10 Virtual Employee Engagement Ideas That Make Workday a Blast

10 Virtual Employee Engagement Ideas That Make Workday a Blast

Water cooler chats used to be a staple of the traditional office environment. Without those casual convos on weekend plans, the latest must-see Netflix series, or even the inconstancy of the weather, it’s easy for teams to become disconnected from one another. Virtual employee engagement ideas for employees are one way to bring that interpersonal spark back into professional relationships.

In this blog, we’re going to run down some of the best employee engagement ideas that you can facilitate online. These range from hour-long workshops to 5-minute games, with virtual employee engagement activities for large companies as well as smaller organizations. 

1. What Is Virtual Employee Engagement?

Virtual employee engagement event ideas are designed to boost the morale of remote workers and foster a closer-knit dynamic between your at-home staff. This can have positive benefits on productivity and staff retention, as well as improving the overall well-being of your workforce by addressing feelings of isolation and encouraging a social ambiance. 

Virtual employee engagement can include everything from team building games to regular feedback sessions. Essentially, it encompasses anything digital that nurtures stronger bonds between your staff and your business.

2. 10 Virtual Employee Engagement Ideas and Activities to Keep Remote Teams Happy and Connected

2.1. Celebrate Employee Milestones

Whether it’s 10 years at the company or hitting a sales target, recognizing employee milestones is a great way to promote self-esteem within your staff and reinforce positive behaviors.  Promotions, anniversaries, outstanding performances – all of these milestones can be celebrated virtually. The occasion can easily be elevated to something more memorable by including an online party with games and drinks as part of the festivities. For example, Hooray Teams can customize a fun event to mark the milestone.

By showing your team that hard work is noticed and rewarded, you can supercharge the motivation of your remote staff to excel.

2.2. DIY Workshops

DIY Workshops

Bring out your team’s inner Picassos and Kahlos with a DIY workshop designed to stimulate creativity and freedom of expression. There are all kinds of arty activities that you can find online these days, from the ever-popular paint party to more off-the-wall ideas like making your own terrarium

DIY workshops are one of the best virtual employee engagement ideas because they are simultaneously relaxing and rewarding. Not only are you teaching your team a new skill set and encouraging continuous learning, but you are also creating an environment where they can decouple from the stresses of work. Who knows, you may end up inspiring a lifelong passion in some of your staff!

2.3. Spot Recognition and Awards 

Spot recognition operates on a similar principle to celebrating employee milestones. It motivates staff by acknowledging individual contributions to the company. The main difference is that spot recognition highlights smaller, everyday impacts rather than just the big stuff. For example, you might publicly praise someone who received positive feedback from a client or who came up with a creative solution to an office problem. 

Spot recognition is also often effective in improving company culture. By commending the way somebody motivates their colleagues or makes the virtual office a more cheerful place, you encourage people to be thoughtful and empathetic towards their coworkers. There are even apps like Awardco that have been developed to enable spot recognition. Through these platforms, positive feedback can be tied to a rewards system that translates into points, which in turn can be exchanged for vouchers or other small gifts.

2.4. Remote Team-building Games

Introduce some playfulness into the office routine with games that are optimized for people who predominantly work from home. Once you’ve seen a colleague draw a kangaroo that looks more like a cat, you’ll never see them in the same light again! 

There are so many fun activities for employee engagement that are available on hosted platforms like Hooray Teams, including trivia nights and drag bingo. You can even include some light-hearted skills development in the activities. For example, the drawing game Pictionary prioritizes communication and creativity, while murder mysteries help promote group problem solving and decision making.

Alternatively, consider incorporating a diversity and inclusion element with a game like Guess Who? For this activity, ask each participant to write down some facts about themselves on a piece of paper. Everyone must then try to match the facts with the correct member of staff.

2.5. Virtual Water Cooler/Coffee Chats

Virtual Water Cooler/Coffee Chats

If you’re looking for inexpensive employee engagement ideas, how about something as simple as adapting water cooler chats, coffee breaks, and similar quick virtual engagement activities for the online world? These informal catchups break up the day and recreate the easy-breezy conversations of the physical office, fostering casual familiarity and social inclusion between colleagues.

One method is to create a video chat room where people can join spontaneously whenever they feel like taking a pause. This has the advantage of emulating the turn-up-and-talk vibe of the traditional break room.

