Now that you’ve created your first virtual office, it’s time to bring in members of your team. These best practices will help you onboard your coworkers and ensure they have a great first experience working in Gather.
Telling Your Team About Gather
Before you send an invite, tell your team what Gather is and what you’re hoping to achieve with it. You might do this by posting in Slack, talking about it at a team meeting, or sending an email with details.
Here’s a boilerplate you can start with:
Gather helps remote teams build a digital space that brings everyone together. We’re using this new virtual HQ as a place where we can talk naturally throughout the day, see when teammates are working, and share moments together that don’t have to be scheduled.
Once your team knows what Gather is, help prepare them to use it. We’ll do our part to onboard your team, but here are a few helpful resources you can pass on:
- Guide: Getting Started with Gather
- Gather Help Center
- Your own Virtual Office Etiquette (see the last section in this guide)
Pro-tip: Bringing in a large team? Start with your leaders (whether those are members of your actual leadership team, people managers, or internal culture influencers). These people can help answer questions from the broader team and build enthusiasm for using the new office!
Inviting teammates to your office
To invite your team, you can either hover over an empty desk and click Invite team, or click the Main Menu button in the lower left and select Invite.
From here, you have two options:
- Invite by email. You’ll enter each coworker’s email address and individually send an invite to their inbox.
- Invite by link. You can either generate a link that invites a single member to a specific desk in your office or generate a generic link that can be used by multiple teammates.
Engaging the team in the first few weeks
Once you’ve sent your invites, the best way to show the magic of Gather is to schedule events that bring everyone in at the same time and encourage conversation. Here are a few events you can plan in the first few weeks to kick off the conversations!
When you first invite your team, set aside time for a quick office tour so you can all experience Gather together.
During this kickoff call, it’s helpful to review:
- How to move around
- How spatial video and audio work
- Where everyone’s personal desk is (you could even have your teammates claim and decorate their desk during this call)
- The office. Take a tour together to explain who sits at each desk pod, where the “water cooler” area is, and how to use meeting rooms for private conversations.
Put time on the calendar when anyone can drop in for a coworking session. Ideas include:
- Mornings in Gather (or a specific time of day)
- Fridays in Gather (or a specific day of the week)
- 1 hour of single-team coworking (such as the Engineering team all sitting together)
- 1 hour of cross-functional coworking (such as Marketing and Customer Success sitting together)
Overtime, the goal is for this to happen naturally as your teammates see people sitting in coworking spaces throughout the day. As you’re all just getting started, however, you can help create this new ritual by scheduling it.
Gather is a place where you can hold meetings, engage in productive conversations, and collaborate with your coworkers. It’s also a place where you can build your team’s culture, and opportunities to take a break from work are a big part of that.
That’s why we recommend scheduling a team social in your first week or two. It can be as simple as a water cooler chat where you all come into Gather just to talk or you can try one of our built-in social events like the Gather Grand Prix.
All Hands / Full team Meeting
Full team meetings are a great opportunity to get everyone in your virtual office at the same time. To show the value of a big meeting like this in Gather, encourage everyone to come 5-10 minutes early to say hi to each other. Likewise, you can do the same at the end of the meeting, when it’s easy to break off into separate conversations.
Once your team is used to interacting in Gather, these moments will happen on their own: fluid coworking, hallway conversations, and fewer meetings in favor of in-the-moment conversations. The first week or two, as everyone is getting used to the space, it’s helpful to schedule some of these serendipitous moments to help build new habits.
Pro-tip: Let us move your existing meetings into Gather. We can automatically scan your calendar for recurring meetings and add a Gather meeting link to them, so you don’t have to track down each of these events on your own. Go to your Calendar Settings and select Migrate to Gather.
Beyond All Hands, this can help you easily move standups, 1:1s, or other regularly occurring meetings into Gather. We recommend moving all meetings into your new virtual HQ so your team isn’t confused about what video conferencing tool they should use for each meeting.
Creating Your Own Virtual Office Etiquette
Gather works best when your team has a shared understanding of expectations for using it. For example, where should people go when they want to co-work? Do most people talk with video on or off? When you step away for lunch, what should you do?
Establishing some basic norms early on can be helpful while figuring out the tool together, but it’s normal for these to change overtime.
To give your team a starting point, here are some guidelines we’ve heard from other teams on Gather:
- Move all meetings into Gather, so you’re not hopping between video tools.
- Keep Gather open while you’re working, close it when you’re offline Your presence in Gather provides visibility to your coworkers about when you’re working and available to chat. Need to focus? Use Do Not Disturb mode, so colleagues know not to bother you.
- Use the wave feature as a lightweight way to start a conversation. It signals that you want to talk, but gives your coworker time to pause what they’re doing before you actually walk up to them and start talking.
- Move your avatar around the office as another way to show your current work status. A few ideas:
- Sit in a coworking zone when you’re craving connections and available to chat.
- Sit at a focus pod when you’re heads down on something so others know not to disturb you.
- Sit in the cafeteria when you step away for lunch or a snack. Having a place to show that you’re taking a break can promote healthy work/life balance and encourage others on the team to follow suit!
- Don’t walk into a meeting uninvited if it's behind a closed door. If the door is open, however, that means it’s an open coworking session.
- Need to have a private conversation? Lock the meeting. This will prevent anyone else from joining the conversation unless invited in.
- Here’s how we use the office: To complete your guidelines, include screenshots or a video recording of different areas of your office explaining specifically how your team will use them. This is especially helpful when onboarding new hires to your team, so they understand where to go for what in the office.
As your team gets settled into your new virtual HQ, it’s common for these guidelines to change overtime as you learn how you like to use the space.
Pro-tip: Keep these guidelines documented somewhere that’s accessible to the whole team and available to new hires. This will help onboard them into your team culture and share the virtual norms they can expect when working in your virtual office!
Need more help?
This guide is a collection of best practices we’ve heard from other teams on Gather. If you’re onboarding a large team and looking for more help, reach out to us here.