Just imagine being in a remote company that offers absolutely no engagement initiatives. You take your laptop, discuss tasks, complete them, and there, your workday is over.
There are humans behind the laptop, and well, “man is a social animal.” It seems pretty obvious that engagement and interaction are necessary, whether you’re in an office, hybrid, or remote environment. A well-engaged environment also enhances employees’ productivity on a daily basis.
What is a Virtual Retreat?
A virtual retreat is a team event where all team members join in a video call and interact. These discussions can be around work, understanding each other better, or simply having fun.
After the pandemic began, while many companies asked employees to come back to the office, many companies decided to go remote permanently.
Of course, engaging employees require less effort in a physical workspace. But remember, it is not impossible in a remote one too. So here is when these virtual staff retreat ideas come more into the picture.
How about we help you reduce the effort of finding those ideas as well?
Given are some virtual retreat ideas and games you can conduct in your organization without needing to be present physically. Just share a Zoom/Google meet link, and you are good to go.
Virtual Retreat Ideas for your Organization
Virtual Awards Night
Ask employees to be fully decked up as they might be one of the winners of the special *your company name here* awards, just like the Dundies, but virtual.
Here are a few award categories you can keep:
- The On the Dot person of the year
- The social butterfly
- The Influencer
- The coolest manager
- Who WILL BE a good manager?
- The team player
The best part is that this game highlights you for the qualities you have as well. For instance, imagine people voting for you for “Who will be a good manager?”. Well, you know what we are indicating here. It is one of the most trendy and creative virtual retreat ideas.
A Wellness Workshop
Such a great way to ensure that your employees bond and take care of their health as well. It can be yoga, Zumba, or even a workout session. Remote work means lesser physical activities as well. Resolve this issue for your employees.
I am Grateful
Another one of the most effective remote offsite ideas, here, you have to ask every team member to talk about the colleague(s) they are the most grateful for and why. It serves two purposes- the first is resolving the main motive of engagement, and the second is ensuring that the employees feel recognized and appreciated by their peers.
Host a virtual coffee session where you and your colleagues discuss world matters over a cup of coffee and, of course, a zoom link.
Trivia’s Virtual Coffee makes it much more convenient and exciting when it pairs you up with any colleague randomly. A cherry on the top, it also offers ice-breaking questions to remove the awkwardness in the beginning.
My Favorite book/movie
Let’s face it, not everyone is a movie buff or a bookworm. While some people prefer reading books, others prefer a shorter and visual version of it, that is, movies. So this idea will allow everyone to talk about their favorite films and books, add what they like about them, learnings, etc. Your listeners will be busy creating a list of the new books they would like to read or the next movie they will be downloading.
What a fun way to understand each other’s preferences
Yes, not everyone has great drawing skills. And that is what makes a game of Pictionary more fun. Bring out the artist hiding within you and indulge in an exciting round of drawing and guessing.
How well do you know your teammates? Let’s test that out.
Guess Who is a game where the host describes certain facts about each employee without actually mentioning the names. The job of the rest of the team is to guess who this person will be.
This game will help you know more about your colleagues, their interests, and maybe some fun facts about them as well.
Taking Group Photos
There would have been plenty of “office time” selfies and photos had your workspace been physical.
Why deprive yourself of those fun times during work just because you are in a remote organization? Get in a video call with your colleagues to create the funniest poses and expressions. Take screenshots and tell everyone what a fun organization you are a part of. These kinds of zoom retreat ideas help you get an in-office experience from the comfort of your home.
A tip for the employers: this activity ensures great employer branding when your employees put these photos up on social platforms.
Two truths and a lie
This game brings out the wittiest minds when your teammates try to trick you. Each person is supposed to mention three facts about themselves. Now it is your turn to guess which of the two facts are correct and which one is a lie,
It is a perfect icebreaker game that allows you to understand your teammates’ personalities better.
Virtual scavenger hunt
Remove all awkwardness as you make people run across their rooms to find the thing you mentioned.
How does this game work? You say the name of a common thing people can find in their house, and there, the one who brings it first wins. For instance, say “orange” and see people running to their kitchens to find an orange first. It is one of the most fun and happening virtual offsite ideas.
If these games seem too much work, simply organize a team lunch. People can either order in or even sit with their regular meals and interact with each other.
Would you rather?
“Would you rather sleep in and have a lazy Friday or party your way till it is Saturday?
Similarly, would you rather work from a beach or simply take some paid time off from home?”
What a perfect way to understand what your teammates prefer! You might as well find someone with the same preferences as yours. Who knows, you all might end up working from a beach together.
The favorite delicacy of * teammate’s name*? What is their favorite vacation spot? The name of their favorite book?
Answer all such questions about your teammates to rate how well you know them.
These ideas for virtual retreats land as a major help in making your remote employees understand each other better and enhance the overall experience. You will be able to ensure that they are well-connected to each other even after being distributed in all different corners of the country or even the world.
Remote working can be tricky, but it also gives you the exposure to know people from different backgrounds and cultures, which would not be possible with everyone being from the same place. Hence, it is necessary to cherish this environment and make the best use of it through these virtual team retreat ideas.
How do you plan a virtual retreat?
Here are a few things to keep in mind while planning a retreat:
- Communicate the agenda and time of the meeting beforehand and in all communication channels to let people plan.
- Brainstorm ideas.
- Keep it fun: the point is to know each other and enjoy. Work related conversations happen the entire day.
- Keep a tab on how many people are joining the retreat. Prepare activities according to that.
- Allow breaks: Sitting in one place for long can be tiresome. Allow frequent, short breaks to employees to refresh themselves.
What does a virtual retreat look like?
First thing to keep in mind while planning a virtual retreat is to avoid screen sharing. It gives a presentation look creating an environment of forced consumption. Create a timeline of fun events and add a Zoom link where everyone can join in. Request people to switch their cameras on (only if they are comfortable to do so) and start your events. Remember selecting hosts for the meeting prior to the retreat.
Can a retreat be virtual?
Yes! The entire article gives an overview of why a virtual retreat is completely possible and how you can make it as happening as possible.
How long is a virtual retreat?
Virtual retreats should offer 1-1.5 hours of activities including the frequent breaks. Keeping it longer can make it monotonous.
How do you lead an online retreat?
When you are the host of the virtual retreat, you have to ensure all the above mentioned points. Along with that:
- Give everyone a warm welcome when they start joining in.
- Give a brief introduction about yourself and the retreat.
- Explain the rules of the activity to hold.
- Keep a timing which can be suitable to majority of the people.
- Keep prize for the participants if possible. This helps in getting more people to join.