As the world quickly changed for us over the past few months, companies have had to move all their employees to a work from home model. With no end in sight for when teams will go back to their day-to-day in-office routines, managers have had to strategize innovative ways to keep their employees engaged and connected to their colleagues. While most of us are spending are days jumping from one Zoom call to the next, setting time aside for socializing and non-work connection is important to keeping up your company morale and culture during these uncertain times.
We have been working closely with many of our clients to provide exciting ways to engage with their peers that can continue to contribute to their employees mental health professionally and personally. Even though everyone is stuck at home, there's plenty of ways to continue to bond with your team and promote company culture.
Similarly you can do this with food! So many restaurants have upped their takeout and delivery game during this time, so support a local restaurant and send everyone lunch one day to enjoy together over Zoom. Keep the conversation light and non-work related as-if you were sitting in the break room together.
Personalize Zoom Backdrops
At this point we're all joking about the "books" that everyone on CNN must have in their background when conducting an interview. Next time you have a staff meeting, as everyone to dress up the view behind them to reflect their personality. Whether it's a favorite sports team or a band they love, encourage them to use it as an opportunity to share something new about themselves with their coworkers.
Book or Movie Club
Get a Pro to Teach a Class
Many small business owners and freelancers right now are looking for gigs to teach online. Hire a yoga teacher to teach a Friday morning class. Find a chef to do a cooking demonstration. Even an art class! So many people are home looking for new hobbies so why not make it an opportunity for you connect your employees!
HACK: Perhaps one of your employees has an hidden talent they can share with the team!
Play a Game
Many virtual game apps have popped up on the market since quarantine. Houseparty is an App with a bunch of different apps or you can coordinate your own trivia or Bingo game! Everyone is missing their bar nights so bring everyone together for a virtual one!
This unique time in our history has pushed organizations to make difficult decisions in regards to events that promote and support the livelihood of their business. Many companies rely on networking events, conventions, conferences etc to sell their products, establish new connections, get updates on their products out to their customers and more. As we adapt to a new normal, companies are pushed to adapt their models to serve these needs virtually and find creative methods to engage and connect with their customers and partners.
We have been working hard with our clients over the past months to re-evaluate plans for upcoming events and evaluate how and if we can make them valuable in a virtual setting. It's important to spend time looking at your business model and ensuring that it will be worth both your time and the customers to logon and engage. While we are all balancing various roles at home - working full-time, teaching our children, taking care of loved ones etc - our time is more valuable than ever.
The other side of this is that we are finding people are more eager to socialize than ever. Virtual meetings have seen an uptick in attendance in comparison with in person event with everyone being stuck at home, eager to compare ideas, stories and feelings. Virtually meetings done right can be more beneficial than ever. We've taken some time to put together some Dos and Don'ts for Hosting Virtual Meetings and ideas to engage your audiences further:
Do a Test Run:
If you aren't comfortable with a virtual meeting platform (Zoom, Google Hangouts etc) ensure you take some time to play around with it before you host your event. This will allow you to get familiar with all the tools and will prepare you to answer questions from anyone who may not know how to use it. Things to be sure to know: how to mute/unmute, where the chat box is, how to turn audio/video on/off, and how to share your screen.
Think About How You Want People to Interact
Put together a plan for your meeting and establish how you want your attendees to interact. Do you prefer everyone to join via video? If it's an interactive type of event with a smaller group of people - video is recommended to make it more personal! If it's more presentation focused and attendees will be listening in, most guests may just be joining in via audio. Perhaps you want people to submit questions and comments in to the chat and you will read? Think this through so you can provide people with guidelines at the beginning of your meeting.
Make it Fun!
Let's be honest, everyone's calendars are full of Zoom meetings and conference call these days. Finding a way to set your meeting a part from their schedule will leave a lasting impression. There are lots of ways to do this depending on the format and purpose of your meeting:
Have. A. Plan. Even if it is a small meeting - having an Agenda or notes for topics and ideas is key. When having a group of people together virtually, there isn't as much organic conversation as in person so having some leads ready incase crickets is key!
Assume Everyone Knows How to Join
While most people are connecting through virtual meetings, don't assume everyone knows how to join a virtual meeting. Compiling detailed instructions in how to join the meeting, join audio/video etc will ensure people don't have any issues and join on time.
Make It Open!
Be sure to add a password for people to enter the Meeting room to ensure that you don't get crashed by any unwanted parties. Having a registration process that can gather information for guests if you add an open invitations and providing them the password after that is received will keep it a secure and safe Meeting.
Kelly is a Corporate Event Planner and the Founder of 8 Stratton Events with over 10 years of experience working with innovative and iconic organizations all over the country. Kelly lives with her husband Daniel and their dog Lucy in their home in Boston.
"We would highly recommend her for anyone who is looking to have someone create their vision and be able to execute it with little oversight knowing it's going to come out perfect."
- Jamie at Brookfield Properties -
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