Working remotely through the COVID-19 pandemic has presented numerous challenges for employees and employers alike. Outside of equipping employees to balance their work responsibilities and their family obligations in this new normal, a major challenge for employers is maintaining a sense of comradery within their teams.
Many remote workers (myself included!) are missing the social element of their job. The day-to-day socialization of driving into an office, grabbing a cup of coffee in a shared kitchen space, and catching up with co-workers was just routine – until, of course, 2020 came along.
Besides the impact this isolation can have on our mental health, this disconnect also makes it easier for employees to disengage with their role. From an organizational standpoint, that disconnect could harm productivity and negatively impact organizational success.
So, without this critical social element, how can organizations make their employees feel purposeful, engaged, and – frankly – not so alone?
The key is getting creative with how we connect remotely. Here are a few examples of how Invoice Cloud has worked to foster a team environment with virtual activities.
1. Virtual games
Who says work can’t be all fun and games? Incorporating games into virtual meetings or even dedicating time just for games is a fun way to engage your team. Plus, the options are limitless.
Some Invoice Cloud teams prefer using online platforms to play games like Kahoot, bingo, or Jeopardy. Other teams prefer to run the games themselves by challenging their teammates to “two truths and a lie,” “Guess Who” with co-worker baby photos, or – an Invoice Cloud favorite – weekly trivia.
If you’re looking to take your gameplay a step further, try team building games like murder mystery parties, scavenger hunts, or virtual escape rooms. Solving a more intricate puzzle isn’t just fun, it also fosters a sense of teamwork we may be sorely lacking in isolation.
2. Virtual yoga class
Not only does team yoga encourage healthy movement in a time when we’ve never been so acquainted with our couches, yoga also puts an important emphasis on employee mental health in this stressful time.
At Invoice Cloud, one team holds monthly virtual yoga sessions, where team members take turns selecting yoga videos and sharing them over Zoom. This is a simple way to connect your team while also creating a space for employees to practice a little self-care.
3. Team lunches & happy hours
It cannot be understated: working where you live can make it challenging to draw a line between your workspace and your relaxation space. When the line becomes blurred in this way, remote employees can sometimes feel they are constantly working. By scheduling team lunches or regular “happy hours,” you can encourage team bonding while also working some decompression time into your team’s schedule.
4. Create a virtual space to hang out
One Invoice Cloud manager regularly turns their personal Zoom into a designated space for their team to “hang out” while working. They disable all waiting room configurations, so anyone who clicks the Zoom link is automatically in and doesn’t need to wait for anyone to start the call.
This is a simple way to offer a social, collaborative space for your team. You can play music, catch up, or even get to know new team members in this casual, virtual space.
5. Gift exchange
Good news – there are no time or seasonal constraints for a team gift exchange! If there’s no upcoming occasion, consider a gift-giving prompt like “something to make a teammate smile” or “something to make remote working easier for a teammate.”
Waiting on a gift is a delightful thing for your co-workers to look forward to and it gives you all an excuse to throw a virtual gift opening party a few weeks later!
6. “Personal mixtape”
If music has helped you through this difficult year, consider giving the gift of music to your team. On a weekly or monthly basis, take turns creating a playlist to share with the team. It can be a playlist of songs you’re feeling especially inspired by or tunes that help make the workday better.
One Invoice Cloud team even turns music sharing into a game – once a week, each person submits an anonymous song, leaving their teammates to guess who submitted which track.
We love our contests here at Invoice Cloud! A few recent examples from the holiday season have been an ugly sweater contest and a homemade ornament competition – and, of course, there’s always a prize for the winner.
8. Encourage sharing pictures of daily life & events
It might feel like “show and tell,” but what’s so bad about that? Encouraging employees to share pictures of their daily life is a great way to help everyone stay connected. And it doesn’t have to stop at your team!
At Invoice Cloud, we have our #InvoiceCloudatHome channel on Slack, where we share DIY projects, recipes we’ve tried, and photos of loved ones making the best of our at-home lives.
This is a challenging time for all of us, on a professional and a personal level. If you’re searching a team that works to foster fun in its employee community – whether it’s in-person or online – check out Invoice Cloud’s open positions here.