We’re now past 6 months into the Coronavirus pandemic and many have adjusted to the new remote working world. While there are a lot of efficiencies in having employees work remotely and continue they continue to be productive, I have heard from many employers that they have noticed quite a few employees have reduced their engagement. They seem less motivated now. Maybe they’re zoomed out, tired from managing kids and work at the same time, or simply missing the social interactions with other people, thus they’re feeling isolated and lonely. It doesn’t help that many regions have placed additional restrictions on social meetings even between family members.
Humans are a social species. We need to interact with other people to keep and manage personal relationships, feed off their energy, to share experiences and thoughts, to have fun and to cry with. This can be challenging in the current climate of social distancing. But it doesn’t mean that we have to stop interacting with others on a social level. We can leverage virtual tools and related technology to foster personal relationships between all team members and ensure employees feel valued.
In addition to managers regularly checking in with their employees, here are some fun ways to re-energize employees:
Casual hangouts or a virtual happy hour.
One of the easiest ways to improve morale is to have regular (bi-weekly or monthly) casual zoom hangouts where participants drink their favorite beverage while chatting with others in real time. It helps to reduce stress and increase social interactions. This works well closer to the end of the business day, but you will have to find common times that work for the majority of people as not everyone is in the same time zone nor have the same level of external family commitments. It is recommended that this be driven by the employees themselves and encouraged by management. One of the important elements here is to ensure that those team members who usually cover their webcams are encouraged to open it up to fully take advantage of face-to-face interactions. The best thing about casual hangouts is that they are FREE to do.
Food & Drink tastings
As a way to reward team successes, take the casual hangout to the next level. Introduce a drink sommelier or a well known local chef to the group and conduct some real time tastings via zoom. Let the expert walk the participants through the intricacies of the items. This gets everyone involved in the process of experiencing something new and learning while having fun with colleagues. The costs will vary depending on the number of people and the items being tasted. It can be anywhere from $50/person and higher.
Online interactive games
who doesn’t like games and some friendly competition? There are many games that can be played virtually via zoom. Use your smartphone as a remote to answer trivia questions or host a murder night. From customized trivia games to bingo, pre-packed jeopardy or even Wheel of Fortune type of games, there are many games to choose from. To make it more exciting, introduce musical trivia games. There are usually no special tools needed for participants except for a smartphone and visiting a website. It is much cheaper than tastings and easier to set up logistically.
Online fitness classes
Health of employees needs to be one of the top priorities for all businesses. The implications of sick employees is greater in the current climate. Encouraging health and well being are very comprehensive topics and many angles to be considered - from physical health, nutrition & diet, to mental health wellbeing. There are many virtual group sessions offered in each region which are geared towards physical workouts, meditation, yoga classes, etc. Gamification has proven to be successful in keeping employees engaged fully while building healthy competition amongst employees. It is easy to measure and award. There are many desired behaviours to track such as the most steps walked, reduced TV screen time, weight loss, etc
Virtual Celebrations with music and dancing
Let’s take Christmas and Holidays, New Year, etc celebrations ONLINE with full dancing and party via zoom. Get a DJ to stream live music into your zoom celebration. A professional DJ can take real time requests and guide the event to an engaging and lively party. There are no additional tools to acquire that most people don’t already have - except to hire a DJ who knows how to lead a successful virtual event with captivating music, visuals and engages participants throughout the event.
In the virtual world, recognizing employees’ successes or even their birthday is even more critical. There are many great ways to recognize employees with useful things like gift cards to their favorite restaurant (which can be used for take out), Amazon or other stores, grocery stores or prepared food companies, their favourite hobby store, etc. These simple ideas will hopefully get your creative juices flowing to customize what’s best for each person.
There is no one solution to this problem. You must try different things or a combination of these techniques . Get employees’ input on what they would like to do to increase participation. We’re in for the harshest of the pandemic in the coming months and we need these tools to re-energize employees even more!
These are just a few approaches to improve morale while offering a fun change from people’s regular routine, improving relationships amongst employees, reducing their stress, isolation and loneliness. The end result is healthier motivated employees who will be more productive. In addition, highly engaged employees need less effort to manage.
Let us help you in setting up virtual games, celebrations and/or tastings. At The Sonic Crew, we are committed to ensuring stress free entertainment for your and your team members.
What are you doing to improve morale and re-energize your teams? Share your ideas in the comments below.