Money & Business

Five Ways to Have Fun With Remote Colleagues That Aren’t Just Another Happy Hour

By / Nov 17, 2020 (vm/E+/Getty Images Plus)

As months of remote work go by, organizations are ready to find new ways to engage employees. Consider these activities to help virtual team members connect with one another.

Back in March, organizations had to think of clever ways to connect coworkers as they transitioned to working from home. Thus, the virtual happy hour was born. But for some, the novelty of this activity has vanished after months of remote work.

Yet social activities are still important in combating feelings of isolation among those working from home. Consider these five fun approaches as you plan future virtual team-building experiences.

Three Minutes of Nerd

Put a twist on show-and-tell: Have everyone come prepared to talk for three minutes about something they “nerd out” about. Star Wars, baking, computer programming, craft beer—anything goes! (Props welcomed.) Understanding interests is an important part of building relationships, so employees are likely to make connections as they discuss things they’re passionate about.

Taste Test

Send participants a “taste test” kit with three different brands or varieties of a snack—such as a chocolate bar or potato chips—to taste together and take notes. This offers a new dimension, adding a physical component to a virtual setting.

Another taste-testing activity is to compare name brands to generic alternatives to see if the popular brands live up to their reputations.

Worth a Thousand Words

Get your team’s creative juices flowing with drawing activities. Try a blind drawing exercise, where one person describes an image taken from a random image generator while other team members attempt to draw the image. The catch: The speakers can’t say what the image is, so they are forced to use descriptions, like “wavy lines in background” to describe a mountainous landscape. If you want to turn it into a competition, do it Pictionary-style and ask participants to draw pictures while separate teams guess what the picture is—whichever team makes more correct guesses wins.

Play these games often enough and your workforce might become more productive—studies show that drawing can sharpen memory, improve concentration, and relieve stress.

Virtual Escape Room

The popular in-person experience has gone virtual, allowing teams to cooperatively solve puzzles from home. There are a host of virtual escape rooms to choose from: You can figure out how to jump off a runaway train in the nick of time, or see if you can evacuate from a damaged space station with no gravity and no power. Whatever the adventure, virtual teams will bond over conquering these challenges together.

PowerPoint Karaoke

Put your coworkers’ presentation skills to the test with PowerPoint karaoke. Participants deliver an on-the-spot presentation based on slides they’ve never seen before—and hilarity often ensues. Hold a video meeting with your usual happy-hour group, and select a new person each time to be the presenter.

Silliness aside, this activity can also help employees to build their presenting skills by learning to improvise in front of an audience.

Michael Hickey

Michael Hickey is a contributor to Associations Now. More »

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