2020 was the year of virtual communication with Zoom downloads increasing by 1200% within the first week of lockdown one and whilst the majority of us still prefer in person connection, we should accept the fact that a large percentage of our work and communication will continue to be conducted within the digital space.
Many of us have become pro’s at mastering Zoom and other video platforms by now, whether out of choice or not and my prediction is that the facilitation of meetings, presentations and events online is going to become a way of life for us all, so how can we make them more bearable and why would we bother?
Results from a recent case study from Vistaprint show that following an online staff party, which incorporated fun elements such as fancy dress and awards, showed an uptick in engagement, productivity and overall happiness, which was then reinforced in their monthly employee satisfaction survey, showing a boost of up to 20% in engagement and happiness-based rankings.
This is something that cannot be ignored when it comes to staff management and overall effectiveness in the workplace and all achieved by just making that extra bit of effort and thinking creatively with whatever budget or time you have.
Therefore, I have put together some creative suggestions for ‘zhooshing’ up those online experiences to keep those client relationships strengthened and team morale boosted:
- Bat it back
Ask your teams for ideas on formats for your meetings /events and send out a survey- Survey Monkey is a free platform and great for this.
- Team meetings
Send out a gift of coffee or a box of luxury tea bags and a packet of biscuits by post prior to your meeting and enjoy altogether on screen.
- Use video messaging
Personally, communicate to your teams prior to meetings via video message, rather than in a blank generic email – a platform like Bonjoro is really useful for this and free to use too.
- Incorporate fancy dress
Or a themed dress code – if it is a special meeting, event or occasion, why not set a dress code for the meeting to add a bit of fun and laughter- choose a colour theme or letter of the alphabet for something a bit different.
- Online games
We may be all ‘quizzed out’ by now, but quizzes encourage competitiveness and team spirit, so why not try out other games that work just as well through the screen such as Taboo – the description word game which is both fun and educational at the same time, or how about online charades, which tests peoples acting abilities.
- Sweet treat deliveries
There is nothing better than receiving a box of cakes through the post, so why not treat your team to branded cupcakes by post, a box of assorted brownies or personalised donuts- they make great client gifts too.
- Afternoon tea party
Speaking of sweet treats, how about hosting your own tea party for your team or clients – many venues are doing afternoon tea boxes delivered or on a click and collect service, with options to upgrade to a mini bottle of fizz- or just do BYO booze. Either way make an occasion of it – set a Spring/Summer dress code, play some light background music and incorporate into a team meeting or event with an interactive game or entertainment such as a magician.
- Awards ceremony with a difference
Maybe your annual awards ceremony was cancelled last year, and you are unsure as to whether to go ahead this year – whatever your situation, it is totally possible to host them online with some thought and preparation, so why not consider a spoof awards ceremony for your team, integrating fun categories such as ‘joker of the office’ or ‘‘The always late’ award, complete with online certificates for the winners.
- Online wine tasting
Yes! This is now a ‘thing’, so why not hire a sommelier to host a bespoke wine tasting session for you and your team- perhaps extend the invitation to key clients, send everyone the wine samples prior and enjoy learning about wine, networking amongst yourselves and having a great time in the process.
- Cocktail party
Many venues who have spent a lot of time closed this past year, have cleverly adapted to provide online deliveries of their cocktails, so why not host your very own cocktail party from the comfort of your own home, arrange for your team to receive their own cocktail or selection of directly to their door and enjoy a ‘cheers’ on screen. This works particularly well integrated into any other of my suggested event ideas, such as an afternoon tea party, quiz/games nights or simply a fun Friday meeting to kick start the weekend.
Fiona Duncan-Steer, RSViP