The pandemic has presented both employers and teams with a whole new set of challenges to contend with, making employee engagement activities during COVID-19 a vital tool.
Updated on September 7, 2021
The pandemic seems to be dragging on endlessly and it’s no doubt taking its toll on everyone. That’s why employee engagement activities during COVID-19 remain more important than ever before.
With many teams working remotely, communication and bonds between colleagues being strained, and economic uncertainty creating new stresses for organizations and their employees, taking steps to reinforce employee engagement and morale is a must.
And even as some organizations return to in-person work, there are be challenges to be faced and a readjustment period to be overcome as people try to adapt to being back together.
But there’s some silver lining: as challenging as this all has and continues to be, there are some incredible options available to help drive employee engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic.
20 Virtual Employee Engagement Activities During COVID-19
The pandemic has had a serious impact on employee morale. And for many employees, the prospect of going back to the office in person is simply not on the table. Luckily, virtual team building activities and online activities are a great way to keep employees engaged, connected, and social while social distancing.
1. Virtual Yoga or Workout Classes
Getting a little blood pumping goes a lot way in elevating your mood. So, you can take a quick pause from your workday to do a virtual yoga or workout class with your team.
Your team members can take turns running a class, or you can collectively join an online workout class run by a professional.
If you don’t know where to start, check out this article from Goop that explores seven professionally led online workout classes for you and your team.
2. Online Happy Hour
Employee engagement doesn’t always have to be centered around work.
On the contrary, sometimes the best employee engagement happens in a casual setting where your team can get to know each other better outside of the parameters of their professional roles.
With that in mind, you can gather as a group using your favorite video conferencing platform, like Zoom or Microsoft Teams, and enjoy some beverages together. You could even try making fancy cocktails together. This list of 14 fancy cocktail recipes from Brit + Co can serve up some inspiration.
Zoom happy hour games are a great way to have some lighthearted fun with your colleagues.
3. Cook Together Online
Most people have their favorite go-to recipe. So, consider having your team take turns teaching your colleagues how to cook their favorite meal.
If you want to up the ante, you could even offer each employee a small grocery budget to help them pick up all the items they’ll need to cook with.
But remember to make sure to check in with everyone about dietary restrictions so that nobody gets left out.
With Clue Murder Mystery, your team will need to solve the murder of a man named Neil Davidson by figuring out who had the means, motive, and opportunity to commit the crime. This is the perfect virtual game for folks who love problem-solving team building activities.
This is no ordinary happy hour trivia game. In this activity, you and your team will take a trip to Hamish McDuff’s virtual pub. This hilarious Scottish pub owner is the legendary host of a trivia game with more than 20 category options to choose from, including sports, food and drink, and even celebrity real estate. This virtual pub trivia game is guaranteed to produce plenty of laughs and lift team “spirits.” It might even include a few special surprises.
Help your remote team get re-energized by tackling fun virtual challenges with their colleagues. In groups, your remote employees will tackle a series of mental, physical, skill, and mystery challenges, earning points for each one successfully completed. Whichever has the most points when time runs out will be crowned the winners!
Be a part of your own game show with this activity where your team will need to tackle trivia questions spanning pop culture, geography, sports, world history, and more.
Step into the Outback Time Machine and take a trip through pop culture history, in this virtual trivia game for remote teams! Transform your home offices into a virtual game show experience – game show host, scoreboard, buzzer, and all!
We’re all in desperate need of a vacation. Luckily, Captain Furling has room for you and your colleagues on his virtually chartered yacht. Come aboard and transport to your “inner Cancun” for a tropical online team building adventure.
It’s long since been proven that corporate giving improves company culture. So, you can team up with your colleagues for a Virtual Do-Good Games to do some good in the world and give back to those in need, all while having a blast. This is a morale-boosting virtual team building activity that transforms friendly competition into charitable donations.
Does your team have what it takes to win the Virtual Trivia Championship? In this virtual trivia team building activity, your colleagues will break into teams and turn the competition level up to ten as you challenge your wits, test your knowledge, and work your way through a list of trivia questions ranging from cities to movies, songs, objects, and even a round of Jeopardy-style challenges.
The Tokyo Olympics but you and your team can keep up the spirits and celebrations with your own Virtual Office Olympics. With this virtual spring team building activity, it’s a race to the podium for your workgroup who will put their teamwork to the test as they compete to complete a series of Olympic-style challenges and trivia.
