Despite businesses starting to ramp up again, large corporate campuses and skyline defining architecture will likely remain eerily quiet for the foreseeable future. These vacancies are due to a new phenomenon where professional organizations seem to be competing for last place, at least when it concerns returning to the office.
Companies like Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Zillow, and many others are delaying returning to the office until at least October with the bulk of them eyeing a quasi-return as late as Q1 2021. While other companies like Nationwide and Cisco are scrapping office settings in favor of remote work for large swaths of their employees.
Employers are not alone. Their employees are on board with dropping their daily commutes in favor of waist up professional appearances. According to a LinkedIn study, 75% of people in digital fields endorse the idea that remote work and effective operations are synonymous. It also indicates that as many as 67% of people in traditional white-collar fields share that same sentiment.
Considering that work from home protocols are here to stay for the long haul, it is essential to keep our employees and teams engaged in fun ways that allow them to bond, work better together, and ideally keep them from jumping ship.
Skills, character, and people’s social selves make our team members so much more interesting than we can ever imagine. Now we have a unique opportunity to learn more about each other.
Our workforces are often overflowing with super talented people that have a wide range of skills that they love to show off, and others would like to learn. Now is a great time to bring people together (virtually) and let their skills shine.
Are you tired of killing all of your plants? Maybe a resident green thumb can guide folks on how to care for their ailing greenery properly.
From employee-led guitar lessons, photography how-tos, and sushi rolling workshops, to yoga sessions, art classes, cocktail making, and ski tuning demonstrations, there are a wide variety of fun skills that employees can share and learn from one another.
There are work-related options too. Tapping employees to help each other hone skills like public speaking, writing, or excel skills are great ways to develop both the teachers and the students.
WFH Office Show & Tell
Show and Tell is a fun way for everyone to understand each other a little better. Not only do we get to see where people live, but we can also better understand some of the challenges our peers encounter that they typically wouldn’t experience in an office setting.
For those who dare, don’t be afraid to take it beyond the “office.” Show off your living area, open the refrigerator, and introduce those remarkable individuals you cohabitate with like you are on MTV Cribs.
Most people are firing up their ovens and grills a little more than they used to, which means many folks are looking to update their recipe stash (or remedies on how to disguise those scorched eyebrows). Create a forum where people can share their delicious finds and creations.
It’s always fun to take it a step further by showing off your inner Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg by doing quick video tutorials on how to make your favorite dish and discuss different variations and flavors.
Clubs help employees bond with people across the organization that have similar interests. They can also help with accountability. Reading a few books a month may be difficult for some, but being a part of an employee-led company book club could inspire them to reach that goal.
The same is true with activities like running. Folks are likely to rack up more miles if they are part of a group of enthusiastic runners.
Most people love a good, friendly competition. It is a great way to break down barriers and have a few laughs along the way. To make it more interesting, add some stakes where the winner can get things like gift cards, charitable donations in their name, a day off, or simply the oh-so coveted bragging rights.
Virtual Board Games
Board games are great pastimes that are making a big comeback. With video conferencing services, playing these games across cities and even time zones is easier than cuffing an ace of spades. A few of the more popular games making virtual debuts are Bingo, Heads Up, Trivia, Pictionary, Charades, and a big favorite among many – Codenames.
This article from Slate lays out tips on how to play board games remotely.
Mask Design Competition
Masks are here to stay, at least for a while, so we have an opportunity to have some fun with them. Think a Holiday Stocking Design contest, but with masks. A mask design competition will allow employees to show off their creative side while involving their families too. To make sure everyone can partake in the creative fun, have an adult competition and a competition for kids broken down by age group.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then what better way is there to learn about each other?
A weekly photo contest where employees vote on their favorite photo is a great way to bring people closer together even when they are far apart.
Categories like photos of your daily walk, pre-Covid19 travel shots, WFH office setups, or pictures of your “Coworkers” (pets, kids, roommates, spouses, plants, or anything else you want to show off) are all fun ways to show off your style.
If you don’t have a platform that allows for easy submittals and votes, you can leverage Instagram to collect these photos by developing creative hashtags unique to your organization.
Mental, physical, and emotional wellness are a struggle for many folks, especially right now. We have a golden opportunity to engage with each other to make taking care of ourselves more fun and rewarding.
Give 10 Challenge
Get your team’s hearts pumping by tagging a coworker at random to do 10 push-ups, burpees, squats, or sit-ups. To keep it going, that coworker can tag someone else and so on. It’s like an adult version of duck-duck-goose.
Create team challenges where folks can sign up and compete with other teams on miles or steps. Ideally, competitions are completed on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, so no team(s) fall too far behind and give up.
Get those feel-good vibes flowing by offering charitable donations for your employees’ sweat. For example, Zappos is donating a meal to Feeding America for each person who completes a virtual 5k.
Yoga and Meditation Classes
Always a great way to help the body and mind, yoga and meditation classes can be taught separately or together. Many online portals are available for a fee, or you may have a few yogis on staff that may be willing to teach the classes virtually.
Since no one knows what the future holds, it is imperative that we keep employees engaged in ways that are not strictly about work. Building rapport with our colleagues helps create cohesive teams that retain people and keep them productive even when the competition down the street comes knocking. And let’s face it, we all need to have a little more fun!
Before you incorporate any of these initiatives, there are a few key points to keep in mind.
Make it relaxed and fun by keeping these events voluntary. People are already feeling stressed without the additional pressure of being required to attend an event
Get people involved by asking for activity ideas that they would be interested in
Reflect on the successful activities you used to do in the workplace and take them virtual
Variety is the spice of life so make sure there are plenty of options so people can choose what activities best suit them
If an employee is routinely unengaged in these activities, invite them to be your guest to an event that you think they will like to help warm them up to the idea of being involved
For more ideas or help improving your company culture and employee experiences, Contact Us for a free 30-minute consultation.