At Reward Gateway, a lot of planning has gone into designing our workspaces to be an extension of our workforce. With every buildout, we have always prioritized creating a collaborative, comfortable and buzzing environment.
But now, many of our workspaces are our home offices, and like you, we are working on ways of fostering spontaneous connections while being physically distant.
In our “new normal,” we may have to structure our communication a little less organically than before and prioritize bringing our people together virtually to enjoy time outside of work. Whatever your budget is, we have some suggestions that can help improve your virtual team building journey to better connect your remote workforce.
|1. DIY activities
|2. Happy hours with furry friends
|3. Time with friends and family
|4. Morale boosters for your people
|5. Lunch and learns
|6. Wellbeing breaks
|7. Cooking and cocktail classes
1. DIY activities
We are lucky that there are so many services being brought online today. Check out companies like Yaymaker, who take on the work of organizing a great experience for your employees. They offer virtual paint night, flower arranging, and knitting classes, just to name a few.
Or go a different route and curate DIY sessions on your own. At RG, we have harnessed our people’s passions, and this month we have enlisted our Content Marketing Manager to bring autumn into our homes by running a virtual candle-making class.
2. Happy hours with furry friends
We know that “Zoom fatigue” is a real thing, but we also know that socializing and connecting with your people is important. Now there really is a way for a goat to join your virtual happy hour. Check out Sweet Farm’s “Goat-2-Meeting” where you are introduced to their farm and the animals they rescued.
More interested in dogs? Check out Wags and Walks for a virtual puppy party. They work off of suggested donations so you can do some good while soaking up all the cuteness.
Want a free option? Allow your people to introduce their pets at home. We used our employee experience platform to host what we called the “RG Pets WIN Prizes.” Employees sent in photos of their furry (or not so furry) friends and winners were selected to win special prizes. Everyone in the company had visibility into the awards and it helped boost morale and connections across the globe.
3. Time with friends and family
Employee burnout and isolation are more common now than ever before. It's important to give your employees a tech break and encourage people to step away from their devices.
Why not gift an experience that employees can do with their friends and family?
Maybe a gift card for a nice dinner or a baking kit for food to be made and shared at home. After, you can encourage those participants to share pictures and stories, allowing them to learn more about each other, fostering deeper connections between colleagues.
4. Morale boosters for your people
Even though employees may not be celebrating big milestones together in the office anymore, we can still make them special so our people feel valued no matter where they are.
When someone hits a sales target, gets a promotion or has a big work anniversary, celebrate virtually on a team meeting or send them a meaningful recognition that everyone in the company can see.
Recognition gives you a 360 degree view of your business, so these moments will not only make people feel appreciated and boost morale, but they'll promote team collaboration as well.
5. Lunch and learns
Find out topics employees are interested in and encourage them to share hobbies and interests with the group to build connections. Here at RG’s U.S. offices, we decided that diversity and inclusion discussions should be a top priority. We now meet monthly over lunch as an entire team and discuss Ted Talks, podcasts, and articles all around current events. This open setting creates vulnerability, acceptance and a greater understanding of our coworkers.
6. Wellbeing breaks
Employee wellbeing, especially right now, should be on top of everyone’s priority list. One of the ways you can implement self-care at work is by hosting virtual workout classes. Since many gyms are closed, support fitness instructors by hiring them to run a virtual fitness class. You can also provide information on where to find guided meditations and have discussions around other tools people use to relax. Putting the focus on mental wellbeing is important as many employees are feeling lonely and isolated, so be sure to open up these conversations around mental health.
Another option is to have healthy lunch cooking competitions and share recipes with your teams. For example, RG employees use our Wellbeing Center to find fitness videos, including yoga or HIIT classes, alongside flavorful recipes that they can make for themselves and their loved ones. The fitness videos and recipes are all available 24/7 on any device, at any time so people can exercise and cook from the comfort of their own home.
7. Cooking and cocktail classes
Since it isn’t as easy for colleagues to go out for dinner or grab a few cocktails after work, why not bring these things online? A local distillery to our Boston office, Bully Boy Distillers, runs virtual cocktail classes where you can learn the basics directly from their skilled bartenders. Such a great way to sip delicious drinks while supporting your local businesses.
The same thing goes for cooking classes. Check out your local favorites and see if they are putting on private virtual events. These places need our support more than ever and who doesn’t like making something delicious?
While we loved our personalized scavenger hunt around Boston created by Handstand, we are now looking for ways to do the same types of things online. Lucky for us, the company can now curate competitions for your teams to do from the comfort of their own homes. You can also run your own trivia and bingo nights for your teams if you are looking for a more relaxed setting.
Let’s work together to remind ourselves that the best office isn’t a building, it is a space, and that space, even online, can still be created to allow for connections, empathy, learning and fun. If you’re looking for more ways to boost morale, improve connections and support your people, reach out to me on LinkedIn! I’d be happy to chat through ideas with you.