What is a virtual water cooler?

Water cooler conversation is the idea of needing human interactions. It is a place in the workplace to reconnect with colleagues. Especially since the world is virtual, the need to connect has grown stronger. A virtual water cooler goes way beyond instant messages and emails. It allows employees an opportunity to connect, feel like a pivotal part of the company, and spark new ideas that are in the best interest of the company.

Why do organizations need a virtual water cooler?

Studies show that casual workplace conversation and no-pressure socializing have a multitude of…


· Be supportive. Provide emotional support and encouragement.

· Refer to those in the group as team members or teammates instead of subordinates or employees. Make frequent use of the words “we” and “us.”

· Bring team members together for meetings, meals and occasional parties, virtually of course. Schedule most get-togethers during regular office hours so you don’t intrude on people’s personal time. Make use of your lunch break to eat together and chat virtually.

· Emphasize that yours is a winning team.

· Frequently remind team members that their work is important.

· Help them identify tasks they’re particularly…


A famous person once said that learning how to work productively and meet the needs of our students during a pandemic is like “building the plane while it is already in the air.” It was a team effort over the past year from all employees from every department to make our college continue to be a great place to learn and work. You made this happen while adhering to AACC’s values of community and relationships, opportunity, positivity, innovation and creativity, and equity and inclusion. As a way to show our appreciation for all you have done, we have compiled a…


I still remember the day I heard that statement. It was January 2007, and I was in the U.S. Postal Service’s operations supervisor training program. It was a required six-month program that combined classroom and on-the-job training to be an operations supervisor. In my class there was a fellow trainee who I will never forget. He was incredibly smart and talented. He understood the operation manuals, collective bargaining agreements, Key Performance Indicators, etc. better than I did and I was in awe of his expertise. …


One of the highlights of my life was July 4, 2011. There I sat in our hospital room at St. Agnes hospital holding my brand-new baby girl, Zoey. I looked out the hospital window and, in the distance, I could see fireworks bursting in the sky over the Inner Harbor of Baltimore. It was one of those awe-inspiring moments you find yourself in during life and as you are living through it, you know that moment will stay with you forever. Not once did Zoey cry during the fireworks, but she squeezed my hand each time one of them exploded…


There I was sitting on the couch in my living room getting frustrated. As part of the new normal during the COVID-19 pandemic, I was trying to log into our weekly Zoom staff meeting. As I was furiously trying to log in, I got the spinning wheel of death on my computer screen and the application would not let me into the meeting. I kept refreshing over and over again and still, no entry. Sitting next to me on my couch was my 8 year-old daughter Zoey. She too was getting frustrated, trying to log into her Google Classroom, begging…

John Englehart

Human Resources Professional, Husband, Dad and occasional Cookie Monster

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