A couple of years back, the transformation to a new remote work model started and was catalyzed by a global pandemic in November 2019, when the first confirmed SARS-CoV-2 virus was noted in Wuhan, Hubei, China. Since that day, everything around the world changed. Our approach to work has changed dramatically, we have been isolated by governments and started to live and work from our homes. This was a shock and a big test for ourselves if we would be able to live like that.
For the last 3 years, I was observing how every organization I know tried to adapt to new realities with more or less success. Every activity we all tried to move into digital word, every meeting, every team collaboration, training, and even simple coffee time.
Now I can say that my team and I passed this exam. However, for me, it was still not what I got used to when working with people face to face.
In Elite Crew, we care about our good relations, which is key to success. By being available to each other and hard work, we build trust. All of you agree with me that it is easy to say, however very difficult to make it work!
The end of 2022 was breaking in this domain for us, as one of our interns, Kyle, during his research found Gather.
Gather is a metaverse. It is a digital space to improve your teamwork. It rewrites human connection and interaction from scratch and pushes it to a new, unknown level.
Gather in human words is a Digital Office for your organization, and we decided to give it a try as a pilot in Elite Crew!
This is our all-day-long open digital space where every team member shows up in the morning. At a glance, everyone sees each other and can simply come to the second person to have a chat. The beauty of this tool is the experience of being available to your coworkers very similar to one in the real office, and the simplicity of interaction. All you have to do is approach a colleague and video chat starts immediately. It is so easy, so obvious and so amazing to have a human-ish relationship in a digital world. I’m just asking myself why this wasn’t invented before?!
But the instant call is not all, there are plenty of other cool features. It is very subjective, but I love the design. It is set in the style of games from the 1990s and that reminds me of the time when I was young and didn’t have to bother about any duties or responsibilities 😀
Another cool feature is a wide range of avatars you can choose from and customize as you wish. Most people pick avatars that are similar to them, however I’m different, and I’m a white wolf in our office 🐺
A user profile, allows you to set your picture and a bunch of other useful information.
Our office is divided into thematic areas where you find a working space with desks, meeting rooms, lunch space, a fun play area, and many more.
There are 3 predefined offices, and you can customize them a bit, however, we wish to have the flexibility to build our own original office in the way how you build your home in the Sims game 😉 If you ever played that, you know what I mean 😜
Thus, we moved all our internal activities into this digital collaboration space.
We use virtual meeting rooms for daily meetings, standups, and any other collaborative events. If you need, you can add to your room an intractable whiteboard to brainstorm with your colleagues. This is a nice touch!
Everyone can jump into their desk when is at work and anybody else can simply approach us if they want to talk about anything! Isn't it cool?
You can do internal kart racing and have the dog that follows you anywhere you go 😀 Now I have to STOP and say it! If you are a cat lover, you will be very disappointed as you won't find one here. Although it would be cool to see a live cat on your desk to play with 😆 Gather team - we are looking for cute kitties 😉
With all these cool features, it’s not perfect. There are two drawbacks that we notice. This service from time to time kills some of our machines. We haven't found a reason for this yet, but the slower computer may not handle this digital office.
The second one relates to written communication. In Elite Crew we use Slack for any text communication and unfortunately Gather does not fill this gap here, and we still use Slack. I presume this won't change quickly, however, let's see 😉 For verbal collaboration Gather is great!
However, I still recommend trying it and verifying how it works for you!
It works! Over this 3 months pilot, we have significantly improved and pushed the quality of our collaboration to a new level. With a wide-view perspective, everyone can see who is focused on some task or has a meeting, or is having lunch that you can join and have a great time together. Everyone has a way better internal team affiliation where each of us gets to know the rest of the crew.
Finally, it is hard for me to say how this will work for really huge organizations however for organizations like mine where there work about 20 people I can genuinely say - use it or at least give it a try and I guarantee you won't be disappointed 😉 It cemented our relationship, and pushed our values - openness, and trust to a new level!