Updated in February 2022.
Out-of-office events, whether that’s an off-site lunch, or taking time to explore the great outdoors with coworkers, is one of the best ways to strengthen your team. Offsite conferences encourage employees to work together in a more fun and engaging environment. It is also a way to reward your team for their hard work.
Yet, with more and more professionals worldwide working remotely and attending remote team meetings and virtual conferences in the confines of their homes, it can be hard to keep remote teams engaged. However, company leaders should not let that stop their remote employees from having fun just because they're not in the office every day. With some ingenuity and creativity, offsite virtual meetings can still be as enjoyable as in-person ones.
Imagine a day-long virtual conference wherein your team focuses on completing set tasks, but in a fun and engaging environment. Here are some ideas to turn your offsite virtual meetings into memorable events that celebrate both professionalism and camaraderie within your team.
Set the Mood of the Offsite Virtual Meeting
The idea of going someplace else excites many people. Instead of simply announcing the next virtual conference, make it sound like you will be bringing your team on a “workcation.” For instance, declare that the next offsite virtual meeting will be held “at the beach.” This is where thoughtful preparation is vital to pull off that “workcation” vibe.
Send your remote team small packages that contain beach-related items. Contents may include flower garlands or bottled drinks and snacks to get in the regional mood. Instruct everyone to be in their best beach outfit, such as tie-dye shirts or floral blouses. Send them photos of the seashore to set as virtual backgrounds during the meeting. While waiting for remote team meetings to start, you may also play soft guitar music to imbibe that relaxing atmosphere.
While planning the entire virtual summit around a theme may take some effort, chances are it's worth it. A concern here might be the cost of buying and sending the packages to everyone on your remote team. But, it’d be far cheaper than sending your team to the actual beach. Corporate events will push companies to shed a few dollars, but it will surely be worth it if the price is employee engagement.
Bringing the outdoors into your offsite virtual meetings is something your team will greatly appreciate.
Use Technology to Bridge Productivity with Engagement
The idea of staring at the screen for a long time already sounds tedious. Do not let this happen in your offsite virtual meetings. Instead, allow your team to utilize the functions of different apps and online tools to break the monotony. Take time to introduce the features of chosen apps for your virtual summit, or announce prior which tools are essential to participating. This allows everyone to contribute to discussions, but not limit themselves to just speaking up.
Virtual meeting apps, for example, have an annotation function that lets participants doodle on the screen. You or other presenters may show diagrams and other illustrations onscreen, and your team may “draw” their suggestions instead of just mentioning them. Another function is the breakout rooms that let participants huddle into smaller groups. Employees who do not usually talk to larger audiences might be more encouraged to speak up in a breakout room.
On the other hand, file collaboration apps allow multiple users to simultaneously work on a single sheet, document, or presentation. What's also great about these tools is that they are easily accessible with any internet browser—no need to install or pay for additional apps. Just create a file online and allow editing access for everyone in the remote team meeting.
There are a wealth of collaboration tools available out there. Your job is to decide which ones your team can easily incorporate into the virtual conference. The right technology tools at hand will push everyone to participate and make the most out of your remote team meetings.
Include Short Yet Fun Activities in the Schedule
An offsite conference in a resort means some allotted time to take a dip in the pool or take a stroll at the beach. It can be challenging to achieve that same sort of activity virtually. But who says your team can't have a little fun? You may announce to your team that surprising activities are in store for them so that they can get even more excited about the offsite virtual meeting!
Introduce short stretching or exercise routines in the afternoon to wake everyone up, just before another series of discussions. Some companies stage a virtual lunch or happy hour in the middle of their conference, wherein the team plays quick guessing games while bonding over food. You may also hold a mini-tournament at the end of the conference and give prizes to the winners.
As you can see here, fun remote meetings are highly possible. With adequate planning and resources, your virtual conferences will not only be productive, but memorable as well. Your offsite virtual conferences will be corporate events your remote team can look forward to.
Learn More Ways to Make Remote Team Meetings Engaging
Rallying your company toward productivity will always be a challenge, be it remote or in-person. But with Infinity Consulting Solutions (ICS), you can improve and strengthen your office culture to ensure that you stay competitive and resilient, no matter the circumstances. Have a look at the ICS Blog to get guides on how to maintain a professional environment, even if your team is working remotely. You may also contact us, and we hope to be of service to your needs in managing a team of professionals.