Stay Connected In A Disconnected World
The last several months have had an enormous impact on the workforce globally. Offices around the world have shifted from physical offices with employees seeing each other on a daily basis to remote offices where the only interaction is done via a computer screen on a Zoom call, WebEx, Microsoft Teams virtual meeting, you get the picture… According to a study done by Stanford in June of 2020, 42 percent of the U.S. labor force is now working from home full-time!
As someone who has transitioned from a physical office to a virtual office, I recognize that there are quite a few benefits to working remotely. For instance, the only traffic I now fight in the morning is foot traffic on the rare day when my husband and I fight to see who can claim the shower first! But even with the increased flexibility and work/life balance, there are times where I, like many remote employees, feel extremely isolated from my team.
Remote Employees are Disconnected
Like many others who have switched to a virtual working environment, I miss connecting with my colleagues face to face. I miss the days when our team could chat in the breakroom over lunch while bonding over our favorite TV show. Rather than logging in to yet another Google Meet for a special announcement, I wish we could recognize our team’s accomplishments in person.
According to an article published by Inc.com in July of 2020, “Only 17 percent of employees give their company an exceptional rating for employee experience. What’s more, employees are twice as likely to rate their company poorly compared to those on the HR team, suggesting a considerable disconnect in perceived employee experience versus reality.”
Worldwide virtual teams and remote employees are all craving “real” and authentic connections. But the reality is that work from home life isn’t going anywhere.
Keeping Virtual Employees Engaged is Critical to an Organization’s Success
Although remote employees can be extremely productive, virtual teams face unique challenges that are often overlooked. With less control of the workplace environment, companies are facing workplace interruptions (cue barking dogs) that are out of their control. Organizations and leaders must work harder than ever to capture and keep the attention of their workforce.
When planning your next virtual, company-wide meeting, remember to include opportunities for colleagues to connect with those they do not work with on a daily basis. Remember that socializing with peers is part of employees’ well-being. Take a break from your meeting content and allow attendees to network with one another. Schedule a time for them to share exciting updates on ongoing projects, and best practices that can be adopted by other departments.
In addition to that, virtual team building activities should be a regular part of your virtual meetings. Team building activities are drivers of employee engagement and provide your team with the chance to bond with one another on a personal level. In turn, these moments of interaction help employees strengthen their working relationship, increasing their level of trust with one another, and most of all, it prevents them from feeling disconnected.
Creating Moments for Colleagues to Connect
The best teams believe in their company’s mission and they also believe in each other. In the virtual working world, it’s vital to create opportunities for teams to have shared experiences. During your next virtual meeting, plan a virtual activity such as our Connections Team Challenge. During this remote game, employees are divided into teams who must work together to complete a series of challenges that revolve around connecting. From photo challenges – where teams must combine their faces on their “Brady Bunch” Zoom boxes to form just one – to trivia challenges and more, teams will actually come together while working remotely.
Whether it’s a virtual team building activity like Connections Team Challenge or a virtual escape room, moments for employee engagement should be done regularly. Let’s face it, virtual offices are here to stay. It is important now more than ever that companies focus on creating virtual engagement opportunities. Organizations need to keep their workforce connected with their business, but most importantly, with one another.