A 2022 Gallup poll of more than 8,000 hybrid workers found that while remote work improved work-life balance and productivity, one-third felt less connected to their organization’s culture and one-quarter reported that working out of the office made it more difficult to form and build relationships with co-workers.
For business owners, the holidays are a great time to show gratitude to employees with thoughtful gestures and a festive celebration or luncheon. And, if you’re like many companies that have shifted to a hybrid workplace model, it’s an opportunity to build relationships with team members who work remotely some – or all of the time.
Following are tips on how to nurture connections in your hybrid workplace this holiday season:
‘Tis the Season to Customize Your Workplace Holiday Traditions
This year, modify your holiday traditions to fit your evolving workplace model. Start by surveying employees to get new ideas and feedback on how past company holiday activities can be modified to ensure remote workers feel valued and included. For example, maybe your annual in-office holiday party expands to include a robust virtual attendance option. The goal is to find creative ways to celebrate and build connections unique to your employees – and workplace.
Deck Your Company Calendar with a Variety of Virtual Activities
Working in a virtual environment has its challenges, from intermittent feelings of isolation and loneliness to concerns that contributions may go unnoticed by teammates and management. Help strengthen bonds between co-workers by planning holiday activities everyone can enjoy.
A few festive ideas to consider:
- Holiday Photo Scavenger Hunts: Workers receive a list of photos they must capture on camera within a designated time limit (such as a holiday baking fail or a unique ornament.) First-, second- and third-place teams win prizes and/or bragging rights.
- Gingerbread House Decorating Contest: Send remote employees a gingerbread house decorating kit and pass them out to in-house staff members. Then pick a day where everyone sets aside 1-2 hours to design and build their scrumptious home on Zoom. Ask everyone to display the results on camera and submit votes for the most colorful, unique, festive, and wackiest houses.
- Online Secret Santa: Use an online platform such as Gifster, Elfster, or DrawNames to assign “Secret Santas” and choose a date for the gift exchange, whether it be in person or via video call.
- Zoom Carolyoke: Gather team members together to sing songs of cheer and pay tribute to the coming new year. Search YouTube for holiday lyric videos that you can stream across screens.
- Holly-day Happy Hours: Plan a virtual happy hour with a twist. Invite everyone to wear ugly Christmas sweaters and send a bottle of wine or holiday-themed cocktail mix to remote employees in advance, so they are ready to chat, mingle and play festive games online with co-workers
Give the Gift of Presence to Remote Employees and Managers
Demonstrate your commitment to bridging gaps and nurturing your company culture by setting aside time at the end of the year to meet (individually) with employees working in hybrid roles and managers leading remote teams. This will help you to identify the tools, training, and support needed to create a positive and productive work environment—setting your employees and your company up for success in the coming year.