Welcome to Gather!
Have you worked in a physical office? Usually, conversations are impromptu. You and your teammates may meet by the coffee machine, chat by the watercooler, or stop by each others’ desks for a catch up.
Gather brings these serendipitous moments and natural communication to your remote work experience. Unlike other tools, you don't have to stop what you're doing, compare your calendar against your co-workers’, and figure out a time that works for you to meet.
Instead, simply walk over to someone's desk in your virtual Space to start a conversation or sit in a co-working area to instantly collaborate. You can hop into a Private Area and chat one-on-one, or meet with your whole team without disturbing the work of those around you.
As you explore Gather, you’ll enhance productivity with meeting and collaboration tools integrated in your virtual office. You’ll even be able to set up social gatherings for new hires to meet staff, your team to play games together, or to welcome clients in for virtual office hours.
In this guide, we’ll help you move your team into your new virtual office and prepare for their first week in Gather.
Day 0 – Plan the Move
Before you actually invite your full team into your Gather office, there are a few steps we recommend to make sure you’re set up for success on Day 1 and beyond.
Create your office
Most teams prefer to start with one of our templates and make small changes to personalize it. For example, you can add your logo to the entryway, add/remove desks to accommodate your specific team size, and create custom meeting areas.
When choosing a template, ask yourself the following questions:
- How many people will be in the office?
- How often and/or for what purpose will the team use it? (Daily, weekly, monthly; for co-working, meetings, meals, socials, etc.)
- What kind of company culture do I want to develop in this Space?
- What atmosphere or overall aesthetic do I want for my office?
- What types of areas and objects are important for my team?
Note: While you can choose any template size for any team size, we recommend matching the number of people you’ll have in the Space. If you’re a 50-person team in a template for 10, it’ll feel crowded. On the flip side, if you’re in a 150-person office, it’ll feel too big. Match your team size, and it’ll feel just right!
You can also use the Mapmaker to design a custom layout from the start, but most teams like to customize their office over time as they use the Space together.
Whichever option you choose, we recommend having areas throughout the map for:
- Each person to have their own desk
- Each department to have a pod of desks together
- 1:1 meetings
- Small group meetings
- Full-company meetings
- Social coworking
- Quiet coworking
Our templates and custom Mapmaker tool make it easy for your dream office design to come together! And as your team continues to grow, you can always upgrade to a larger Space or redesign your map at any time.
Looking for Gather design inspiration for meeting areas? Check out this article.
Create a seating chart
Now that you know what your office design looks like, we recommend creating a floor plan so everyone in your team knows where to go when they enter the Space.
At a minimum, assign teams to desk pods. If you want to be more granular, you can work with managers to have them assign desks to the individuals on their teams.
Label your office
Once your design and seating chart are ready, add text labels throughout the Space to help everyone navigate.
For example, you might add an “Engineering” label by that team’s desk pod or “Break Room” by the social coworking area.
To add labels, open the Object Picker and select “Insert Text.” Just type what you need your label to say, and then you can place it on the map like any other object.
Designate your Gather Champions
Who are your Gather Champions? Well, if you’re reading this now, you’re likely one of them!
Before you bring your entire team into Gather, it’s helpful to start with a smaller group. This way, there are a few people familiar with the platform who can help answer questions and build excitement in your team.
Choose your champions, and give them an early opportunity to join the Space. You may even consult them on some of the decisions we’ve already discussed, like your office design or seating chart.
We also welcome you to join the Gather Remote Work Slack Community to meet other like-minded Gather Champions and share best practices. In the community, we give you a sneak peek at upcoming features, content, and campaigns.
Sign up for a subscription
If your team is smaller than 25 people, you can continue on a free plan.
If your team is 25 people or more, you’ll need to purchase a monthly subscription so everyone can be in the Space at the same time.
Get ready to invite everyone!
The most successful Gather launches kick off with an intentional week planned in your new virtual Space. To actually invite your team into Gather, all you’ll need is a list of their email addresses. Pull the list together now so that you’re ready to send out the invites on Day 1.
