“In a world that is constantly changing, it is to our advantage to learn how to adapt and enjoy something better.” ― Kenneth H. Blanchard
Work from Home and Hybrid workspaces are the new normal in today’s world, and we have become quite acquainted with it. Even though we love working from home on most days, everything has its fair share of pros and cons. HR teams are often confused about how to keep the teams engaged and motivated during these trying times. Though they come with quite a few Virtual activities, there is a preset misconception that Virtual activities aren’t fun or beneficial as face-to-face activities.
Well, this blog is all about changing that misconception. First, let’s understand what Virtual activities are before jumping into the various aspects of it.
What are Virtual Activities?
Virtual Activities are online activities to ensure continued collaboration, interaction and engagement between peers and teams. Virtual activities act as an icebreaker, ensuring that employees can interact with one another on a personal level instead of just on work-related topics despite the work from home situation.
There are quite a few progressions made in the Virtual Activities Arena, such as Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Mixed Reality, and more. These ensure that Virtual Activities hosted, especially for employees, are beneficial, innovative and fun. By picking one of the many new additions to the Virtual Activities domain, the level of engagement from the employees can and would be higher. Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality and others are computer-generated and are proven to be highly beneficial to employees in several domains including, easy understanding of complex subjects, extensive accessibility and more.
How are Virtual Activities different from Face-to-Face activities?
Humans are creatures of habit who are used to engaging with peers in the face to face activities. It is challenging to adapt to something like Virtual activities now. Though face-to-face activities have their pros, so do Virtual activities. Virtual activities are something we are still learning and adapting to.
Face to face activities facilitates bonding between employees who value face-to-face interaction. It is not a tedious task to comprehend the employees’ body language and notice social cues in face-to-face activities. It also helps employees feel personally invested in the event when compared to a virtual event.
The points mentioned above are certainly not applicable with regards to Virtual activities. But there has to be a reason why the number of organizations that hosted Virtual Events doubled in 2020. (Wild Apricot, 2020)
Virtual activities have quite a few pros that need consideration before taking a call on which is better.
What makes Virtual activities better than Face-to-Face activities?
Before deciding which is better, face-to-face or virtual activities, let us look at the pros of Virtual activities.
- Easier for employees who are introverts
A workspace/company always has both introverts and extroverts. Though extroverts are more than happy with face-to-face activities, introverts may find it difficult to be social and handle their rising anxiety. Virtual activities aid introverts in communicating with peers in an environment they are comfortable in, making sure the activity is relaxing and fun for everyone. Nearly 70% of organizations reported that they had many more attendees for a Virtual event than a face-to-face one with a guest speaker. (Wild Apricot, 2020)
Face-to-face activities are often quite expensive, depending on the size of the company or the number of employees. Also, one of the major reasons most companies host events only once or twice a year is that virtual activities can be prevented. There is no budgetary requirement, and HR teams can host multiple events during the year. In 2020, nearly 84% of organizations reported spending comparatively less money than a face-to-face event. (Wild Apricot, 2020)
When it comes to face-to-face activities, choosing the destination, transportation, and more is always a tedious task that Virtual activities can prevent. Employees need not be concerned about travelling, and they can be a part of the activity from the comfort of their homes.
- Accessible to local and global attendees
If a company has offices in different countries or cities, multiple activities are organized for the employees of the particular city. Since Virtual activities are hosted on an online platform, employees can be active participants from any city and country.
- Combats Loneliness
With the current pandemic situation and work from home, social interactions have reduced a lot, taking a higher toll on our mental health. Depression and loneliness are the most common effects of the pandemic on almost all of us, and virtual activities can play a remarkable role in battling loneliness and depression.
- Increases Motivation
Virtual activities can be highly effective as a positive reinforcement for work life. With the work from home scenario, the line between work and personal life has blurred. Virtual activities can play a role in easing stress and motivating us to work despite the cons of working from home.
What to keep in mind while organizing a Virtual activity?
Now that we understand the positive aspects of Virtual activities, the question of ‘how to organize a good virtual event or activity’ rises. After ample research, we have put together a couple of points to keep in mind while organizing a virtual event.
Make sure the event you are hosting has a goal in the end. Create ample hype about the event to ensure your employees are charged and eager. There are multiple platforms available to be a part of the event and the goal to be achieved.
- Choose the right platform
Your disposal once you decide to host a virtual event. It is essential to research enough and understand which platform would be best suited for the event you have in mind.
- Promote your event
Instead of forcing employees to participate in an event, promote the event to make the employees excited and eager to participate. This would prove more impactful than making it mandatory.
- Engage your employees
Often, events include one person talking or performing a particular act, reducing the amount of engagement the employees feel. They might even drop out of the event. Instead, come up with activities that would involve participation from everyone. This way, they are engaged, and the aspect of fun is not lost.
- Post-event follow up
Ask for employee feedback and suggestions post every event to understand whether the event’s goals were achieved. This would help you in hosting events better suited to your employees. Keeping the follow-up email/survey unanimous is highly advisable.
Virtual activities and events are almost a necessity now. It is time to enhance our creativity and develop unique, innovative and fun ways to make sure the employees are motivated, engaged and driven to perform their best. With all this information available, you can decide if Virtual activities are a boon or bane. Make sure to consider the above-mentioned tips before planning your next Virtual activity or event!