Getting together -- virtually -- for business or socializing (or both), has become part of our lives this year in a major way. While many people have become used to Zoom, Skype, webex, Teams, or other platforms, they have some limitations.
Enter ... the Dinner Party Online. And by enter, we mean come on in, explore a virtual garden or penthouse, have a quiet chat with a couple of friends or colleagues, even take a virtual swim. Used by Cowork Penticton as a virtual coworking space and for its Friday afternoon beer'o'clock social get-togethers, it offers a few fun bells and whistles:
- no formal meeting invite needed (though this can be an option, just drop in and out;
- no time limits for meetings or gatherings;
- no passwords to remember, but you can have one for extra security;
- fun 80s video game style avatars for guests.
Several organizations in Penticton have used this platform to hold 2020 staff holiday parties, and if you're a member of a remote work force, it has a few features for socializing as well as for business. You can use it as a virtual office, and then get together for a virtual happy hour at the end of the work week. Hold a conference or a class. Even have an open house.
Powered by gather.town, Cowork's Jennifer Vincent has created a few virtual spaces to choose from, and is open to creating more if you've got a real world idea that can go virtual.
While gathered together in one of the maps, you can "walk" away with another guest, temporarily disconnecting your camera and microphone from other guests. Imagine being at a house party. Everyone's in the living room, but you and a pal head to the kitchen for a quiet catch-up. Needing to connect with a fellow remote worker on the other side of the world? Hop into a virtual space and have a quick planning session.
There's a handy chat function just like Zoom, you can mute/unmute yourself and control you video visibility, and if you're the host, broadcast to everyone for an announcement or perhaps a New Year's toast from your virtual fireplace.
Another tool for connection as we gather virtually, with great remote work and business functions for your 2021 planning.