Do you offer your employees the opportunity to work remotely? Are you an employee who works from home? Working remotely is a great perk, but what does it do for team-building and overall employee morale?
It is a subject that some employers and employees have overlooked until recently. Allowing employees to work remotely has the potential to detract from company culture. Most companies build their culture based on the workplace atmosphere, but that is hard to do when employees work from home.
Now many employers are faced with the task of creating employee engagement remotely. The culture of the company has to extend to those who do not come into the office. To do this, employers are looking at new ways to bring employees together via innovative apps and other digital opportunities.
Bonding games are one way to achieve their desired goal. Continue reading for more information on helping remote employees break the ice.
What You Will Need For Your Bonding Games
Before you get started in planning your activities, make sure your employees have access to online conferencing and a group chat. Additional apps may come into play. You will also need to be strategic in scheduling if employees are in different time zones.
Remember, virtual icebreakers are about building camaraderie among employees and being inclusive. You should not introduce games that are intrusive and cross professional/personal boundaries.
1. Where In The World Are My Co-workers
This employee bonding game works well for organizations with employees in different locations. It is also fun for companies with multiple locations in places where employees may be required to travel to.
In this game, the employer creates an interactive online map. Employees then tag the city and state where they are located. To add to the game employees is encouraged to list their favorite places and things-to-do in their city.
If there are popular upcoming events, they can add those also.
This is one game that can be ongoing. If an employee visits a city, he can take a photo at one of the places or events listed and share it with the group.
2. Make It a Coffee Date
Get out of the house for bonding with your remote co-workers. Instead of bringing virtual employees into the local office for a morning meeting, employers arrange for employees to meet at a local coffee shop.
Employees bring their laptops to log-in to programs like Google Hang-out or Livestream. They can not only mingle with local co-workers but also interact with those from other locations. Managers can plan to join employees at coffee shops.
What makes this bonding opportunity so much full is that employees meet in person and get a chance to interact with their managers. It is a way to reinforce the company culture in a fun way.
Managers can also do giveaways and offer incentives to those in attendance.
3. Get Moving
Many employers offer some type of fitness opportunity to employees. It could be a discount to a local gym or access to an on-site fitness center.
When employees work from home they may be less likely to utilize these benefits. The employee bonding can take place in the form of games and incentives to get employees moving.
Employers can give employees a Fit-bit or other activity tracking device to use to record their movement.
Virtual spaces can be set-up on social media sites like Workplace by Facebook. Employees are encouraged to post videos or photos of them on a morning run, outside playing with their kids, or walking their dog. Extra points could be given to those participating in health awareness activities.
Everyone is encouraged to like and comment on posts. At the end of the month, employees can be entered to win prizes based on participation and number of engagements on their photos and videos.
4. Virtual Scavenger Hunts
Virtual office games are limitless. For this one, employees can work independently or as teams. Since the goal is to build camaraderie between remote employees, we suggest using it as a team-building exercise.
Create a list of items that the teams must locate. Because this will be a digital version of the popular game, the universe is the limit. Employees are given clues and then work together to locate the items.
It can be things in their home or images found on the internet. They post their findings on a designated site. The first team to successfully locate all of the items on the list wins.
If you are a local company, you may ask teams to meet for a group photo as part of the game.
5. Virtual Shout-outs and Icebreakers
One concern companies have when their employees work virtually is that they will not build the same relationships they would if they worked in the office. One way to address this concern is to set aside time at the start of meetings for shout-outs and icebreakers.
Virtual icebreakers work best in small groups at team meetings. Create an icebreaker that everyone on the video conference can participate in.
Ideas include having employees share an experience relating to a specific topic. Examples can include sharing an interesting or strange story. Or talk about how they reduce stress throughout the day.
Shout-outs are a good icebreaker also. With shout-outs, each team member acknowledges something positive a co-worker did to help them on a project. These can be as simple as replying to an email or just being available to answer a question.
Do These Suggestions Have You Thinking of Ways To Improve Employee Bonding?
As the workplace has evolved and working remotely grows in popularity, employers will need to focus more on getting virtual employees engaged.
Bonding games may seem like a waste of time. In reality it is no different than activities employers use at their offices to build employee morale
Employees appreciate the ability to work from home, but they do not want to be forgotten in the process. Virtual office games can bridge the gap.
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