In a Digital In The Round (2020) study, 76% of employees use video conferencing for their remote work. It also improved employee productivity by 50%. Also, video conferencing has seen a 535% rise in daily traffic. With these numbers, it is quite easy to assume that virtual meetings and conferences are the lifeblood of today’s office setting.
With the sudden shift to telecommuting, everyone forcibly started fulfilling their job functions at home. More than a year in this disposition, the work from home setup was a challenge to everyone’s mental health. One can feel the distress when the job gets monotonous or dull or simply by just being inside their makeshift home office day after day. Because of this, many human resource offices continuously come up with virtual events for their employees. These events promote positive company culture, reinforce employee engagement and help bridge the gap between colleagues working from various locations in these limiting times of social distancing.
It is actually easy to conduct a virtual event since you only need to do everything in one sitting and through a click of the mouse. Start your event with preparation. Do a little research on the hidden “likes,” “talents,” or “skills” of your employees; you can also do a needs assessment if you want to target where they need to improve (but that is going to be a bit formal for them and sway their interest). After you have acquired details from them, determine the content and theme. Here is a shortlist of suggestions:
- Language Lessons
Do a little profiling because you might have French, German, or Spanish clients who can be impressed with your workforce’s bilingual skills. Invite a foreign language teacher who can conduct classes online. Learning a new language is fun. It improves long, and short-term memory function, enhances problem-solving skills and promotes creative thinking capacity. As a bonus, your employees will learn how to deal with cultural differences sensitively.
- Check-Ins and Relaxation Techniques
Establish an environment that promotes positive speech and empathy. In a work from home setting, it is more important to check on how employees feel daily. Check-ins are done at the beginning of every shift; it is an avenue where everyone can put out all the cards they want to lay on the table or anything they feel beneficial to everyone, like a new recipe they just learned new series are binging on Netflix. It is made to promote open discourse and help one another find ears to listen to despite working apart. Ensure to follow the check-ins with relaxation techniques which can help them alleviate midday stress.
- Online Shaman, Psychic, Medium, Fortune Teller, or a Life Coach
Invite the presence of one of the five. Having one around can provide a positive atmosphere and stir up a little excitement in the virtual office. Have interested employees take turns in a common Zoom room (so others can hear the “readings” as well). However, you need to ensure two aspects of this. First, inform your employees that this shall be a voluntary event, consider some may not participate due to religious reasons, and second, brief the “guest” that you are only doing this for entertainment so he or she can mellow down the “readings.”
- Virtual Happy Hour and Mixology Class
Let us face it. Some of your employees are actually longing for the “drinks after work” already. Some of them might have even turned to the idea of drinking while getting the job done. Nonetheless, spoil your remote workers a little more by inviting them to a virtual mixology class from which they can learn cocktail recipes. While this event can be a perfect way to bring remote employees together and foster camaraderie in the digital workspace, it continuously reinforces the importance of drinking responsibly.
- Movie Night
Do a quick survey about the movie genre of their preference and organize a movie night following the most preferred genre. This event is something that they can all look forward to one Saturday. Considering this is a time off work, to get their full participation, send out some goody bags with a few snacks they can share with their family while the show is on.
- Small Success Gala
Arrange a little event night that can oblige them to wear something formal in front of the camera. Ask them to prepare a sumptuous dinner and a glass of wine for themselves. In a small success gala, people are awarded badges or certificates recognizing their efforts and hard work. Especially in these trying times, praise and appreciation should be given in generous amounts because everyone tries their best. Make small recognitions like “Ms. or Mr. Ball of Sunshine” for someone optimistic towards daily work or “The Valued Worker” for someone who was given more tasks than usual and than the others. You do not need a separate prize for each award; you can dish out a gift of appreciation to all of your employees, so everyone gets to receive something.
Once you have decided on what event to put up, execute it. You can also do a simulcast on your company’s social media platforms so your followers can be impressed by how you value mental health and companionship in your organization. When the show is done, do not forget to pass on a satisfaction survey so that you can find out if your employees had fun or if there are any improvement needs.