A quick note on user permissions
When you invite your team into your Gather Space, you’ll be inviting them as Members. Once they’ve joined the Space, you can give them Admin or Builder access by going to Settings > Space > User Roles.
Here’s the difference between each role:
- Admins have full control of the Space. They can add/remove all objects, change the map, and invite/remove members from the Space. We recommend you limit the number of people with Admin permissions. (Maybe to the Champions you identified on your team!)
- Builders have Build Mode and Mapmaker access. They can add/remove all objects and change the map. We recommend you enable this for a limited time during your team’s first week. This will give them the freedom to fully customize their workspaces (like placing a different colored desk), but then limits the chance that someone accidentally deletes an important meeting room.
- Members can use the Build Tool to add/remove their own objects. This role still allows for some desk personalization, but blocks the ability for someone on your team to delete objects you’d added or that are placed there by the template.
To learn more about user permissions, read this help doc.
Day 1 – Move-in Day!
Now that your office is set up, it’s time to galvanize your team and enjoy your Space together!
For Day 1, here’s what you should plan on doing:
Announce Your Office
Make an announcement to your team to kick off your first week in Gather. Depending on how your company does internal communication, you may want to announce via email, Slack, Slides, or verbally during a meeting or Town Hall. Here’s a sample message that you can use and tailor for your team:
This week, we'll be working in a customized digital Space together on Gather.
Gather makes virtual interactions more human. As our avatars move around the Space, we’ll use spatial audio and video to say hi to each other in the virtual hallways, chat during and in between meetings, and even play casual games.
We’ll get to customize our individual avatars, desks, and meeting rooms in our persistent Space. There are also productivity features, including Private Areas for meetings, focus modes at your desk, and a Google Calendar integration so we can join meetings in one click.
Check your email for an invite to the new office. Or, you can also just click the link here: [link]
I’ll be following up with a quick onboarding checklist. Let me know if you have any questions!
Invite Your Team
If you pulled together your team’s email addresses, now’s the time to use them!
Select the Main menu (with the Grapes in the lower left hand corner!), select Invite, and enter the email addresses you wish to invite to be Members.
You can also share the link to your Space directly by copying and pasting it. We recommend you still send an invite by email so your team has an easy reference in their inboxes.
Join the Space together
People who have experience with video games are particularly comfortable in virtual worlds and digital spaces like Gather. But we’ve found that even folks who are brand new to the metaverse quickly get the hang of how a Space in Gather works, especially when other team members are present.
Schedule out the very first time for everyone to meet up together in your office and you’ll see what we mean!
Pick a spot and bring everyone together. You’ll see the spatial audio and video activate as team members move around with their keyboard arrow keys!
Sometimes it’s great to have additional options for engaging in the Space, whether you’re in a meeting or socializing with coworkers. Here are a few of our favorite little shortcuts for fun:
- Use the Arrow Keys or “WASD” keys to move around the space
- Use the numeric keypad to react with emojis (Hint: You can customize these shortcuts!)
- Press “F” to throw confetti
- Press “Z” to make your avatar dance
- Press Command + “U” to enter Do Not Disturb mode. (Great when you’re heads down on work or walk away from your desk, so coworkers know to come back later!)
Give an Office Tour
This is an opportunity to show your team how Gather works and explore the Space together. You’ll want to cover the basics of working in Gather, including:
- Walking through your Space and pointing out how each area can be used.
- Demonstrating how to customize your character and use the Object Picker, so staff get excited about how they can personalize their experience.
- Showing how conversations with audio and video work by proximity, at desks, and within Private Areas.
- Showcasing the Participants panel, which lists co-workers’ locations in the Office and has features to find them, follow them, or ask them to join your meeting.
- Inviting guests and giving them limited-time access. (Especially important if you plan on bringing clients or candidates into your Space.)
Share the Onboarding Checklist
Here are the actions each member of your team should go through on Day 1. Feel free to copy/paste and adjust as needed.
- Enter the Space – Everyone should have the invite in their inbox by now, or you can join via this link: [link]
- Connect your Google Calendar – This will show your calendar events right in Gather, making it easy to walk to your next meeting in the office with a click.
