If your team is ready to get started—whether with a test group or the whole staff—one step you may want to take is providing some training. Inviting everyone to participate in a demo, planning a social event, or scheduling a tour of the office space are all great ways to gain buy-in for Gather.
If you're looking for some general pointers and steps to cover when onboarding teammates into Gather, keep reading! We recommend covering the following topics so everyone can learn the basics of navigation, communication, and customization in Gather.
- Creating your character
- Choosing audio and visual input
- Touring the office
- Decorating your desk
- Talking with your co-workers
- Setting your status
Creating Your Character
The first step to entering any Gather Space is customizing the character that represents you in the Space. This is a fun way for staff to show their personality, whether that means dressing up as a pirate or changing their character's clothing and accessories to match whatever they're wearing that day.
You may give staff the option of using creative names (Mr. Pirate Pants anyone?), or you may ask staff to use their real name so new employees know who's who.
Tip: It's helpful to establish a standard of using first name + last initial or first name + preferred pronouns.
Choosing A/V Input
The "Check Your Hair" screen, as we call it, shows a preview of your avatar, a preview of your video feed (for you to check your hair, or lack thereof), and options for your camera, microphone, and speaker inputs.
Note: Our most popular KnowledgeBase article is A/V Troubleshooting, so be prepared to help your staff figure this out (or send them here to the help articles!).
Tip: Set clear expectations with staff on how often or when you expect them to be on camera.
By default, Gather turns off your video and audio feed when you navigate to another window. You may ask staff to turn Auto Idle Muting off to closely replicate the physical ability to just pop over to someone's desk to see them and say hi. To control this setting and to edit the options for camera, mic, or speakers, use Ctrl + P (Cmd + P for Macs) to open the User/Space Settings.
Touring the Office
Once everyone has created their character and is in the virtual office, take them on a tour of their new digs.
Show them how to follow you: they can right-click on your character or click on your name in the Participants panel and select Follow. You can also have them follow you manually so they get the hang of using the W-A-S-D or arrow keys on the keyboard to move around. (Just be careful if you have portals to other rooms; make sure everyone is present and accounted for before proceeding onward in your tour.)
Show staff where their desks and team members are, as well as where the meeting rooms, co-working spots, and break rooms are.
Tip: Use wayfinding assets like arrows, colored/patterned rugs or furniture, signs, and labels to help staff understand the layout of your virtual office.
Decorating Your Desk
Another fun way to showcase personality is to encourage staff to decorate their desks or team areas. To give them the ability to do this, you need to either turn on Global Build in your User/Space Settings, or give your staff the Builder role.
Note: Turning on Global Build lets users add or remove objects using the Build tool in the Space. They will not be able to edit anything from the Mapmaker unless they have the Builder role.
Maybe you can't line up all 40 bobble heads like you could in your old cubicle, but you can add a plant that won't die when you forget to water it!
Tip: Hold a Best Decorated contest during staff's first week in the virtual office or during holidays.
Talking with Your Co-Workers
Perhaps the best part of Gather is the natural communication it fosters. Unlike other tools, you don't have to stop what you're doing, check your calendar against your co-workers, and figure out a time that might work best for you to meet. Instead, you just walk over to someone's desk to start a conversation, or you sit in a co-working area to instantly collaborate. Alternatively, you can hop into a private area and chat one-on-one or with your team without disturbing the work of those around you. Gather has several cool features that support effortless communication.
If you're within 5 tiles of someone, you connect to their A/V feed. As you walk closer to them, you hear and see them more clearly until you are having a regular video chat with them, just like real life. With this feature, Gather reproduces the experience of running into a co-worker in the hallway or standing together in a group waiting for the microwave in the break room.
The best offices have many well-marked private areas throughout them. Private areas allow staff to communicate only with the other people who are in the same private area with them. Therefore, if you're at your desk or in the diner at a table for two that's a private area, you can have a conversation without worrying whether you're disrupting someone else's conversation or quiet time.
You will likely cover this during your office tour, but to have a hand's free journey through the office, you can click on a co-worker and follow them. The Follow feature is especially handy when providing tours or when you want to maintain a conversation while you're moving through the Space.
Locate on Map
If you need to talk with someone and they're not at their desk, you can open the Participants panel and click on their name, then select Locate on map. A dynamic line displays, which you can follow to wherever that person is within the Space.
A quick way to say hi or respond to a comment in a conversation or meeting is to use Gather's Emotes in the Bottom Action Bar (or just use the keyboard shortcuts with the 1-6 keys).
Use bubbles to have a quick conversation with a coworker by right or double clicking on their character and selecting Start Bubble. People outside your bubble will still be able to hear you, but very softly (and with transparent video). People can join and leave bubbles freely, even across private spaces.
If staff need to get some head's down work done, they can use Quiet Mode (Ctrl/Cmd + U). With Quiet Mode on, your status light next to your name turns red, and you engage with other's A/V feeds when they are in a tile directly adjacent to you.
If someone wants to walk through a Space without disrupting other people's conversations, they can use Ghost Mode (press or hold "g"). In Ghost Mode, you can simply walk through people (this is also handy if an entrance is clogged when heading to or from a meeting).
Setting Your Status
Your team may choose to use the status feature to keep each other informed about their activities (or moods!).
To add or edit your status, click on your name in the Bottom Action Bar. The Bottom Action Menu opens, with an Add text status field. This status displays under the staff's name in the Participants panel.
Tip: Recently used statuses show in a drop-down list when you begin typing in the Add text status field.
Be prepared to help staff troubleshoot if necessary. We've created a simple Troubleshooting Checklist that lists steps to try. It links to other articles and to the glossary for further details. Remember, you can always Report a bug or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org as well!
Check out the Getting Started: 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:
- Getting Started with Gather for Remote Work: Review high-level reasons for using Gather for your team!
- Planning for Success: Run through a list of recommendations for creating and maintaining a successful virtual office.
- Building Your Office: Learn more about tips, tricks, and best practices for designing your office!
- Onboarding Your Staff: 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.
- Maintaining Momentum: Pick up some best practices for building and maintaining your company culture within your virtual office.
- Welcoming Clients: Send out invites, set up virtual office hours, and create password-protect spaces as necessary.