John Donne might have said that “no man is an island, entire of itself,” but that was before COVID-19 reached our shores.
In the time of social distancing, isolation has become the new norm and companies (traditional and otherwise) have been forced to rethink how they operate and interact with their customers and employees. Rallying to the challenge, most companies have quickly pivoted to adopt a virtual office environment allowing employees to work from home (WFH being just one of the newest, yet overused, work-related acronyms). Though WFH is helping businesses remain operational while keeping their employees safe, it comes with its own challenges. In conjunction with a drastic increase in reported cases of cabin fever, employees feel disconnected, affecting morale and productivity. When it comes to social distancing, companies need to put the emphasis on ‘social’. But how?
MyZone has been a remote work environment for the last 13 years. With employees based across the globe, you could say we have become self-proclaimed WFH experts. We know it can be challenging to keep a remote workforce engaged and motivated, and are happy to assist other companies and share what we have learned. Here are five creative out-of-the-box ways to keep employees happy, engaged and motivated:
Get Your Quiz On
Who doesn’t love a pub quiz? Employees can kick back with a beverage of their choice and measure wits. Over video chat, teams can vie for the title of Trivia Master. While there are numerous online quizzes, make it more personal by asking for a volunteer to compile and host the trivia rounds. In the spirit of camaraderie, teams should choose a team name, motto and mascot to represent them – the whackier the better. Colleagues can also challenge each other by compiling quick online quizzes and comparing scores.
Solve a Murder with Outback Team Building
What is more exciting and motivating than working together to bring a vile murderer to justice? Outback Team Building’s self- or virtually-hosted Clue Murder Mystery lets participants put their detective skills to the test. Employees are arranged into teams, given the necessary clues and materials, with 90 minutes to solve the murder. The game is played via video chat and a smartphone app which lets you keep track of live scores to see which team is in the lead! Will you unlock more clues and crack the case? Finally, all those hours of binging true crime documentaries will pay off.
Other virtually-hosted activities by Outback Team Building include:
- Game Show Extravaganza in which teams compete in a variety of trivia categories – just like on a game show;
- Team Pursuit with its mental, physical and mystery challenges and;
- Code Break where teams race to complete the most puzzles before time runs out.
With so many options – which will you try first?
Have a (Virtual) Party with Houseparty
The Houseparty app needs no introduction and offers a myriad of activities and games to get the social juices flowing. From Hands Up: Act It Out, a Charades-like game, to Quick Draw, a Pictionary-like game, Houseparty will have employees feeling included and entertained in no time. And why not scope out the vocal talent in the company with a trivia game like Finish The Song Lyric? There is plenty of fun to be had together, even while in isolation.
Invade the Louvre
Just because your employees are cooped up at home, it doesn’t mean you can’t take a company-wide trip to world-renowned museums. A number of museums now have free online virtual tours you can enjoy, including the Louvre. Turn a virtual visit to the Louvre into a game by setting goals or challenges. For example, give employees 30 minutes to run around in the museum to find a work of art or display they love or loathe and take a screenshot. After the time has run out, employees can share their screenshots and discuss why they love or loathe it. There could even be a vote for the most loathe-worthy piece of art.
Enjoy a Virtual Team Lunch
Taking your team out for lunch has always been a great way to show appreciation for the work they do. While this is currently not a viable option, you can still share a culinary treat with your team. Arrange for catered meals to be delivered to your team members at a specified time and have everybody link up with Zoom (or any video platform) to enjoy lunch together. To cater to a variety of dietary needs within your team, you could also offer ready-made low-calorie options from services like Factor. That way, every team member can choose a meal that suits their health goals and taste preferences.
Go the extra mile by enforcing a ‘no shop talk’ policy to ensure team members unwind together and enjoy each other’s company on a social level. Employees are sure to feel engaged, appreciated and included.
Employees will also have their own ideas for fun online team activities, so be sure to ask for recommendations to keep everyone happy and engaged. Scheduling and hosting these activities during work time will ensure employee participation and enjoyment – definitely worth the cost of an hour or two a week. Now that you’ve managed to keep your employees active and happy, don’t miss your chance to apply for the ERC stimulus program designed to help those businesses that were able to retain their employees during the Covid-19 pandemic.