The great thing about video conferencing tools is that they’ve given us virtually endless options for Zoom games to play so you’ll never be short on activities to enjoy with your colleagues.
16. Games on Houseparty
Houseparty is a face-to-face social networking app that’s exploded in popularity over the last few months. And, although this group video chat platform may seem like just another FaceTime or Skype, Houseparty comes with some unique social features – namely games!
Through Houseparty, you can connect with your colleagues and play any number of available games. Here are some of the most popular ones that you can choose from:
- Heads Up!: This is a video-chat version of the hilarious game from Ellen DeGeneres. Players provide clues for a word that one person tries to guess.
- Virtual Trivia Games: Choose from 18 different decks that cover a range of topics and test your coworkers’ trivia knowledge!
17. Virtual Icebreaker Games
This is a great time to help your team get to know each other even better. Doing so will help forge stronger personal bonds which will ultimately lead to stronger professional outcomes.
We compiled a comprehensive list of The 300 Best Team Building Icebreaker Questions for Work, which include some great questions like:
- If you could instantly become an expert in anything, what would it be?
- What would the title of your autobiography be?
- You’re going to sail around the world. What’s the name of your boat?
18. Play Virtual Pictionary
Wait, did we really just suggest playing Pictionary online? How in the world would that work?
We’re glad you asked!
Using Skribbl.io, you can play Pictionary with your team by creating a private room for your team and drawing with your house.
If you think it’s funny to play in person, just wait until you’re watching people try to draw using their mouse or computer trackpad.
If you’re trying to find fun and unique ways to keep your team engaged on an ongoing basis, Water Cooler Trivia is a great way to do it. Water Cooler Trivia integrates into your email, Slack, or Microsoft Teams channels and automatically sends trivia quizzes directly to your team members on a weekly basis. You can choose the trivia schedule and categories, and Water Cooler Trivia will write the questions, automate their distribution, and grade the results for you.
Are you looking for more creative ways of engaging your team virtually? Have a look at our list of 20 virtual team building activities to engage remote employees for some more inspiration.
20. Host Virtual Lunch and Learns
Another great way to keep your team engaged is by tasking them with hosting a virtual lunch and learn for your team on an ongoing basis.
Whether it’s weekly, monthly, or any cadence you choose, assign each person a time where they can research something relevant to your industry that they find useful and interesting and have them present it to the team.
This way, they can learn and practice key soft skills all while keeping connected with the rest of the team.
Wondering what your lunch and learn should focus on? Check out our list of 24 lunch and learn topic ideas your team will love.
You’ll be surprised by all the unexpected things you can learn about your colleagues!
6 In-Person Employee Engagement Activities During COVID-19
Many teams are getting ready to head back to work in-person and are looking for ways to get re-engaged and reconnected. So, depending on local regulations, office policies, and the comfort levels of your team members, here are some in-person activities your group might enjoy.
Help your team minimize distractions and make the most of their time while working from home or in the office.
Help your team become effective communicators, and develop both verbal and written communication skills.
In this smartphone-based scavenger hunt team building activity, your group will split into teams and complete fun challenges by taking photos and videos around the city. Some examples of challenges you can do in this activity are:
- Parkour: Take a picture of three team members jumping over an object that’s at least waist-high.
- Beautiful Mind: Snap a photo of a team member proving a well-known mathematical theorem on a chalkboard.
- Puppy Love: Take a photo of all of your team members petting a stranger’s dog at the same time.
Split into teams and create a cardboard boat made out of just the materials provided: cardboard and tape. Team members will have to work together to engineer a functional boat that will float and sail across water without sinking. Once teams have finished making their boats, they will create a presentation to explain why their boat is the best, before putting their boats to the test. The final challenge will have teams racing their boats to test their durability!
Feel like getting out and spreading some kindness in the midst of a tough time? We recommend it! Doing good in the world is good for you. In fact, it actually builds team morale. Random Acts of Kindness fuses the scavenger hunt concept with a philanthropic twist. This team building activity gets teams racing against one another to try and complete as many good deeds as possible before time runs out.
The COVID-19 pandemic is undeniably causing challenges and stresses for organizations and employees around the world. But by implementing the right employee engagement activities during COVID-19, you can help boost your team’s spirits and increase their productivity.
Learn More About Employee Engagement Activities During COVID-19
For more information about how your team can stay engaged during the pandemic, reach out to our Employee Engagement Consultants.