna’s Fenty Brand Virtual Pride Celebration, Accenture Global Meetings and the Connecticut State Democratic Convention. Shindig’s proprietary event tech is underpinned by 28 US Patents for such features as “Work the Room” Networking, Virtual Backstage, TownHall Open Podiums, and Virtual Lobby. It operates with SOC 2 Type II security.