Newsfeed is the New “Water Cooler”

As we all know, water coolers do more than just cooling water. It’s the place where employees connect and share the latest news – so why not taking this online? Welcome to Cabaana’s Newsfeed!

By Victor Ruiz

When people go to work, they shouldn’t have to leave their hearts at home – Betty Bender, motivational speaker
When people go to work, they shouldn’t have to leave their hearts at home – Betty Bender, motivational speaker

During any regular day at the office, workers need that little moment of breaking away from the workload. Either you call it water cooler or coffee machine, there is little doubt on the benefits of the casual ambiance such a place offers to engagement and productivity, when it is used in a responsible way.

A little chat between peers by the water cooler may be very useful, almost a necessity, when we feel overwhelmed due to the amount of work, but such chats can also be a fantastic way of brainstorming and sharing ideas and information.

For many years, the water cooler has been a synonym for relief and also a symbol of engagement at workplaces, in the sense of breaking up day-to-day monotony and starting a casual chat with your co-workers. Many companies who have realized this have always encouraged such exchanges between its employees because such conversations not only strengthen working relationships, but they even help transform work relationships into personal friendships. Both such relationships (work and personal friendship) help forge stronger bonds that contribute to create a sense of belonging to the company, which will pave the way for the pursuit of common goals.

So many nice stories have been built and told around water coolers. I have mine too, though in my story, the water cooler is substituted by a coffee machine.

Just another water cooler story

Around a decade ago, I was working at a local radio station as a writer and a presenter, but more as a writer. One of my colleagues there was Lucas, a friendly guy and a hard worker with whom I still have a good friendship, in part thanks to memories like this that I’m going to share.

On a cloudy and bleak winter Tuesday morning, our boss at that time, who was the editor of a daily sports news programme, asked us to write a story to connect the different news of that day. Honestly, we had no idea what to write. Due to organizational reasons, our desks were in different rooms, so we accorded to brainstorm individually and then try to share our ideas to check if we could build something minimally “acceptable.”

After half an hour with the mind in a blank state and the pressure increasing, I decided to go to Lucas’s desk and tell him about my frustration. He was in the same situation, so we went to the coffee machine to take a break and try to ease our minds. As you can imagine, we were fed up with trying to build that story, so we began to chat about trivial stuff like what we did the last weekend and shared some anecdotes.

A couple of minutes later we started talking about sports, our shared passion. Then, magic happened. We began to come up with fresh ideas that could be the beginning of the end to our nightmare. Suddenly, we found the way to make that story grow. In what may be considered as an act of superstition, we moved our desks next to the coffee machine. I prefer to see it as a gesture of thankfulness towards that sacred space that gave us the inspiration to finish our work.

I wanted to bring back that little moment of glory just to illustrate how a place like that can contribute to both engagement and productivity.

However, these water cooler moments are usually short. The fact is that we spend most of the time sitting in front of the computer. And yes, let’s admit it..sometimes we waste a lot of time lazing around the internet. This is an issue that brings headaches for the managers quite frequently.

In addition, what happens to remote teams that don’t have the option to share a physical space?

Cabaana’s Newsfeed

Wouldn’t it be great to have a place in the company that joins the best of the water cooler spirit with the possibilities that our technology offers? Why not taking the water cooler online?

One of the features that Cabaana offers is its Newsfeed. It is the application’s main social feed in which posts by all the users are published, as well as any relevant actions or events that happen on the platform. For instance, the creation of new huts, new posts or comments published, the kudos given by other users or obtained thanks to the overcoming of challenges, notifications of new followers, the ‘absence status’ (one of the most useful characteristics to let others know in which place the employee is working, or if the worker is ill or on vacation), notifications of personal data changes, etc.

newsfeed-2

The user must follow other users to see their posts on the Newsfeed, giving sense to the social media concept ‘follower’. Nevertheless, there are exceptions: for example, when private huts are created or when kudos are given privately. In these cases, only the users that have been invited to private huts and those that received private kudos could see the posts.

The main elements of the Newsfeed are the posts, in which there is always the possibility to leave comments and replies. This way, conversations can evolve to different levels. Besides, with the aim of giving emphasis to the posts that become more relevant on the newsfeed, the platform provides a button called ‘heart’, so that the users can show their acknowledgement of certain posts. Posts can be deleted by the admin or by the user himself. Another important feature is that users can upload as many files as they want in the format of their choice (pictures, songs, PDFs, etc.).

newsfeed-3

Finally, the Newsfeed is complemented with huts (which we had talked about earlier here), providing a complete project management experience, and at the same time offering a collaboration experience as well, thus increasing employee engagement.

This article is the last one of this series, in which we have shown and explained the different features that Cabaana currently offers for your company/team. We truly hope that you have enjoyed them and that you now see Cabaana as a helpful tool that will make your teams grow and improve.

