Interestingly, it is believed that our ancient ancestors started enjoying wine before the wheel was invented. Supposedly, fruit that fell to the ground and fermented was the first taste of "wine." Many of us are enjoying a slightly different variation of virtual "wine" these days.
Physical distancing was bearable for the first few weeks or so perhaps. But now, more than four months in, it is beginning to take a toll. According to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, two-thirds of respondents had symptoms of depression at times, under COVID-19's lockdown measures. Additionally, two-thirds of employers have stated that it is difficult to maintain employee morale during the pandemic.
Not only that, but with low morale, productivity is often affected too. In a report by Gallup, it was found that US businesses lost $550B per year in productivity due to disengaged employees.
Absent the traditional summer happy hours and social outings that employees typically enjoy together, you will want to think creatively to keep your employees connected. To help get things started, we offer a few examples.
Consider setting up a group exercise class. This is a great way to energize your staff. From online dance lessons to virtual yoga classes or even at home boot camp, there is no shortage of options on this front. With most gyms still unable to reopen, many gym owners and personal trainers have come up with online offerings that offer variety and flexible times.
Participate in an educational activity. Several organizations are providing virtual tours these days, from zoo tours to learn more about the animals, to virtual museum tours or even city tours. Since this is something that could also be of interest to children, such classes provide an opportunity for employees to involve their children as well.
Coordinate a cooking class. These classes have become a popular team building activity, since the coronavirus began. There are many services that will provide people with an advance list of ingredients needed or in some cases will mail all the ingredients to people's homes. From there, a cooking instructor walks everyone through the recipe together.
Enhance happy hour. While virtual cocktail hours on Zoom have already played out, why not enroll a group of employees in a cocktail making class. Much like cooking classes, people are provided a list of the ingredients needed in advance and then guided through the recipe. After that, socializing can continue while enjoying the newly crafted cocktails.
Engage in escape rooms. Online escape rooms are another fun option to consider and are a great way to foster team building. People can work together or be divided into teams to solve a series of clues and piece them together.
For additional insight into boosting employee morale, reread our article, Morale-Building During COVID-19.