If there is one thing remote workers reported to have missed badly is the chats with their colleagues over coffee.
Coffee chats and brainstorming sessions are common in physical office spaces where co-workers exchange ideas and get to know each other better.
Unfortunately, as the future of work is increasingly virtual or hybrid, remote workers reported feeling disconnected with their colleagues and employers.
Organizations, therefore, are looking for ways to rekindle personal friendships and build trust among team members.
As remote work has been adapted without prior plan or training, identifying good employee engagement activities was a challenge in the beginning.
But team building organizations quickly pivoted to offer virtual activities that helped remote workers stay connected during the pandemic. One example is how escape room corporate event have become immensely popular during the pandemic.
As escape rooms are known to engage employees in multiple ways with a plethora of benefits, it has been the most preferred activity for remote teams. But it is not the only way to engage remote teams.
Here are 5 other revitalizing ways to help your remote team members stay connected virtually:
1. Virtual movie night or dinner
Remote workers have been found to be working in very stressful conditions owing to both the pandemic and balancing home life. They have also reported feeling that work is now a major part of their life, with lines blurred between personal and professional lives.
Making time for fun is a good way to cheer them up. A virtual movie night or dinner can be a great way to relax and bond with co-workers.
These activities can also be considered employee appreciation activities or can be organized to celebrate key milestones. This not only relieves stress but also motivates employees to accomplish more milestones.
2. Virtual escape rooms
Escape rooms have always been a favorite team-building activity for employers and employees. As we shifted to remote work, managers were apprehensive if other activities could be as beneficial as escape rooms or if virtual escape rooms could live up to the expectations.
All the apprehensions proved to be misconceptions, with virtual escape rooms being one of the most popular team-building activities during the pandemic. Escape rooms are popular as they deliver a multitude of benefits like improving communication, team cohesion, decision-making skills, problem-solving skills, leadership skills, and collaboration skills.
When organized virtually, it can be a more stimulating activity as participants move through several challenges. A virtual escape room is one activity that not only improves the various skills of team members but also builds lasting memories.
3. Virtual adventure tours
As remote work has removed barriers like team size and geographic boundaries, remote teams are now more diverse than ever.
Teams as large as 200 members are not uncommon now. While the size and diversity add to the cross-functional attributes of teams, they also bring challenges with communication, understanding, collaboration, and organizational culture.
The barriers need to be addressed to ensure smooth interpersonal relationships and communication. Organizing activities such as virtual adventures or ethnic tours will help in overcoming these barriers.
Adventure tours also help in developing empathy and understanding towards one another and being more respectful towards each other’s opinions.
Virtual adventure tours may not give as much adrenaline rush as physical ones, but they will surely assuage the fears around working with a diverse and large team.
4. Virtual icebreakers
Team building activities do not necessarily have to be organized for a whole day or with many resources. They can be organized as regular icebreaker activities too.
Moreover, organizing them regularly is more impactful than organizing a big activity once in 6 months. As co-workers struggle to get to know each other and build bonds in remote work, regular icebreaker sessions can be a great relief.
For example, one-hour virtual board games at the end of the day, introduce yourself sessions, dumb charades, virtual snack breaks, etc., are creative ways of doing icebreakers without the burden of resources and advance planning.
It can be a scheduled event every week. This way, employees feel less stressed and feel more connected.
5. Virtual mindfulness events
With the crisis, uncertainty, and low employee morale during the pandemic poor mental health is inevitable. And the stigma associated with mental health also prevents employees from being open about it.
Therefore, offering support or organizing virtual mindfulness sessions can be a great way to support remote teams. A group meditation session, virtual therapies, or mindfulness games can be a great way to start the day.
They can also be organized at the end of the day to relieve stress and end the day more mindfully. Mindfulness has also been found to boost employee productivity.
As we continue to progress into a remote world with ever-changing job descriptions, organizations need to adapt accordingly to boost employee engagement.
Remote employees are more likely than office employees to experience a disconnect and distrust with the organization than office workers.
Therefore, keeping remote workers engaged and connected is crucial to productivity and collaboration. Virtual team building activities are not only an employee engagement initiative but also an employee retention strategy.