The relationships we make with coworkers can last a lifetime and are beneficial to the culture of the workplace. There are multiple benefits to strong workplace relationships, but it’s challenging to keep your employees and coworkers connected if many or all of them are working remotely.
Enter: the virtual happy hour! You probably already engage with your team in online meetings to discuss issues about work, but a virtual happy hour gives team members to connect without discussing work issues. It’s a fun way to let workers connect without taking away from business time.
Not sure how to start? Here are a couple of tips to get you going.
How to meet
If you already connect with your team through some type of video networking service, keep using the same one for your happy hour. The less work employees need to do to engage, the more likely they will be to show up. They already have an account and know how everything works, so adding your happy hour will be no problem for them.
When scheduling your happy hour, try to accommodate the schedules of your team, if possible. Employees with young children will probably appreciate it if the meeting time is after their little ones are in bed. Most employees would also probably prefer not to have work obligations on the weekend. If possible, set up two different times on different days and allow employees to choose which one works best for them.
A fun way to give your team something to talk about it during happy hour is to deliver samples for everyone to try during the meeting. A local microbrewery gives your team members a chance to sample what local merchants have to offer and discuss how they like each beer. This serves two purposes – providing a drink encourages employees to attend, and it gives employees something to talk about if conversation topics dry up.
Have a backup plan
If you find there’s a lot of silence during your meetings, have a few open-ended questions in your back pocket that you can ask to encourage the conversation to continue. Hopefully the conversation will move organically, but if it doesn’t, you’ll be prepared to get things going again. You can also plan for a few of these virtual games to play with your team as well.
Investing in team building is the single best investment a business can make. If you’re trying to run an office remotely for the first time, it can seem like it’s just one more thing on an already too-full plate, but building your team will reap rewards for years to come. Retaining team members saves you money by increasing loyalty, reducing training costs, and keeping your employees happy.
Happy employees are more productive than those who are otherwise. The time you invest in setting up team-building exercises such as these have long-term payouts that will benefit your company in the future.
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