As the new normal of working from home started, the ESFP in me missed out on serendipity, micro-moments of connection, and the seemingly effortless conversations that ensue when you are in a shared space.
I started hosting 9 pm daily Zoom calls to gather friends and their friends who may have wanted a break from their monotonous lives indoors, just like me. One thing led to the other, and soon I was hosting Remote Games – virtual employee engagement activities for companies.
Enabling a space where people feel welcomed, heard, and seen while having fun and making memories – that’s what Remote Games is all about.
Typically a 50-minute long Zoom call, with a usual group size of 20 people, is one way of bringing people together in a non-work environment while working from home. The duration can be trimmed down and the number of attendees can go higher any day.
The formats are designed in a way to encourage participants to show a personal side of their lives and bring themselves fully to the session. With people working from home, there has never been a better way to get to know them beyond their work titles.
From Scavenger Hunt to 7-second drawings, memory games to digital escape room, connection club to empathy circle, each one leaves people feeling energized and refueled with shared experiences by the end of the session.
Speaking of sessions, here are some of the key learnings so far:
Leading by example
When the leaders show up on the call, everyone looks forward to it, and it’s fun for all. However, when fun turns into something only the juniors or freshers do, it is perceived as trivial and leads to drop-offs.
In a classic show of solidarity, a team leader who was recently assigned to one more department in the same organization showed up on two different calls – one each for both the departments.
For those still working on mobile data, it’s a challenge to have them on video throughout the call. It turns out it’s the same for their company Town Halls too. When a majority of the people are off video, it turns into a boring monologue.
Work will be never-ending, Yet people get pulled away in the name of employee engagement activities in the offline world.
With online, it’s a different ball game because you cannot pull them out of their setup. So it better be extremely engaging for people to pay undivided attention.
Late evening on a weekday or weekend slots do not work because these are meant for people and their personal lives. At the same time, the middle of the day may not work for certain teams, says Finance, where they may be dealing with the banks at that hour.
Breaking the ice
New hires find it a great avenue to get to know their colleagues in a non-work environment. It comes as a fresh breath of air for those who have joined in the post-Covid era and have never been to the physical office location.
When it’s a company-wide event, you may see only 10% turnout because everyone thinks someone else will show up, and it’s not really for them. However, when it’s a team event, it’s usually an 80% turnout as people show up for each other.
Play and creativity
Fun and game allow everyone permission to be imperfect and make mistakes. It’s no longer a mistake when you learn and improve, isn’t it?
For a scavenger hunt session, I had a team show showcase their creative selves with F for Fire (literally, Aamir Khan’s ‘Aati kya Khandaala’ style) and Y for Yolk (they broke an egg right there to win points).
Life is about coming together and making memories. We now have this figured, digitally.
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