As Jim Morrison would sing, “this is the end, my friend”… but we are not Jim Morrison, so don’t worry, this is not the end of this journey because Cabaana will continue to add more features with its newer versions.

Stay tuned and See you soon with more interesting topics on Employee Engagement, Happiness, etc.

Make it Simpler, Make it Easier

Messaging has become the most preferred way of communicating in our personal lives – Cabaana helps you to take it to your professional lives as well.

By Victor Ruiz

Image Courtesy: IT Donut
Image Courtesy: IT Donut

In the last two decades, from the rudimentary chatroom based web chats of the mid-nineties to WhatsApp and Snapchat messages of 2016, instant messaging has gradually increased its importance in our lives. Nowadays it has became an essential part of our day-to-day routine. We use it constantly to communicate with friends and relatives.

Who doesn’t text every day, at any given point of time, for some reason or the other?

This messaging habit is usually more prominent in our personal lives, but in our professional lives, it can be a powerful solution to address the communication necessities of modern workplaces, since it allows employees to interact amongst themselves in real time.

According to the author Mary Ellen Guffey, in her book Essentials of Business Communication, IM is “a convenient alternative to the telephone and is replacing e-mail for short internal communication.” It is not by chance that “French IT giant Atos switched its in-house communication entirely from e-mail to a Facebook-style interface and instant messaging.”

Statistics also appear to support this idea: “more than 2.7 billion IM accounts worldwide attest to IM’s popularity. Sixty-four percent of business professionals use IM.”

Benefits of IM

In Guffey’s words, “the major attraction of instant messaging is real-time communication with colleagues anywhere in the world –so long as a cell phone signal or a Wi-Fi connection is available.” Moreover, “IM allows people to share information immediately and make decisions quickly,” which explains why “its impact on business communication has been dramatic.”

It knows no frontiers, since “group online chat capabilities in enterprise-grade IM applications allow coworkers on far-flung project teams to communicate instantly.” Guffey also expounds that instant messaging and texting are considered by many people as a “productivity booster because they enable users to get answers quickly and allow multitasking.”

Not surprisingly, this kind of communication is related to immediacy and it helps to increase efficiency. “The immediacy of instant and text messaging has created many fans. A user knows right away whether a message was delivered.” In addition, “messaging avoids phone tag and eliminates the downtime associated with personal telephone conversations. Another benefit includes presence functionality. Coworkers can locate each other online, thus avoiding wild goose chases hunting someone who is out of the office.”

Other benefits of IM that Guffey underlines are “low cost, speed, and unobtrusiveness.” As she writes, “both IM and texting can be low-cost substitutes for voice calls, delivering messages between private users quietly and discreetly.”

Be Happy, Cabaana is here!

All things considered, there is no doubt that any tool that enables this kind of communication is bound to help employees reduce the amount of time they spend on performing daily tasks and thus making their job easier and more pleasant.

But how can you get access to a tool that lets you do all of the above for your work?

Enter Cabaana.

In Cabaana, users can use Instant Messaging in two ways:

1) Individual Chats – This is ideal for ‘one to one’ communications
2) Group Chats – This is ideal for group chats and is done through ‘Rooms’, where communication is ‘many to many’.

Needless to add, ‘one to one’ communication is private (see screenshot below).

IM Screen on Cabaana Web
IM Screen on Cabaana Web
IM Screen on iPhone
IM Screen on iPhone

In the current version of Cabaana, users can only create public “rooms”. This means all team members can access any room that has been created. However, private rooms will be implemented in a future release of Cabaana. Once this feature becomes available, team members will be able to access only rooms to which they have been invited to.

The conversations in rooms can only be read by those who are invited to be in those specific rooms (currently all rooms are available to all team members). To that end, the only thing you have to do is to access your room of choice through the list of rooms that appear once you click on the button ‘ROOMS’ (see screenshot below), which is located on the left sidebar. Once you are in, you are privy to all communication that is taking place there.

Room Selection
Room Selection

All team members on Cabaana can currently create rooms by means of the modal window that opens up when you click on the icon ‘+’ that appears when you place the mouse pointer on ‘ROOMS’. Just type a name for the room you want to create, and click on ‘Create’ (see screenshots). It will immediately appear on your list of rooms (remember left sidebar?). Other team members can immediately access the same room.

Room Creation
Room Creation

In global terms, Cabaana defines instant messaging as a fast and an effective communication channel that acts as a substitute for the traditional e-mail. In future releases, we will enable sharing of documents/files through these messaging channels and even will integrate third party file sharing services such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Google Calendar among others.

Don’t these features sound powerful enough to make your work related communication more efficient?

But, I hope you already know that Cabaana is much more. The main advantage of Cabaana and the unique added value that Cabaana offers is that Instant Messaging is just one of the many services available on this platform.

Are you eager to know more about what else is available?

Stay tuned…