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Effective Communication Requires Shared Spaces

These spaces can be physical or virtual

For nearly 50 years, organizational leaders have celebrated the water-cooler effect—the power of an office amenity to bring together acquaintances from different departments and spark eureka!moments.

The late Tony Hsieh, founder of Zappos, referred to these interactions as “collisions,” serendipitous social encounters that drive innovation. Knowing their impact, he designed a physical office space and culture to strategically promote the cross-pollination of information from different departments and produce a return on community (ROC).

But for the past year-and-a-half, hybrid and remote work has stymied the number of spontaneous face-to-face interactions taking place around company water-coolers the world over.

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