Remote work is officially here to stay, with Global Workplace Analytics estimating that up to 56% of workers could work from home if businesses allowed it. Although the GWA report suggests that employees and managers are already satisfied with productivity when working remotely, collaboration skills are still an area companies need to focus on and improve.
After all, workplace productivity is not the sole focus of a company. Productivity itself goes hand in hand with team morale and company affinity, which is why it’s vital to ensure your team functions as a cohesive unit – even from afar.
This is true even with hybrid work; it’s important not to prioritize office workers over remote employees. Instead, HR managers should make every effort to ensure remote, and hybrid workers feel part of a team.å
Fortunately, there is a way to help your team gel and create a thriving remote workplace: it’s called CoffeePals. A virtual coffee app is a perfect way to help your employees bond, but it goes beyond just that. You can also onboard team members, facilitate communication between departments, and build a mentorship program for employees.
This guide covers everything you need to know about the differences and advantages of two employee connection apps: CoffeePals and FikaTime. I’ll point you in the direction of the best option available right now for Microsoft Teams.
What does a virtual coffee app do?
Virtual coffee apps help your company to facilitate communication between employees (remote or in person) at all levels of the organization. Most apps integrate seamlessly with your organizations communication platform like Microsoft Teams, so there is virtually no learning curve when it comes to using them.
The app works to establish a better sense of community by allowing employees to spontaneously connect. In a regular office, people congregate by the water cooler and chat over lunch about their hobbies, upcoming plans, and current events.
For remote workers, these spontaneous interactions are not as common, and they can lead to feelings of loneliness and detachment from the company. LinkedIn suggests that more people are seeking remote connections, too, with a 55% increase in conversations on the platform.
Coffee matching apps are designed to combat this by connecting employees who perhaps would not typically communicate during the working day. They also encourage lighthearted communication and ensure the whole team gets to know each other on a personal level.
CoffeePals vs. FikaTime
If you want to take your company to the next level by introducing virtual coffee meetings, then here is some good news: there are several options to look into. Two of the most popular on the market right now are CoffeePals and FikaTime.
Both apps are popular for a reason, namely their ability to introduce coworkers using an unbiased matching system and boost company morale. However, several features differ between the two apps. CoffeePals is positioned as building connections and relationships in a fun way in your workplace where FikaTime is positioned as an app to help employee’s mental health.
Here are the main things you need to consider.
Both CoffeePals and FikaTime have some great features. It’s essential to choose the platform that best suits the needs of your business. As far as virtual coffee apps go, the one that fosters the most positive, friendliest company culture is usually the best option.
Below are the top three features of each so you can analyze how they might help your company.
While FikaTime has some awesome practical features that make it ideal for matching employees, CoffeePals has a greater focus on building lasting relationships. The Coffee Maker and Coffee Lottery features are designed to directly improve co-worker relationships and foster a company culture that employees want to be a part of.
Scheduling meetings can be difficult and cause issues with getting all participants to attend. To make it easier for people to participate in virtual coffee matching, it is important to use a tool like CoffeePals that allows users to schedule a meeting with just one click. This way, it is easy and convenient for your team to engage in the virtual coffee matching activity.
Both platforms have similar customer service approaches, with teams that are readily available when users need help.
CoffeePals has a help center with common FAQs, and a simple form you can fill out if you need more detailed help. There is also a chatbot on the website if you want to connect with a member of the team to discuss simple queries.
FikaTime also has a help center with some useful FAQs, and the website features a pop-up chat box. However, it does not have a form you can send off for more detailed queries, which makes contacting the team slightly more difficult if this is your preferred method of communication.
Both apps are very similar in that they are built on Microsoft Teams. It’s very convenient even for those users who feel technologically challenged since Teams has a straightforward interface. If your company already uses Teams, it becomes even easier to integrate these virtual coffee apps into your lives.
Since they both function on Teams, they both make it easy for users to participate. CoffeePals provides a deeper integration with Outlook to make scheduling meetings seamless.
They are both automated apps, too, which means HR managers and supervisors rarely need to interfere once the account is up and running. CoffeePals and FikaTime do everything for you, so there’s no need to worry about setting things up.
Ease of use
CoffeePals and FikaTime both aim to make their users’ lives easier, so the platforms rely heavily on usability. It’s easy to set up both apps; all you need to do is create an account and add the respective app to Microsoft Teams.
After that, the app does everything for you, including matching.
In CoffeePals, the manager needs to create a team of people and add the CoffeePals bot. The bot then matches people up within the team. The app can be added to existing teams or a new CoffeePals team. Users can then opt in or out by messaging the bot or leaving the team. If you want to build connections across different groups or teams, CoffeePals can facilitate this. Plus, you can choose whether to have between two and five people in each coffee meeting.
