Remember those impromptu conversations by the office water cooler? The kind where you'd unexpectedly stumble upon a valuable tip, a fresh perspective, or a brilliant idea just by chance encounter with a colleague during lunch breaks? Well, in today's remote and hybrid work landscape, those moments of serendipity have become rarer than ever.
In comes: Donut Watercooler 🤩 With a few minutes of setup, you can now recreate the buzz and camaraderie of the traditional "watercooler", no matter where your team is located. Watercooler even goes beyond mere small talk, facilitating both professional discussions and fostering authentic connections. It can provide a unique opportunity for teams to engage in asynchronous conversations that enhance collaboration, knowledge sharing, and productivity.
What Can You Expect?
Employees can expect an opportunity for fun and engaging asynchronous conversation that helps them get to know each other better. They can expect to share laughs, opinions on certain topics, and even fun memories without the additional pressure of booking meetings.
Businesses can expect closer connections between colleagues which we know is critical for an organization's overall success and employee morale. In fact, in late 2022, we surveyed hundreds of employees to find out just how important these work friendships were.
What we found was impressive:
63% of all workers are more likely to stay at their job when they feel connected to their coworkers
65% of all workers agree that they are more collaborative in their work when they have relationships with coworkers
About Donut, 70% of current users agreed that their company culture makes it easy to meet and befriend coworkers. This was compared to 50% of non-Donut users who agreed with the same.
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.
In the left sidebar menu, click Donut Channels and select, "+ Create a Donut Channel"
Find Watercooler on the Templates tab, and click Preview > Use Template.
Create your Watercooler program by selecting the channel you'd like to use, then set your frequency, date, and time preferences in on the Program Basics tab.
Hit Save, then go to the Topics Queue tab to browse topics that will be included and add your own custom topics (tip: you can toggle off topics you'd like to exclude)
Finally, under the Access tab, you can adjust who has permission to edit the Watercooler program for your team.
Click Save when you've finished adjusting the settings
Browse and Add Watercooler Packs
If you're on a paid plan, you have access to a library of numerous topics curated by the Donut team and our partners, organized as topical packs. To browse and add Watercooler packs:
In the left sidebar menu, click All Channels > Donut channels in your workspace
Find the Watercooler channel that you'd like to manage
Click the gear icon ⚙️ to access the settings
Go to the Topics Queue tab, then click the Browse Topic Library button
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.
Remix Watercooler Topics
As you're browsing through our Watercooler packs, did you notice any topics you'd love to use, but they could use a little tweak to fit your team's needs better? Whether in your queue or the pack library, the Remix feature allows you to take a topic and customize it to your liking!
*If the topic is currently in your queue, this action will create a new custom prompt and deactivate the original topic.
Add a custom topic
If you would like to create your own topics, but don't need an entire pack, you can add individual topics to your queue by selecting the "Add Custom Topic" button on your Topics Queue tab.
Generate topics with AI
If you need help generating additional topics for your channel, our AI Watercooler topic generator will use your existing topics to generate up to 20 additional phrases that are related to the exiting list in your queue.
Make sure that you have at least 2 topics in your queue. This can be done by using the "Add Custom Topic" button and creating your content.
When you are ready, you'll select the "Generate topics" button just above your "Manage Queue" button. This can take a few minutes for the generator to complete, so be sure to stay on the page without navigating away.
You will be able to choose which topics you add to your queue and can even edit them after they have been added. This gives you the ability to curate custom content more quickly, saving you time to focus on your connections.
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.
Head to app.donut.ai/watercooler, click on the appropriate Watercooler channel.
Under "Program Basics," navigate down to the bottom of the page.
Find the section titled "Intros" + toggle this setting on.
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 want, 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 spark serendipitous, asynchronous conversations and run an Intro program in the same channel; a few of our ready-made templates (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.
Have additional questions about our Watercooler feature? Chat with us using the purple chat button on the lower right hand side and we'll get you squared away 🍩