Another way to simulate the experience is to create chat rooms or virtual whiteboards dedicated to different topics. For example, one area might focus on discussing work issues, another might revolve around pets and/or kids, while yet another might center on TV and film. 

2.6. Virtual Fitness Challenges

Rather than running a 10k as a team, organize virtual fitness challenges in which staff can participate. These virtual employee engagement ideas can be as simple as walking a certain distance each week or practicing daily chair yoga. Feel free to make the goals a bit more ambitious and collaborative if you think that will motivate your colleagues more. 

For instance, you could get everybody involved in a couch to 5k or implement a healthy eating challenge for a month. You can also set a goal for your team to run around the world, figuratively speaking. The goal is for staff to cover a combined total of around 40,000 kilometers (approximately 25,000 miles) within a set period. Depending on the number of employees at your company, this interval could be several months or even a year. Coworkers can compare notes and discuss the various challenges that they are facing as part of the experience.

2.7. Online Music Jam Sessions

Don’t shy away from more unorthodox ideas for employee engagement. If you have a relatively musical team or a bunch of coworkers who own an instrument, you can try putting together a virtual jam session. As long as everyone has a good internet connection, it’s possible to sync various feeds to create sweet melodies.

Although this activity requires a little more technical savvy than some of the other options we’ve listed here, music is a bit of a triple boon, stimulating creativity, reducing anxiety, and encouraging collaboration. No need to worry about sounding professional, the goal is mainly to produce good vibes and team chemistry. 

2.8. Virtual Culinary Artistry Classes

Virtual Culinary Artistry Classes

Some virtual employee engagement ideas can create a better corporate community while imparting useful life skills. There are all kinds of cookery classes that you can arrange for your staff, teaching them to do everything from how to make dumplings to creating their own signature hot sauce

Go beyond the realm of food and sign up your remote workers for mixology classes or wine tastings to set them up for a future as a cocktail maestro or oenophile extraordinaire. Companies like Hooray Teams that cater to virtual team building have the facility to send out kits to employees so that every participant has all the ingredients they need to take part delivered straight to their door.

2.9. Virtual Team Retreats

While no virtual employee engagement ideas are going to be quite as spectacular as a company-paid trip to Hawaii, it is possible to adapt the concept to a smaller, more logistically manageable scale. Virtual team retreats can incorporate all kinds of activities, including escape rooms, wellness classes, and even digital tours of world-famous sights led by a real-life tour guide.

Consider allocating a whole day (or even two) for a series of social team-building events. This will more effectively replicate the holiday-feel of a real-world retreat, creating a conscious break from office work to focus on energizing staff and building bonds between colleagues.

2.10. Regular Feedback Sessions

Unlike traditional annual reviews, more regular feedback has been shown to positively affect performance in a work setting. By applauding staff for their contributions at the moment rather than waiting for several months, you can create a more direct correlation between good behavior and recognition.

Feedback can be a vital link between an employer and their remote workers. Instead of using review sessions simply as opportunities to critique performance, you can also view them as free virtual employee engagement activities. As a communication line, they supply a means for staff to discuss any concerns and suggestions, making them feel more involved in the company despite their work-from-home status.

3. FAQs

3.1. Why is virtual employee engagement important?

Virtual employee engagement ideas create a more unified online workforce. By ensuring remote staff remain invested in a business, you are likely to see higher levels of productivity and greater participation in company culture. This can be particularly important for companies that employ remote workers, as the lack of face time can lead to disengagement.

3.2. What are some examples of virtual employee engagement ideas?

Team-building games are one of the most common ideas to improve employee engagement, but art lessons, culinary classes, fitness challenges, and virtual water cooler moments all have something to offer a company that has a remote workforce.

3.3. How can I implement virtual employee engagement ideas effectively?

Create a long-term plan for integrating your employee engagement ideas. Pay attention to the interests of your staff when deciding what activities to implement. It can also be useful to write down what you hope to achieve as a means to ensure you are making the best use of your resources and time.

3.4. How do you engage an employee remotely?

Teamwork and communication apps that facilitate conversations between staff are some of the most practical employee engagement ideas for remote workers. These not only make everyone feel more connected to their colleagues. They can also incorporate gamification elements that reward achievements and positive behaviors.


Aakash Gupta


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