FikaTime is similar, but the admin adds the bot to Teams, and employees can add or remove themselves from the group. In this way, employees can decide if a coffee meeting is something they are comfortable with, and it allows them to skip one and re-join later if they are particularly busy one week.
Both apps also make it straightforward to provide feedback and view metrics, which is ideal for managers.
All you need for both apps is a Microsoft Teams account. The manager needs to make an account with the relevant app, but only one account is required for the bots to work.
CoffeePals allows users to connect their Outlook calendar to get suggested meeting times and schedule meeting directly from the chat message. This takes it one step further than just opening a scheduling prompt in Teams.
Design and UX
Your employees won’t want to use a coffee meeting app if the experience is bad, which is why usability and UX are vital.
While both are designed with users in mind, CoffeePals has an aesthetic advantage. The app’s layout is meant to be seamless, which means no clunky email chains and long surveys. Take the Coffee Maker, for example; the discussion takes place in the comments section of the icebreaker question, which means users can view chat history easily without having to scroll.
Plus, Coffee Maker encourages the use of pictures to make chats more exciting!
Even the metrics are aesthetically pleasing, color-coded, and easy to interpret. For this reason, CoffeePals has a competitive edge when it comes to UX.
Pricing is a huge factor when deciding which coffee app to choose. Both apps provide a free option, though FikaTime only provides a 14-day free trial, while CoffeePals has a free subscription option with limited feature usage. The free option is ideal for small teams of up to 24 people who want to start connecting remote employees.
Meanwhile, both apps also have a priced version. CoffeePals’ Pro feature starts at $49 per month for up to 25 users or just under $2 per user. The price increases with the number of users, with something to suit all companies. If you have a large company with over 1500 employees, you can also contact CoffeePals for an Enterprise account.
FikaTime is slightly more expensive, at $2 per user per month. There is also an Enterprise option for larger companies, and again you need to contact the team for more information.
CoffeePals definitely wins out in pricing, especially because you can save an extra 8% when billed annually.
Ensuring the security of customer data is a top priority for CoffeePals. The company has implemented various processes and protocols to safeguard customer information and has also partnered with secure and reliable vendors to further protect user data. In addition, CoffeePals has achieved SOC 2 and GDPR compliance, demonstrating its commitment to maintaining high standards of security. IT teams and companies can have confidence in the security measures put in place by CoffeePals when onboarding the software.
Which app should you choose?
CoffeePals and FikaTime are both great apps, and you should definitely consider selecting a virtual coffee app that can help you grow your business. The question is which one best meets your needs.
FikaTime could be the ideal option if you are seeking Teams integration with basic matching that helps users from across the company meet each other. It’s an app that has the practicality side nailed, although it does cost a little more.
CoffeePals, meanwhile, aims to please with a user-friendly interface that fosters lasting relationships between employees. What’s more, this option might be better for fully remote teams and companies that rely more on hybrid working, because it provides more configuration options such as matching group sizes and scheduling. FikaTime often encourages in-person meetings, which is not always possible for remote companies.
The final decision relies on what’s best for your business, and only you can make that choice. This guide only serves to show you the differences between two of the leading apps on the market.
All in all, the robust range of engaging features like Coffee Lottery, Coffee Maker and Outlook integration give CoffeePals a slight edge, not to mention the exceptional value for money. Get started with CoffeePals to see how it could make a difference for your business.
What is CoffeePals?
CoffeePals is an app compatible with Microsoft Teams that allows your team to connect virtually during the working day. Employees can meet people they would not normally chat to and engage in lighthearted, non-work-related discussions that foster morale and create a positive atmosphere.
Why Are Virtual Coffee Breaks a Good Idea?
In a regular workplace, employees can interact with each other and chat about things other than work. The friendships formed at work are vital because they can help employees bond with the company, ultimately leading to increased productivity. Instead of neglecting remote employees, virtual coffee meetings allow the whole team to get together and keep the company growing.
How Do I Host a Virtual Coffee Meeting?
The process is simple: add the CoffeePals bot to your Microsoft Teams account, and let the app do the work for you. The app will automatically match up users with an unbiased system that aims to connect employees, and all that’s left to do is let people figure out a time that works for them using the calendar integration feature. Then, people can meet up, chat, and build new friendships!
How Do I Use CoffeePals?
CoffeePals is very simple to use. The admin simply adds the relevant members to a team, then CoffeePals matches up different users. You can choose to have 2-5 users per meeting, and the selected users can choose a time that works best for them. Make sure everyone attending brings a refreshment, turns their camera on, and then it’s time to have a friendly chat over a cup of coffee.