Offices around the country have been trying to come up with new ways to cope during the coronavirus pandemic. Some companies are letting employees work from home for the foreseeable future; others are adding protective partitions and distancing employees.
Improv Everywhere, a comedic performance arts company, took it a few steps further, creating the "most socially distanced office" in New York City on Oct. 10.
The "office" was a simple raft anchored in the East River. While it seemed small, the floating site had everything an employee needs: A water cooler, office furniture and a battery-powered computer with working internet were all installed aboard. COVID-19 staples, like hand sanitizer and Lysol, were also included.
Jesse Good, the Improv Everywhere "agent" onboard the raft, was brought out by motorboat. Immediately, he hopped on a Zoom call with other Improv Everywhere performers.
Good even wore an orange life vest to make sure that he'd stay safe if the structure capsized.
One office staple missing from the boat? Snacks — but the team had a solution for that, sending one member out to the raft in a rowboat to deliver some socially distanced chips, energy bars and tea.
The fun prank, done in collaboration with the Tideland Institute, quickly attracted interest: On the shore, many stopped to look at the floating office. Signage put up by the comedy collective, designed to look like official paperwork from the city department of buildings, said that the raft was the first of many floating offices to come.
Out on the water, a passing group of jet skiers took notice of the spectacle.
When a private boat passed by, interest in the floating office only spiked: One of the passengers took a video of the floating setup and shared it on TikTok, where it went viral, racking up more than a million views and hundreds of comments.
"When your boss tells you to more 'go with the flow," joked one user.
Someone else pointed out that the floating office was missing a key feature. "I am wondering where the restroom is? The river?" the user asked, along with a laughing emoji.
In a summary of the event, Improv Everywhere said they had been glad to see the event go so well.
"All in all a super fun day with lots of great reactions and feedback from New Yorkers," wrote the organization. "It’s been a long year for everyone, and it felt really good to get back out there and do what we do, even if it had to be done at an extreme social distance!"