With so many companies working remotely, many teams have been missing "watercooler" conversations that happen naturally when in a shared space. These casual chats can help employees build stronger social connections.

Donut Watercooler can help increase friendly conversation without the need for additional video chats (which may have your team experiencing Zoom fatigue). Plus, Watercooler chats can happen asynchronously, which works well for teams collaborating across time zones!

Read on to learn how to set up a Donut Watercooler channel for your team.

How to Start a Donut Watercooler Channel

If you'd like to create a Watercooler Channel, you can do so from the Donut dashboard after logging in with your Slack credentials.

  1. In the left nav, click "Watercooler" under "Intros"

  2. Click "Create a new Watercooler channel"

  3. Select the channel you'd like to use, then set your frequency, date, and time preferences.

  4. Hit Next to go to "Topics" to browse topics that will be included and add your own custom topics (tip: you can toggle off topics you'd rather not include)

  5. Finally, under the "Access" tab you can adjust who has permissions to edit the Watercooler channel for your team

  6. Hit "Save" when you've finished adjusting settings

Browse and Add Watercooler Packs

If you’re on a paid plan, you have access to a library of countless topics curated by the Donut team and our partners, organized as topical packs. To browse and add Watercooler packs:

  1. In the left nav, click “Watercooler”

  2. Click the settings gear icon next to the channel you’d like to add topics to

  3. Click the “Topics Queue” header, then the “Packs Library” button

  4. Browse the available packs and add your favorites!

As Donut and our partners add new topics to packs, those topics will automatically be added to your Watercooler. You can rearrange and deactivate specific topics once a pack has been added.

How does it work? What do the Watercooler Topics look like?

Watercooler topics come through as messages from Donut in the channel you've selected. Once Donut posts the Watercooler topic, your team can respond and chat about the prompt in the channel together.

For example, Donut might ask your teammates to discuss their "Favorite ice cream flavor" their "happy place" or "the most beautiful place they've ever visited" to encourage friendly conversation.

Request an Intro from a Watercooler Topic

Donut's "Request an Intro" feature for Watercooler channels allows teammates to be randomly matched up 1-on-1 with someone else to chat about the topic. Read on for instructions on how to turn it on.

  1. Head to app.donut.ai/watercooler, click on the appropriate Watercooler channel.

  2. Under "Program Basics" navigate down to the bottom of the page.

  3. Find the section titled "Intros" + toggle this setting on.

  4. Hit "save" when you're finished editing settings.

When this setting is turned on, all future Watercooler topics in the channel will include a small Request an Intro button. If no one is currently waiting for an intro, the text below the button will read "Waiting for people to join."

When someone hits the button and is waiting on an intro, they will be shown an ephemeral Slack message that only they can see, letting them know Donut will connect them with a teammate once another person requests an intro;.

Other teammates will only see the text that says, "Someone is ready to meet."

Shuffle Prompts for Watercooler Channels

You can also shuffle your prompts if you don't like the default order they're in. Simply browse our different Watercooler Packs in the library, add the ones you like and shuffle the topics to mix up the order.

Once you've shuffled the prompts, please note that you won't be able to undo the shuffle to restore the previous order, but you can reshuffle as much as you like.

Add Watercooler and Intros to the Same Channel

Some teams want to both spark serendipitous, asynchronous conversations and run an Intro program in the same channel - in fact, a few of our ready-made connections programs (Selfie Contest and DEI Mini Actions) are designed to run both Intros and Watercooler at the same time.

You can add Watercooler to a public Intro channel following the same instructions at the top of this article.

Pro Tip: Want to add Watercooler and Intros to a private channel? Just click the purple chat button or email support@donut.ai and we’ll help you out.

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