When the global pandemic hit, it accelerated what was already inevitable — the shift to remote work. Nearly 50 million employees in the USA already worked remotely before the pandemic, and that number has only increased.
While remote work overtook in-office jobs faster than anticipated, many managers were already behind on embracing remote work. Instead of extending more benefits to remote workers, managers were bolstering in-office perks. As a result, many of today’s businesses struggle to establish a fun work culture for their remote workers.
But creating a fun work culture is easier than you may think! From virtual coffee breaks to remote team building, there are plenty of easy ways managers can build a fun remote work culture.
How Has Remote Work Changed Company Cultures?
Company culture has always developed naturally in-office, so pushing culture electronically to remote workers might seem like a foreign concept. While there are many positive aspects of remote work, remote employees can slowly lose engagement and loyalty.
Unfortunately, low engagement and loyalty mean employees are more willing to leave your business for a competitor, and likely one that has a fun work culture, even for remote employees. Also, low engagement and loyalty could mean less productivity, less cross-channel collaboration, and lower quality work.
The key to creating a fun remote work culture is to realize that remote workers desire engagement beyond meetings like you might find naturally within an office. Employee engagement is the key to establish a fun and connected work culture.
How To Establish A Fun Remote Work Culture
Here are some clever ways you can increase remote employee engagement and establish a fun work culture.
Copy What Worked In Your Office
Before your workers became remote, what made your business attractive to job applicants? Did you schedule regular happy hours? Did you provide lunch for employees once a week?
Whatever worked in person will probably work from a distance, albeit with some adjustments. If you scheduled regular happy hours, consider getting drink-making kits sent to your employees. You can also organize fun lunches and happy hours by sending DoorDash or UberEats gift cards.
However, you don’t want to inundate your employees with remote events. Workers are probably busy with their work and have their own lives outside of working hours. Set some time aside during the workweek to show your appreciation and let employees connect in a non-work setting. If you established a fun work culture in the office, then use that same event frequency for remote workers.
Integrate Remote Team Building Games And Strategies
If you’ve considered adding remote team building games and activities, you aren’t alone; in fact, there’s been a 2,500% increase in organizational investment in virtual team building since February 2020.
Your employees probably know of virtual games that can be played over video calls. For new employees, ice breakers, such as two truths and a lie, are a classic way to get employee engagement up, especially when dealing with new hires.
Alternatively, to increase engagement over the span of weeks, consider introducing a health challenge, such as a competition of who can get the most steps in during a one-month period.
Other fun ideas include:
- Typing challenges
- Virtual painting and wine
- Seminars and workshops
- Virtual board games
While small, these games give employees something fun to think about, and they’ll eagerly await the next event! This builds a rapport between employees and managers working remotely.
Set Up Virtual Coffee Breaks And Happy Hours
Did you know that 45% of remote workers work more now than they did when they were in the office? With work-life balances becoming blurred by remote work, many employees aren’t sure when they should take a break. For managers, this blurred balance could mean burnt-out employees, leading to higher turnover and lower productivity.
Schedule times for employees to step away from work and interact with each other through virtual coffee breaks and happy hours. These are easy to arrange through tools like LEAD.bot and can lead to better employee engagement.
Virtual coffee breaks are perhaps more important than happy hours. When LEAD.bot connects employees for virtual coffee via Slack and Teams, it pairs workers based on various factors from common interests to skill sharing. Data shows that the one-on-one interaction is more intimate than anything remote workers get during a happy hour, it is something that most remote workers lack in their home offices.
Match Employees Virtually
In your office, employees from different teams might have regularly interacted during breaks or scheduled events. However, virtual employees often get stuck talking to the same team members for months at a time.
Tools like LEAD.bot perform employee matching, connecting employees from different teams. Not only does LEAD.bot help employees connect over shared interests, but cross-team collaboration can help employees learn new skills and lead to innovative ideas.
These virtual meetups could be anything from work-related to casual connections, and you can recreate those water cooler chat or coffee breaks during working hours as a way to stay connected and get to know your co-workers.
Remote Work Is Here To Stay
Even once offices open back up, don’t expect your employees to come back all at once. Despite the downfalls of working from home, a recent survey showed that 61% of workers preferred being remote for various reasons, from shorter commutes to more flexibility. So, instead of fighting the remote work trend, recognize that remote work is here to stay for the long run.
However, this doesn’t mean that managers can allow remote work and ignore company culture. While employees will seek out remote opportunities, the best businesses will go out of their way to arrange fun events for remote workers.
The good news is that remote work cultures aren’t difficult to develop, especially when you choose LEAD.app to facilitate employee engagement.