How to Keep Company Culture Thriving with a Virtual Team
By: Benefits by Design | Tuesday July 21, 2020Updated : Monday December 14, 2020
When everyone at Benefits by Design (BBD) Inc. transitioned to working remotely, during the COVID-19 pandemic, our social committee had a new challenge: how could they maintain the same social interaction and engagement remotely?
After four months, we’re pleased to share some of the virtual team building activities we’ve done to keep employees engaged and maintain our corporate culture.
#1. Start a Weekly Update
Following the lead of John Krazinski’s Some Good News Youtube show, we started “Good Morning BBD!” — a weekly show focused on starting the week off right with good news stories.
Each episode showcases “good news” around the world and good news from our employees. We’ve seen employees’ hobbies and talents, met their pets, and gotten a glimpse into their home lives. Ultimately, it’s brought our employees closer, and we’ve been able to get to know everybody that much better.
You can also host weekly team/company meetings to keep everyone updated. At BBD, we have weekly All-Staffs with all employees. They’re a great way to keep teams informed and focused.
#2. Virtual Team Fun Day
Every year, BBD hosts a “Summer Fun Day” for our employees! Every office does things a little differently, but the goal is the same: have fun. In Kingston, employees break into teams for activities, dress up in costumes, and have a really fun, social afternoon. In Port Coquitlam, we’ve had scavenger hunts and company BBQs, while our Toronto team is full of bowlers, so they hit up the local bowling alley.
This year, our Social Committee banded together to plan an event regardless of physical location. We hosted virtual games instead, including favourites like Family Feud, Pictionary, Trivia, and more!
Here’s a glance at our activities schedule for the day:
In place of our usual BBQ, we created the BBD Recipe Book — a collection of employees’ favourite recipes for everyone to enjoy at home!
#3. Create a Place to Chat
For us, that’s our intranet, Jostle. It’s a place where employees can go to share important information and chat with each other — something that’s become even more important as we’re all now working remotely. Jostle provides us the opportunity to set up discussions about specific topics, and our Working from Home discussion has proven to be a very engaging place! Employees share their work from homes setups and stories, and more!
#4. Create a Spotify Playlist
We often have music playing in our offices, and we wanted to keep the spirit of that alive, so we created a collaborative Spotify playlist where employees could add their favourite tunes!
The playlist has been growing. Many employees have happily reported discovering new bands and favourite music genres by listening to their peers’ contributions.
Check out our Spotify playlist
#5. Run a Remote Friday “Happy Hour”
Every Friday afternoon after work, a few coworkers gather for “Friday Happy Hour” to chat and hang out, celebrate the weekend, and discuss their plans. It’s a fantastic alternative to drinks after work and a great opportunity for a virtual team to mingle and get to know each other better.
#6. Host Theme Days
One of the other fun ideas we’ve had success with were weekly theme days, where employees gather in a single video chat and show their theme day spirit! Afterward, we play a small game to provide employees a mental break from work and it’s been an incredibly fun time!
Thus far, we’ve hosted the following theme days:
- Self portrait day, where you draw yourself in your favourite style
- Crazy hair/hat day, which is pretty self-explanatory
- Holiday Day, where you dress as your favourite holiday
- Bright colour day
- Pet day, where everyone shows off their furry friends
- Graphic tee day
Silly as it sounds, they’re a great opportunity for employees to gather, socialize, and just have a bit of a laugh, which works wonders, particularly in difficult times.
#7. Engage in Online Games & Trivia!
Trivia days themed around popular shows like Friends and The Office are a great way to have some fun after meetings and break up the day. At BBD, we’ve had a lot of fun with trivia, but a quick tip we’ll share about hosting trivia is: be ready to fact check (people get competitive)!