Your team is your startup and company’s greatest asset. Remote work was a rare luxury for many, and some industries have long embraced this work dynamic to their benefit.
However, the pandemic has forced remote work on millions of businesses around the world for now and the medium-term future.
Offices are the hub of any business. Employees connect and collaborate, work together in teams to achieve the goals of their managers and their companies.
For now, many physical offices are standing empty and it is easy for employees to feel disconnected and isolated from their colleagues.
The need for remote working environments has shifted offices and the way in which employees and teams communicate to keep their company running as smoothly as possible.
Employee engagement activities bring back the dynamics of physical offices to a virtual environment to boost their team members’ morale, inspire creativity and foster collaborations.
What are Employee Engagement Activities?
Shifting from physical offices to their homes, supervisors and managers have to maintain their teams’ strengths, productivity and assist employees in reconnecting with their colleagues while also keeping depression and anxiety at bay during these uncertain times.
Communication between employees has taken on a totally new level of importance.
By using virtual check-ins, scheduling virtual meetings and conferences, teams are able to reconnect and collaborate on projects.
Types of Engagement Activities
1. Kitchen Talk
Physical offices – with kitchens – are sources of great casual conversation and bonding between team members. That doesn’t need to end just because everyone in your office is working remotely.
Set aside a few minutes of each meeting to allow team members to catchup with each other, before knuckling down to business talk.
Using ice-breakers to kickstart conversation and remove any awkwardness among team members is a great tool to engage everyone. There are a number of fun ice-breakers to play such as asking everyone to share the best things in their home office, one crazy thing they’ve done in the last few days, or their best vacation spot, etc.
Regardless of the ice-breaker played, using those as conversation-starters helps to also reveal more about each member’s personality for everyone to feel more connected. Remember, bonding is key to making remote working a success for your office and company.
Perhaps your team doesn’t do much socializing outside of work hours, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that your team don’t share interests. Ask questions and learn about your team members in a group chat, so that everyone can also learn.
Striking up a bond – and not necessarily a friendship – will help teams to better collaborate and help to boost their morale. That office banter is important to carry through to your virtual meetings too.
4. Team Lunches
Did your team enjoy a weekly team lunch or breakfast together? Or a coffee treat? How’s about an after-work drink to bring the weekend in or to celebrate the completion of a project? Don’t let those office rituals fall by the wayside while you team works remotely.
Arrange for employees to join group chats to carry on with those rituals and team lunches. Perhaps send everyone in your team a take-away voucher so they can all still feel like they’re connected. When a team member celebrates a birthday, or your company reaches a milestone, etc, don’t let those moments to connect slip by.
5. Dress Up Days
Team members might not dress up for their home office in the same way as they do when remote working. Take advantage of that. Set up a competition with a dress up theme and give a prize to the best-dressed person. It is the small things such as this that will keep employees engaged and more productive.
While board games are usually played around a table, there’s no reason why those same popular games can’t be replicated and played virtually. The games that employees enjoy the most are games such as Charades and Pictionary. A little bit of inter-office rivalry always boosts morale and team bonding.
Create an inter-office or inter-team trivia. Selecting topics like sports, music, movies or general knowledge will not only get spark employees to think harder, but when you add in the chance to win small prizes the rivalry will increase bonding and team building.
Even asking certain team members to organize the various questions and others to draw up the prize list will also serve as a great motivator and enable team members to connect on different levels.
7. Coffee or Lunch Photos
Coffee and lunch at the office always see team members chat in the kitchen or discuss their meals. Why does this have to stop? Perhaps sharing photos of your home-styled coffee and lunches can continue – with an incentive or two to inspire everyone to join in.
8. Movie or TV Chat
Start an e-mail poll to see which TV series or movie is popular amongst teams and then set a date after that has broadcast to discuss it. Or, a sports event. Use non-work-related conversation starters to bond your team.
9. Show and Tell
Do you remember these from your school days? These are great ways to share something personal for a rich and rewarding team building exercise. Allow all team members a certain amount of time each to share and watch as people will laugh and feel more connected.
Team-building isn’t only about games. Turn a person’s work challenges into a group exercise to help them solve that issue. You can take that a step further by to create a scenario and pair up the members to produce their own problem-solving ideas.
Discussing work issues in these ways also encourages collaboration and creative solution-making. That is an engaged employee.
How Employee Engagement Helps Companies Remain Productive
Keeping businesses running smoothly is the number one priority – not only to generate sales for your company, but to pay salaries too. As we have established a number of ways to kickstart your employee engagement activities to build a virtual team community, the team spirit and morale will be your rewards as employer while productivity will remain consistent.
A fun – and even virtual – office will also reduce the chances of employees leaving your organization. To retain staff is a company’s investment to its future growth and the growth of the employee too.
Remote working environments shouldn’t be seen as a negative. Relaxing of work hours, allowing employees to determine their own work schedules around their home-life, and helping your team members develop a healthy work-life balance all helps to maintain productivity.
While remote working does reduce a company’s overheads such as rent and associated costs, accessories, time sacrifices to commuting and such, remote workers are oftentimes more organized, more dedicated and more focused in reaching goals and meeting deadlines.