When it comes to working remotely, connection is everything.
Let me explain.
The 2020 State of Remote Work Report by Buffer and AngelList showed that remote working employees struggled with collaboration, communication, and loneliness. Without employer/employee connection, business leaders risk low employee morale which can lead to poor work performance and productivity.
As remote working continues to rise amid the COVID-19 pandemic, employees are looking to their business leaders and executive teams to adjust their company culture to stay connected and engaged with each other now more than ever. A 2020 G&S Business Communications snap poll showed that 26% of 1,080 respondents working remotely in the U.S due to the pandemic wished their company would provide informal opportunities to connect with colleagues.
Just because you work remotely doesn’t mean you have to give up on human connection — even if it does look a little different these days.
Here are four creative ways you can keep employees connected and boost workforce morale in a remote working environment:
No, I’m not suggesting scheduling another Team Zoom Meeting. I’m talking about getting creative and organizing a fun informal virtual get together to boost team spirits!
Working from home can be an adjustment — your employees may miss their quick coffee runs, lunch dates, or even those passing by desk conversations that can spark new ideas and collaborations. Hosting a non-work related virtual gathering is a great way to keep team relationships strong and to foster community.
Here are a few creative ideas:
- Organize a virtual Trivia Night. Check out TimeOut’s list of online Trivia Games here.
- Partner with a local business who is hosting virtual events. For example, Chicago Magic Lounge hosts a live magic show cocktail hour that you can watch entirely on Zoom.
- Host a Movie Night with NetFlix Party. Make your movie night more interactive by polling the movies beforehand to determine what you will be watching.
- Keep your employees mental and physical health engaged by doing a virtual fitness class together. For example, many gyms offer corporate wellness packages to keep employees fit and active together — many have gone virtual as well!
- Close out the work week with a virtual Happy Hour. Make your Happy Hours more entertaining by planning a theme or even doing a fun contest, like who has the best virtual background.
*Pro-tip: Don’t be afraid to include partners, kids, or even pets in your virtual get-togethers!
Create a Group Spotify Playlist
Building team comradery when working remotely can be as simple as listening to music together. Thanks to Spotify you can now create a collaborative playlist that everyone can contribute and listen to anywhere at any time.
Make your team playlists fun by creating ‘theme’ playlists. For example, creating a ‘Motivation’ Playlist, ‘90’s’ Playlist, or make it festive with a ‘Holiday’ Playlist. The best part? No premium account is required to enjoy your work from home playlist.
A 2017 Deloitte study showed that a company that encourages volunteering can help employers boost employee morale, productivity, and brand perception. Yet in that same study, only 40% of the employees said their employers provided company-sponsored or company-coordinated volunteer events and programs.
With the holidays coming up, now is the perfect time to get your remote team volunteering together. Help spread holiday cheer (and maybe bring in some of your own) by participating in a virtual toy drive, adopt a family program, or check out VolunteerMatch to connect with other virtual volunteer opportunities.
Recognize Zoom Fatigue and Burnout
Although there are many perks to virtual communication platforms, leaders must also recognize the mental burden and stressors of Zoom fatigue and burnout. It’s time to turn work mode off and human mode on.
Businessolver’s 2019 State of Workplace Empathy Study revealed that workplace empathy can lead to attracting, engaging, and retaining top talent. With the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to continue to show compassion and flexibility to your employees working remotely.
Not a business leader? Take initiative and ask your employer if you can be in charge of coordinating virtual employee events and programs to keep your team feeling connected. And don’t forget to have fun with it!