If you're reading this, you're likely considering moving to Gather for remote work. Whether you're considering using a virtual office for some or all of your online work, using Gather offers a unique opportunity for your team to collaborate and connect online.
What follows are some general recommendations for creating and maintaining a successful virtual office.
Consider Your Staff's Tech
Gather works best for users who have hi-speed internet access. While we have a desktop version of Gather in beta, we recommend using Gather in a web browser at this time. Chrome and Firefox work best.
If your staff use a VPN, you may want to work with your IT staff and review our VPN article to ensure you won't encounter any connection issues. While being tech savvy is definitely not a requirement for using Gather, your team may be more likely to enjoy Gather if they are comfortable using digital tools.
Visit the Demo Office
If you want to see what a remote office can look like—or want to introduce the concept to your co-workers—visit our Office Demo Space. You'll get started by picking your character and choosing your video, mic, and speaker settings. Next, you'll follow a brief NPC (non-person character) walk-through to see how to move through the Space and greet your co-workers. Follow the yellow wayfinding arrow to participate in the demo. You're welcome to explore the Space and test out its features.
Plan an Event
If your team needs some convincing about why and how to use Gather, getting them to participate in an event is a great way to introduce the platform without associating it purely with the drudgery of work. While Gather makes work fun, planning a social event is a great icebreaker! You can quickly spin up a rooftop or tiki bar and plan a social, complete with our integrated Gather games. (At Gather, we have a Tetris leader board and we all fight for dominion in Draw Battle!) You could also pick an office template you like and add some games in a break room or other casual area. To jumpstart your Gather experience, we have a quick article, "4 Steps to Host Your First Gather Event."
A great way to get started with Gather is to identify a Gather Champion—a point person who will become the Gather expert and help onboard new members. (If you're reading this article right now, you may be that Gather champion!) Depending on how you choose to create your office space and assign user roles, the Gather champion may the primary Builder who modifies and manages the map. They may be a Space Owner or Moderator who manages the Space configurations. If you work with a Gather Service Partner to create the perfect custom office, the Champion could be the primary contact with the partner.
You don't have to limit the Gather Champion to just one person though! Asking a team within your organization to be a pilot group in Gather is also a wonderful entrance point to the remote work experience. With a pilot group, the team can learn the ins and outs of co-working in Gather and can make recommendations on what will work best for your organization.
Get Staff into Gather
We generally see remote work teams take one of two paths to onboard staff: (1) jumping right in or (2) spending time creating a custom Space that will meet your every need. Here are some advantages and things to consider for whichever path you choose.
Jump Right In
The first option in onboarding staff is to jump right in by picking an office template and immediately inviting your team in to experiment with it.
Tip: Starting with a social event in the office is a great way for everyone to get their feet wet. Check out 4 Steps to Host Your First Gather Event for a quick guide to making a Space and inviting people in. You can always add rooms later, or design a new office from scratch!
Once you've got a Space ready, provide the office URL or use Gather to send email invites. Then let your team experiment without constraints or instructions. The benefit of this approach is that you are welcoming innovation and exploration. Your employees may come up with surprising ways to flourish in Gather.
Create a Custom Space
The other option we see is a team taking the time to design the office first, putting thought into how the Space will need to be laid out and how it will fit the needs of your team.
Show Them the Ropes
Regardless of the path you choose, you'll likely need to show teammates how Gather works. You can do this with an introductory demo or a tour (ideally run by your Gather Champion), which can cover the basic benefits and features of working in Gather. A demo could include:
- Demonstrating the character picker and showcasing the object picker so staff get excited about how they can personalize their experience.
- Walking through the office space and point out how the areas can be used (e.g., lobby, break room, co-working spots, all-hands rooms, etc.).
- Showing how conversations with audio and video work by proximity (becoming more or less clear within 5 tiles of a user) and within private areas.
- Showcasing the Find on Map and Follow features for locating co-workers.
Set Up a Trial Period
Your team doesn't have to commit 100% to Gather immediately. (This is why Gather is free until you want to schedule a reservation or create a monthly subscription!) We've seen teams do a couple of things to test out whether Gather will work for them.
We've seen hybrid teams do "Work from Gather Wednesdays" for a month to experiment with using the platform before committing. We've also seen people do "beta weeks" on Gather, where you ask your team to commit to 1 week on Gather together.
Whatever method you choose, it's vital to gather feedback. During and after the trial period, ask staff what's working well for them, and what things they might be struggling with. It's important that staff see Gather as an opportunity to collaborate effectively, and ideally, to have fun while they're at it! We don't want your team to view it as yet another tool they have to use. If some or all of your team is struggling, feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com so we can brainstorm together.
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.