The coronavirus pandemic has kept many office workers away from their workstations for nearly a year. And, with vaccines slow to roll out, it’s likely they’ll still be home for at least a few more months. While companies have found ways to use remote productivity tools like Zoom, Slack, and shared document editing tools to replace in-person collaboration, most office workers have still spent close to a year without any quality colleague socializing.
âThe loss of in-person interaction fundamentally creates a lot more loneliness among employees,â says Ruzwana Bashir, founder of the Experience Booking Platform. A look.
To try to change that, Peek is launching a new platform with creative virtual experiences like mixology lessons, Queen’s Gambit-Inspired chess lessons and remote escape rooms designed to excite even Zoom-tired workers. The goal is to recreate the unstructured socializing time that people would normally have during an after-work drink, corporate outings, or just around the coffee machine.
This type of bonding is not only good for employee happiness, but also for productivity in many businesses, especially when people from different departments log in outside of the usual channels. It’s also essential for building relationships between organizations, such as when sales teams invite prospects or current customers to dinner or a football game. Peek aims to help bring more of these interactions online.
While offices and bars, cafes, escape rooms and other social places around them may begin to repopulate as workers get vaccinated, many companies have already said they have intend to provide employees with the option of working from home for the foreseeable future. This means that they will always need some means for employees to connect from their homes. âRemote work, after the pandemic, is here to stay,â says Bashir.
Here are some options for connecting with coworkers and clients in a more engaging way than that awkward little chat at the start of a Zoom call.
Share a remote dining experience
While the pandemic makes it risky to get together with colleagues in a restaurant or bar, you can still share a meal from a distance. A vital, a company that before the pandemic focused on culinary tours and excursions, now offers home cooking and mixology events. Participants can prepare meals or cocktails under the shared guidance of a bartender or expert chef. Then, people are divided into small virtual rooms to share their creations remotely with colleagues.
âI’m not interested in a webinar that only talks to you for an hour – that’s where Zoom fatigue sets in,â says owner Avital Ungar, who offers experiences through Peek. For some, diners even try their creations with miracle berries, the fruit that gives sour foods a sweet taste.
Play a game of trivia
Quizzes are a natural way to generate a little friendly competition between coworkers or teams in your company, even when you can’t meet in person. You can work with quiz companies to design a live remote quiz experience that’s right for your business, contact the quiz host from the bar where you used to go for happy hour, or ask colleagues to take turns designing trivia challenges for each other. If you prefer something that people can do quickly during the workday, consider Water cooler information, which sends trivial questions through platforms like email and Slack.
Take part in a virtual graffiti workshop
Kabloom (formerly known as Wild SF Team Building) used to offer graffiti and mural tours in San Francisco. Now, thanks to the pandemic, he’s put them online, allowing colleagues to hear the history of graffiti and practice drawing their own tags under the guidance of a graffiti artist.
âIt’s cool to see how many people have questions for the artist about their creative process,â writes Kabloom founder Wes Leslie in an email to Fast business. âMost people don’t know much about graffiti beyond the name Banksy, so it’s a really eye-opening and creative experience. If graffiti isn’t quite for your team, look for another arts and crafts class that fits people’s interests.
Introduce a little comedy
While comedy clubs are largely closed during the pandemic, with even open mic parties on hold, you can still bring some levity to your happy hour from a distance. Numerous national and regional improv and stand-up groups that traditionally offer in-person team-building activities to help find workers of their shells are now running online courses. And if a class seems a little too intense, you can look for a online comedy show that matches the sensitivities of your workplace to watch online.
Drink wine and maybe even learn something
The Zoom happy hour would be much improved with a remote wine tasting. Many wineries (as well as breweries and distilleries) will sell serving size samples of their products to a group of colleagues or friends interested in trying their products when they cannot come in person, although regulations on alcohol shipments vary from state to state. establish.
Shadybrook Winery in Napa, Calif., offers hour-long online group tastings guided by winemakers or company representatives, says Kimberly Bothwell, winery director of marketing and hospitality. Corporate clients often see it as a good way to unwind at the end of a business discussion or similar meeting. âWine helps people relax a bit,â she says. But if you or your coworkers aren’t heavy drinkers, consider a virtual coffee or tea tasting instead.
Escape from a virtual room
Escape rooms traditionally brought people together to play with physical props and follow clues to escape fake dungeons and similar environments. During the pandemic, creative designers have implemented a wide variety of ways to bring these puzzles online. The exact experiences vary from company to company, but choosing a local escape room can be a fun way to support a local business and potentially access a game related to your city. Many escape room companies offer in-person guides to help you and your team with tips for a fun, non-frustrating escape experience.