- Install the Gather Meetings Chrome Extension – This gives you the best way to schedule and share meetings in Gather. With the extension, you can add Gather meeting links to your Google Calendar events. The extension will automatically pick an available Area in our Space with enough capacity to host all invitees.
- Claim and decorate your desk! – Here’s a guide on how to do so, along with examples for inspiration.
- Keep Gather open throughout the day - This way, people can stop by your desk for quick questions, just like in a real office! If you’re busy, use Do Not Disturb mode so people know you “have your headphones on.”
Pro tip: Set up a working lunch where everyone can decorate their desks or build out their team areas together. The sooner you start to customize your Space, the more it’ll feel like a part of your team!
Days 2-4 – Time to Settle In
Woohoo! Everyone is moved into your virtual office and ready to hold scheduled and spontaneous conversations. Let’s keep this ship sailing and start building team and company culture!
The best way to do that is to establish routine and structure with meetings in Gather, and plan events in your Gather Space that bring people together at the same time. (After all, if you’re sitting in the office by yourself, it’s not very fun!)
Use the following ideas and try to bring everyone into the Space at least once per day. If your team is distributed around the world, keep time zones in mind and schedule multiple events so everyone has a chance to join and run into each other in the office.
Move recurring meetings into Gather
Daily standups, 1:1s, and weekly team meetings can all be held in Gather now. And the sooner everyone adds a Gather meeting link to the recurring calendar invites, the sooner you’ll build that routine of collaborating in Gather.
Have your Champions and/or leadership stay in Gather throughout the day
Lead by example. When key managers and leaders move their meetings into Gather and stay in the Space throughout the day, their teams will stay, too.
Encourage them to hang out in the coworking Spaces, or initiate conversations at people’s desks to help everyone get used to this new method of communication.
Plan a social event or team icebreaker
While Gather makes work fun, planning a social event is a great icebreaker! You can quickly design a roof top or tiki bar and plan a social, complete with our integrated Gather games. You can also pick an office template you like and add some games in a break room or other casual area.
Plan to host your team All Hands in Gather
Your new virtual office is the perfect place to host your department syncs or company-wide meetings. The best part is that it’s easy to continue conversations before or after the meeting, as everyone walks back to their desks or lingers in the All Hands room.
Check out this handy help center guide specifically for All Hands meetings in Gather!
A word of caution: Don’t feel like you have to schedule too many events to get your team into Gather. Part of the benefit is that people can continue talking outside of meetings and organically collaborate as they move throughout the Space during their day. After all, the goal isn’t to cause meeting fatigue, but rather create a collaborative and energizing environment that brings your remote team together!
Day 5 and Beyond – Making Your Space into Your Home
Maintaining a helpful culture within your company will keep your teams feeling supported as they acclimate to their new Space.
Define your team’s “House Rules”
Should you wave at someone before fully walking up to their desk? Keep videos off when in the Quiet Coworking Zone? Try to be on Gather for certain hours of the day?
Every Gather office operates a little differently – and that’s part of the fun of it! As your team settles in, you’ll start to define habits and guidelines for how you use your Space. Document these rules and continually share them with your team, especially new hires right when they join. Here’s some inspiration.
Send out a feedback survey
It’s normal for your team to iterate on your Gather office quite a bit in the first 30 days. Lean into this and send out a quick survey to your team to learn what’s working and what’s not. This can help you make quick changes that make your virtual office work better for everyone!
Here’s an example survey you can send:
- What do you like about our Gather office?
- What do you not like about our Gather office?
- What do you use our Gather office for?
- Is there anything you’d like to do in our Gather office that you can’t (or don’t know how to do?)
Feel free to send us product feedback from that last question!
Lean on Gather champions
Your internal champions can help share and define best practices across your team and collect feedback from different areas of your organization.
Our Remote Work Slack Community has Gather Champions from a wide range of industries and team sizes. It’s a great place to ask questions, talk to fellow Gather users, and get support directly from our team!
Discuss a custom onboarding plan with our team
We’d be happy to help you with questions or ideas when it comes to bringing your team onto Gather! We can also send you Space analytics, customized engagement ideas, and assist with general troubleshooting.