There have been many changes in businesses over the preceding decades. Usually, these changes were rooted in newer business models and better tech emerging. The pandemic, however, sped things up across the board. It triggered by far the most widespread and significant transformation in business history. A mass movement to remote working.
Even more astonishingly, most businesses were able to transition very quickly over to the digital workplace. Nearly every business function now comprises remote teams in roles ranging from accounting to cybersecurity consulting.
Sustainability during a pandemic may have been impossible without the remote working tools that already exist. Therefore, most businesses were quick to adopt policies like their existing talent acquisition strategy accordingly. However, retaining remote talent is just as important as retaining on-site talent. Keeping employees engaged and building team cohesion is closely related to most employee retention goals.
Keeping Employees Engaged with A Virtual Game Night
COVID-19 has forced most of us into isolation. Even essential workers refrain from physical contact. However, people still retain the need for social stimuli. In the absence of a physical workspace, a team is just a bunch of names and faces on a screen. A disconnect between team members will become almost inevitable.
Once the void begins to widen, problems will begin to erode team performance. Newer members will become disconnected from more senior team members. The workforce as a whole will slowly start to become disengaged. This can pose a serious threat to employee morale, performance appraisals, and ultimately, employee turnover.
Business leaders and managers shouldn’t discount the need for employee engagement; instead, they should work on finding ways to boost and maintain employee engagement. Virtual trivia or game nights may be worth exploring. Here’s how to set one up:
The Timing Matters
The timing of your virtual game night will be very important if you want to succeed. Nobody likes being held back at the office after business hours. You can’t presume any differently with remote workers. Many employees already juggle several roles and responsibilities outside of work.
Making a unilateral decision could be counter-productive to the purpose of the game night. Even the best small business employee benefits can’t keep employees from feeling marginalized.
You want your team to gel, but you don’t want to be too pushy about it. Therefore, be very careful when you choose the dates for a virtual game night. Try to keep it on a Friday night, or the night before holidays to encourage more workers to play.
Try Multiplayer Gaming Platforms
There are several options to choose from when it comes to a game night. A good idea is to test out a free gaming platform that most people can use without additional equipment. Steam, Origin, and others are all great, and have massive libraries of Free-To-Play licensed games. Many younger workers may already have Steam accounts. Others may have to create one, but these platforms typically are free.
You can also test out using support software like Discord for the whole team to communicate. Discord is particularly great because it utilizes bandwidth efficiently. There should be minimal disruption to the game. And workers could choose between headphones or built-in hardware. You should choose the platform beforehand if possible.
Include Easy-to-Play Games
You would do well to choose games that have an easier learning curve. You need everyone to participate, so complex games like League of Legends or Dota2 may not be the best choices. Instead, look for easier games. Of course, the specifics may vary.
Startup culture frequently attracts the same demographic that enjoys similar games. From Call of Duty to Among Us, many employees would already be familiar with tougher games. As a rule, try to be as inclusive as possible with your choice of game.
Host a Lobby for Team Matches
Once you have selected a platform and a game, you’re ready for game night. Most multiplayer games offer lobbies to add up to 10 or more players, depending on the game type. All you have to do is get everyone to download the game and set up their gamer ID. Then, invite your team members into the lobby for a fun night of gaming and banter. It may be best to set up a private lobby, or one protected by a password. Other random players could bomb your lobby and disrupt the whole exercise.
Explore a Trivia Night Over Video Conferences
The game certainly does not necessarily have to be a shooter or a fantasy MMO. Steam offers several multiplayer party games. From dumb charades to beer pong, you can find almost any fun activity in the virtual world. However, trivia nights can often prove to be the best option in most cases. There’s not a lot of effort required. It can be fun and add camaraderie to your workforce. Likewise, it can be a great way to gel with remote overseas workers from diverse backgrounds.
You can even host a custom night over video conferencing platforms like House Party or Zoom. It’s a pleasant hybrid of technology and old-school fun. You’ll make your own cards and have a more organic experience than a game avatar. But be sure to use inoffensive and politically correct verbiage. The game should be inclusive to all.
Focus on Fun, Not Winning
Healthy competition is not a bad quality to nurture in workers, but game nights shouldn’t be just about winning. Of course, you should congratulate and celebrate the winners. But you want to let the night proceed as organically as possible. It’s not just about the destination, but also how your workers get there. Keep them engaged, entertained, and enjoying the respite from work. If you’re lucky, this will lay the seeds of a stronger working bond. Even in the absence of a physical workplace.