Apparently “The Office” might get a modern reboot. What would that realistically look like? Dwight in a fastidious home office, his stapler jello-free; Jim and Pam sharing knowing looks on Zoom; Michael standing up during a virtual meeting, exposing his less-than-professional boxers.
That show sounds very different (and less enjoyable) than the original. The same can be true for real-life remote work. Dispersed teams often miss out on fun activities that happen in person, like impromptu lunches or water break chats.
This impact isn’t inevitable, but it requires intentional, creative thinking to help employees feel connected as part of remote teams. Below, we share some unique ideas that real companies use to keep remote employees engaged.
Understanding the challenges of a dispersed workforce
In order to solve the challenges remote workers face, let’s take a look at what those challenges are. These can be exacerbated for coworkers working across time zones, who can’t communicate in real-time.
- Lack of face-to-face interaction
- Communication barriers
- Potential feelings of isolation and disconnection
- Lack of perks one normally gets at the office
Team leaders need to address these challenges to keep employees productive and engaged. Aside from the creative ideas below, basic communication tools have a significant impact on day-to-day remote culture. Check out this article to learn how to improve remote team communication.
Unique ideas for making work exciting in a dispersed workforce
- Virtual theme days
Organize virtual theme days to dress up, share photos, and chat about non-work topics. Whether it’s wacky hat day, bring-your-kid-to-work day, or something else, these lighthearted themes get conversation flowing.
Ex: Google’s dog-centered “Doogler” group held a virtual pet parade over Google Meet.
- Recipe exchange
Set up a virtual recipe exchange where employees share their best dishes. With enough time and planning, you could even have team members trade and test each other’s recipes.
Ex: Here at GoProfiles, we upload favorite recipes to a shared Drive. My recommendation? This vegan Thai noodle salad (pro tip: make double the amount of peanut sauce).
- Virtual escape room challenges
Arrange virtual escape room challenges to promote teamwork, problem-solving, and excitement among a dispersed workforce.
Ex: Quizbreaker’s team took 55 minutes to rescue mad billionaire Ilan Tusk from his own invention in this Modern Genius escape game.
- Remote talent show
Host a virtual talent show where employees share their hobbies and talents, creating a fun and inclusive atmosphere.
Ex: Zapier’s Handcraft Hangout gives people a space to show off their crafting skills. Our company held a similar showcase at our fun virtual offsite event. Learn how to plan your own virtual offsite to boost company culture while saving money.
- Online game tournaments
Set up online game tournaments, such as trivia or multiplayer games, to encourage friendly competition and social interaction.
Ex: Atlassian plays a low-tech game they call .gif battles, where players compete to submit the best gif for a given prompt. Another competition they have? Messy-desk photo contests.
Fun remote work perks & benefits
⏱️ Flexible work hours
Offer flexible work hours to accommodate different time zones and work preferences. This lets employees maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Ex: DuckDuckGo has no core hours, allowing employees to work wherever, whenever and trusting them to get the job done on their own schedule.
💪 Virtual fitness classes
Provide virtual fitness classes or wellness sessions to promote employee well-being and encourage active breaks.
Ex: Backbone provides a monthly wellness allowance that employees can use for gym memberships, yoga classes, meditation, and more.
🎟️ Subscription services
Offer subscriptions to entertainment platforms, streaming services, or online courses to provide opportunities for relaxation and professional development.
Ex: Square Root provides an annual learning stipend through its Learn Anything program.
Make up for missed in-person perks with reimbursements for coffee & tea, wifi, and desk equipment & tech that employees would usually get in an office.
Ex: Automattic provides employees with a coworking allowance for everything from home office setup to lattes at the local cafe.
How GoProfiles fosters remote connections
The ideas above require time and planning energy, which, let’s be honest, are in short supply already. For a hands-free solution that automatically engages employees working from home, try GoProfiles.
This people platform helps dispersed teams learn about each other’s hobbies, interests, locations, roles, and more on personalized profiles. The org chart and directory provide useful information, while the peer recognition badges encourage a positive culture of gratitude and hard work.
GoProfiles also enables employee location mapping to make in-person meetups more feasible. Employees at fabric use this feature to build interpersonal connections among their dispersed workforce.
Energize your dispersed workforce with GoProfiles
No matter how you create remote culture, any effort to get to know your coworkers pays off in engagement, productivity, and overall job satisfaction. Schedule a demo today to learn how GoProfiles can energize your dispersed workforce.