Gather has never had a physical office. In fact, when the company was founded, only 1 of our 4 founders had met everyone else in person! Needless to say, creating and sustaining a strong remote company culture is close to our heart. What follows are some recommendations for maintaining momentum once you're using your virtual office.
Keep It Casual
Often offices begin by using Gather as a new and more engaging platform for team meetings. We love this approach, but we suggest encouraging more casual co-working hours in the Gather office, too. Our metrics show that people who engage in spontaneous conversations in the office in their first visit will be more likely to continue to use Gather. These casual interactions that reproduce real life are really where Gather shines.
When you're walking through the virtual office, it's easy to run into someone and start up a quick conversation or wave as you walk by. Another way to promote casual interaction is to set up co-working areas throughout the Space. Our co-working spots at Gather are set up as private areas to let us talk together without disturbing anyone around us. Sometimes we're working together on a project, and other times we're just companionably sharing space. Anyone can walk up and settle in for a bit, or pop in for a quick question and walk away.
Keep It Fresh
Did you know we add new items to the Object Picker all the time? Keep your Gather office fresh by regularly redecorating! You don't have to make entirely new maps to keep your Gather office engaging—here are some things we've done or seen other offices do:
- Use the lobby or create an all-seasons room that you decorate to celebrate holidays. Don't have a holiday one month? Pick one out from one of the many websites that lists daily, weekly, and monthly celebrations. (I'm all in for October as National Pizza month, myself...)
Tip: Ask your staff for holidays and celebrations in other countries that you might not be aware of!
- Theme your conference rooms! Everyone knows where to go if you say, "Team meeting in the Cyberpunk stall!" You can assign each team their own room to decorate, or you can pick a Builder to create and update the themes.
- Pick an object to hide on the map regularly. Make it a competition for whoever finds the object first!
Keep It Fun
One of the best parts of working for Gather is the team and company socials. These weekly or monthly events create an opportunity to meet new faces, learn more about each other, and just have fun together. For social gatherings (during or after office hours), you can add additional rooms or Spaces (we have a rooftop, a game room, and a speakeasy), or you can just meet in your regular office all-hands spot. Here are some socials we've had success with:
- Escape Room Party: Team up and beat our Dungeon Escape Map together. Take a drink (of water, of course) every time someone is sent back to the beginning of the map.
- Scavenger Hunt: Prepare a list of items for people to track down in their homes within a set amount of time (e.g., 5 min). You can make it a competition for who returns first with the most items, or just swap stories about the oldest item in your house or your favorite mug. You can also use our Island Scavenger Hunt and Mystery Mansion Scavenger Hunt.
- Go Kart Grand Prix: Use your Pomodoro break time to challenge your coworkers to a go kart race or plan for an ultimate grand prix, complete with themed watchlists and playlists! (Go karts are partially released to remote office Spaces, so if you don't have them in your office yet, you will before too long!)
- Tetris Tourney: Test your spatial reasoning in a Jstris (off-brand Tetris) tournament, with an opening round, semi-finals, and championships!
- Speed Gathering: Spin up our Speed Gathering template with sets of two chairs and a table (a line, square, or circle works). Everyone starts by finding an empty chair. An emcee asks a question and runs a timer for each question. When the timer is up, one set of people move to the next table (e.g., the people in the inside of the circle or square stay put while the outside people move).
Note: Run a successful social? We'd love to hear about it at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Keep It Real
It's so important to give everyone on the team regular opportunities to provide feedback and describe the things that delight or frustrate them about working remotely.
Surveys offer an opportunity for staff to express their opinions openly and a means to assess if your team is happy and productive—in your Gather Space, specifically, and in the remote work environment, generally. These check-ins can be as quick as a 1-10 rating of "I feel connected to my team" or "I am satisfied with my work from home experience," with an opportunity for comments. Also offer more in-depth temperature checks. Here are a few questions you can ask:
- Do you feel connected enough to your teammates? Why or why not?
- Is it easy to get in touch with your teammates or leaders when you need them?
- What has been the most helpful thing in transitioning to Gather (or to remote work, in general)?
- Do you need any additional training, materials, or equipment to be successful?
- What is your biggest struggle working from home?
- Are you satisfied with your work-home life balance?
- What's one thing you'd like to see our team continue?
- What's one thing you'd like to see our team change or stop?
Review the results and share findings with the team so you can brainstorm together on how to make the most of out of working remotely and using Gather.
Check out the Onboarding: Remote Work articles for all the ins and outs of how Gather works for business and how to set up and manage your virtual office. We've put together the following articles that should help you and your team thrive in Gather:
- Get Started with Remote Work in Gather: Review high-level reasons for using Gather for your team!
- Plan for Success in Your Gather Office: Run through a list of recommendations for creating and maintaining a successful virtual office.
- Build Your Office: Learn more about tips, tricks, and best practices for designing your office!
- Onboard Your Team into Gather: Prepare your employees for the new experience. Help them decorate their desk and interact with objects and coworkers. Show them around the space and schedule your first meetings.
- Maintain Momentum in Your Gather Office: Pick up some best practices for building and maintaining your company culture within your virtual office.
- Welcome Guests in Your Gather Office: Send out invites, set up virtual office hours, and create password-protect spaces as necessary.