Why you Need to Keep your Workforce Connected, and How to Socialize in a Socially Distanced World

socially distant work socials

Many businesses that provide social venues/events very quickly pivoted to online solutions when COVID-19 started. Escape rooms became virtual, pub quizzes moved online, and wine tasting can now be conveniently done from home. 

According to Deloitte’s ‘COVID-19 sector heatmap’ for the UK, ‘Hotels, Restaurants, Health & Wellness’ are classified at 1 in terms of COVID impact which indicates ‘High impact on businesses trading & cash flows’. For organizations that are being adversely affected by COVID-19, they need to do everything they can to continue operating in a socially-distanced world.

There is definitely a market for online events. According to the ONS, in July 24% of workers were still working from home and not working on-site at all. And this number is only going to rise with the Government’s latest advice to work from home if you can.

So, businesses who are used to providing entertainment venues need a new source of revenue, and organizations who are used to engaging with staff in person need safe ways to keep their employees connected during these difficult times. Businesses want to maintain employee engagement, and individuals need help staving off loneliness and feelings of isolation. 

But, there are lots of priorities competing for the attention of HR and business leaders. Given that some people have now been working from home for 6 months and counting, it can also be challenging for managers to keep coming up with new ways to engage with their staff remotely. 

To help businesses stay in touch with their workers online, Cezanne HR researched the most popular team activities that can be done remotely and then created a fun guide that makes it easy to pick and choose from a variety of online socials. 

From team dinners to murder mystery parties, Cezanne HR’s Socially Distant Work Socials has it all. The league table, that includes all the activities, shows how many people can be involved with each suggestion, and how popular the activity was with Cezanne HR survey respondents.

The top activities on the league table, in terms of survey popularity (respondents voted on which was their number one choice), are:

  • pub quiz (37.2%)
  • team dinner (13.4%)
  • escape room (12.3%), and 
  • wine tasting (11.9%).

Once an activity is selected, a card pops up that shows how much it might cost and how popular it was with survey respondents. It then goes on to explain what the activity is, what equipment the participants will need, how to complete the activity in three easy steps, and (where appropriate) online links to where the activity can be done. There are 12 activities to choose from, so HR and managers have many different options for keeping their teams busy socializing online.

Choosing an activity is the first step, getting staff involved is next. Your workforce will have varying degrees of experience and comfort in using online tools. Though people may have been working from home for some time, there’s still a knowledge gap between someone who uses video calling functionality all the time, both socially and at work, with people who don’t. For all participants to feel comfortable with these socially distanced events, it’s a good idea to check that everyone is first comfortable with the technology involved.

If you haven’t already considered this, why not run some webinars on using online social tools for those in your business that are still a bit nervous or unfamiliar with them? Doing a lunchtime drop-in session on getting the most from video calling, for example, will help those who are less experienced with the tool, and might be a great bonding exercise in itself. It will help people build confidence in the technology, and reassure them that there are others who are also new to this way of socializing.

When you do kick off your online socials, setting some ground rules and making suggestions about how to get the most from the events will help. It might be a good idea to politely request that conversations stay light-hearted and fun and that any competition between players stays friendly. Where appropriate, it might also be nice to invite staff members’ families to be involved – it’s a great way to get to know everyone a bit better.

Why not check out Cezanne HR’s Socially Distant Work Socials today to discover the fun activities you can do with your team? There are lots to choose from, and they’re a great way to connect with your team and to keep your workforce engaged with your business.

About the Author

Shandel McAuliffe is the Head of Content at Cezanne HR. She was a freelance writer and copy editor in Australia and moved to the UK in 2013. Her first roles in the UK were for the CIPD (from 2013 to 2017) in events and marketing where she learned a lot about the UK HR and L&D landscape. She built on this knowledge at her next employer: The Adecco Group. She has a strong understanding of the HR, recruitment, and learning markets, and a keen interest in mental health in the workplace.  

Topics: Remote Work, work socialization, work culture, WFA Management

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