New software keeping colleagues working from home connected

A woman on her laptop working from home.
A woman on her laptop working from home.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Those working from home who are feeling alone or isolated from their colleagues can now turn to a new free software solution  launched by a local entrepreneur for such issues.

The software, known as Workjoys, allows employees to participate in simple social games, such as polls and trivia quizzes, with their colleagues.

Since the launch of a closed testing phase in March, Workjoys has seen around 20 companies, including the Singapore office of multinational company Akamai and local fintech company IFIS, sign up for its services. It was made available to the public on Thursday (April 16).

The games on Workjoys are designed to be asynchronous, meaning that players do not need to be online at the same time to play.

This was done so that employees can play the games at their own pace without compromising their productivity, said Workjoys founder Joshua Koh.

For example, in Workjoys' trivia game, a player can create a piece of trivia about him or herself. An e-mail will then be sent to all players in the company, inviting them to click on a link and guess which colleague the trivia is about. If the correct answer is chosen, a chatroom between the guesser and the creator of the trivia will be created on Workjoys, where they can exchange messages.

"It (Workjoys) gets teams and employees to have fun while getting to know each other a little better. This helps us to stay connected while working remotely", said Mr Koh.

Mr Koh, who has founded four start-ups, said he started brainstorming for ways to increase employee engagement at the workplace in November.

The idea of using games as tools to build community spirit in the workplace came to him in December but work on the project only accelerated in January due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

 
 
 
 

As more and more companies took to telecommuting as the default working arrangement, Mr Koh hired two programmers to develop Workjoys' software from scratch over the course of two months.

"People are going to work every day but they're not going to the office. This is a substitute for regular 'water-cooler chat' at the office, though it is no perfect replacement", said Mr Koh, who is currently head of business development in Asia-Pacific for a technology company. He has been working from home for the past six weeks himself.

He added: "The pandemic has disrupted businesses and put pressure on the bonds between employees, teams and managers. As a community project, Workjoys aims to help them maintain their bonds while coping with the pandemic."

Interested companies can register for Workjoys for free here.