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How to find and plan fun events for your teams in a remote environment

How to find and plan fun events for your teams in a remote environment

Nov 22, 2021 · 7 MIN READ

With 2021 coming to a close, many of us have now been working fully remote for nearly two years. Something we originally thought would be temporary, just a two-week break from the office, has turned into our new way of working. 

Many companies relied heavily on in-office perks and benefits to retain talent and build culture. Some popular benefits included happy hours, free snacks in the kitchen, game rooms, and on-site gyms. Not only were these attractive benefits for employees, but these were primary avenues for coworkers to connect, collaborate, and build relationships with one another. 

A downside of remote work is that we’ve seen an increase in employee burnout. According to a study by Monster in 2020, over two-thirds (69%) of employees are experiencing burnout while working from home. The culture and benefits that once kept employees engaged at work and provided balance are no longer part of the day-to-day work experience. 

So, how can companies continue to foster a strong culture, retain talent, prevent burnout, and keep those coworker connections alive in a fully remote environment? 

Well, that’s what we’re going to walk you through today. Companies now have to adapt to this new way of working and building community at work. Just because we’re working in a remote environment, not an office environment, doesn’t mean those events are gone; it just means you have to take a new approach. 

In this article, we’ll identify ways that you can find and plan fun events for your company and teams in a remote environment. Let’s get started!

How to find virtual activities for your employees

In the office, you would have get-togethers, happy hours, and game nights. Those events weren’t a heavy lift because you were all already together in the same place at the same time. 

Additionally, you would plan annual events such as holiday parties, summer outings, philanthropy days, and more. While those required more effort and planning, it was still easier to plan with a concrete timeline and location.

Get feedback from your team

When planning events, you need to listen to your employees. Historically, it was a habit that we would fit our lives into our workday. Now, we fit our workday into our daily lives. 

When researching which events you should plan, ask your internal stakeholders—your employees, for their insight before planning.

You should explore: 

  • What types of events do your employees want to participate in?
  • Do they want to meet up in person or have events be fully remote? 
  • What days or times work best for them? 
  • How frequently do they want to participate?  

Gathering insight on activities, events, and time commitment will help you get higher participation from your employees.

Pair internal feedback with external research

Conducting a quick Google search can provide you with many options for what other companies are doing to plan fun events in a remote environment. 

Beyond reading other blogs, tap into your own network. Ask your LinkedIn connections, run a poll on Twitter, or text a friend to get ideas you might not find elsewhere.

Recreate in-person events, virtually

Find what worked for you pre-pandemic, and make it work for you now. Those happy hours and game nights don’t need to be a thing of the past. You can take the events that your employees loved and put a new, virtual spin on them.

There are virtual options for many board games, trivia games, and other games that have grown in popularity in recent years, such as Among Us and Jackbox Games. You can also recreate the happy hour by combining it with a game night or just offering a virtual hang out to your team—more on that later!

Three ways to build employee participation

Make it a competition

Everyone loves a little competition, right? You can do physical competitions, such as virtual races, or something more on the creative side, such as photo competitions. 

Mikita Mikado, CEO of PandaDoc, engaged his employees in a competition that focuses on physical health. “There’s been a competition over Slack, where the team was divided into small groups, and we counted the number of exercises that each team posted within the Slack channel,” shared Mikado. Whichever team participated in the most physical activity won, and whichever team lost had to run a 5k. 

It’s a great way for employees to work together, build each other up, and foster new relationships with coworkers.

Plan all-inclusive events

While competitions are fun for some, they might not be fun for all. If you want to keep more employees engaged, you need to have a wide range of events that your employees can participate in. 

A great starting place here is building off your employee feedback. Let’s say you got feedback that some employees want to start a book club, some want more happy hours, and others want to take virtual classes—that’s three great activities you can launch for your employees. 

  • Book clubs can be started at any time. Announce the book club to your teams and identify one or two people who want to be the book club leaders. From there, your employees can choose which book (or books) they want to read and kick off the discussion!
  • For those who want more happy hours, you can set up standing Zoom meetings with your company, potentially at a similar time when you used to have happy hours in person. It can be themed, you can do events such as game night or trivia, or you can just have coworkers pop in to socialize for as long or as little as they want.
  • Virtual classes could be professional skill-building or something non-work-related like a virtual cooking class, virtual paint night, or virtual yoga class. There is also an opportunity to mix up both skills-based and fun classes so that you don’t have to limit your employees. 

These examples are not an exhaustive list, but it is important to include all of your employees in virtual (and in-person) events. We’re all human, and we all have different likes and dislikes, which makes getting to know one another much more exciting!

Highlight employee accomplishments

No matter what activity or event you’re planning for your team is, don’t forget to give your employees the recognition they deserve. We’re very used to acknowledging when a coworker does a great job on a project, but what about when they do a great job on a non-work-related activity? 

Encourage your employees to highlight their personal accomplishments and for your employees to acknowledge each other’s accomplishments. An easy way to do this is to create a Slack channel for employees to give each other kudos. That way, your employees can acknowledge one another, and it provides more opportunities for employees to bond over common interests. 

By providing your employees different options for engaging with one another based on personal interests, you’re opening doors for your employees to get to know one another outside of work. Not only that, but you’re reinventing your company culture in our new remote world. Our workplaces may all be remote, but there are still plenty of opportunities for companies to plan fun events for their teams in a remote environment; you just need to know where to look.


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