Engagement and productivity are two sides of the same coin, as they work in tandem to help you achieve your goals. Even though we tend to put more emphasis on productivity, workplace engagement has an equally vital role to play as it ensures that your people are happy and energized to perform at their very best.
So, how can you boost workplace engagement? Virtual coffee breaks are an effective way to achieve that. This article will explore creative ideas to engage your people.
What Is a Virtual Coffee Break?
A virtual coffee break is an online activity that allows employees to engage with each other on topics not related to work. This intentional allocation of time empowers colleagues to connect on a more personal level, which in turn boosts morale and helps develop a sense of community within your organization.
Do you remember those random daily chit-chats with your co-workers around the water cooler or coffee machine? Weren’t they a great way to re-energize your day and boost engagement? Well, a virtual coffee break is basically the same thing, but it takes place online, with a focus on camaraderie and not necessarily the caffeine.
With this in mind, you should not ignore the significance of those water cooler conversations or coffee break activities just because your office is virtual. With a bit of creativity, virtually anything can be turned into an engaging activity, and here’s why it is worth the effort:
- It helps build a sense of community. Having a virtual coffee break provides an excellent forum for team bonding.
- Virtual coffee breaks can set the right tone for your daily videoconference meetings.
- Virtual coffee breaks can improve communication between colleagues.
- These breaks create knowledge-sharing opportunities that help boost collaboration and productivity.
- Virtual coffee breaks can help to ease feelings of isolation.
- Virtual coffee breaks create numerous opportunities for cross-departmental networking.
- Having a virtual coffee break can help new hires to feel more connected and welcomed into your organization.
If you are sold on the importance of virtual coffee breaks in your remote workplace but don’t know how to start, here are some creative ideas to help you jump-start your program.
1. Play Wordle
Have you jumped on the Wordle bandwagon yet? If not, don’t worry; this might just be the perfect activity for your next virtual coffee break.
Wordle is a fun, and at times frustrating, web-based word puzzle game that has been making the rounds on the Internet. Each day, the game presents a mystery five-letter word you need to guess in six attempts.
It’s the perfect game to bring some fun to people who need to scratch that competitive itch during their breaks. All you need to do is visit their website to start playing. Once you have exhausted all your attempts, the site makes it easy to share your results on social media or even in your Slack water cooler channel to get your colleagues involved.
If you feel particularly competitive, you can add incentives to increase engagement, such as bragging rights or Amazon gift cards. Here are some tips and tricks to help you improve your score on Wordle so that you have a better chance of winning.
2. Play a Virtual Pub Quiz
Aside from being much fun, playing a virtual pub quiz is also an excellent way to build knowledge and camaraderie in your team.
Virtual pub quizzes are fun and challenging, at times, ensuring that employees engage in the activity. If you want to make things even more interesting for your virtual coffee break, try adding some incentives.
So, what do you need to get started? You need a quizmaster who will prepare the questions beforehand and moderate the game. You can organize the questions into sections like Geography, History, pop culture, Sports, just to name a few, for a well-rounded game. However, if you struggle to come up with questions, you can find some inspiration here.
Since it’s happening virtually, you will have to settle for a video conferencing platform like Zoom or Microsoft Teams in place of a pub/bar. You could also use a dedicated platform like the remote pub quiz app to automate the process. This app has an in-built scoreboard to monitor progress and a list of quizzes to choose from.
3. Play Emoji Charades
This is a fun spin on the classic favorite, Charades, where a player has to act out a given word, phrase, or movie title to get their team to guess it. However, as the name implies, you play emoji charades using emojis only.
Before starting this game, you will need an internal communication tool like Slack or Microsoft Teams; just make sure it has enough emojis. Next, pick a specific number of emojis corresponding to the number of players. Then, assign numbers to each emoji.
Ask each participant to pick a number and send them the corresponding emoji via text to start the game. You can give each player a minute or two to act out their emojis using hand gestures and facial expressions alone, without talking!
The first person to guess the correct emoji gets the point. If no one guesses correctly in time, the actor loses a point. You can also deduct a point each time the actor speaks. The participant who accumulates the most points at the end wins the game.
4. Start a Virtual Book Club
If you and your team enjoy reading, try starting a virtual book club. The idea is to read the same book with your colleagues during your spare time and discuss it during your virtual coffee breaks.
The first thing you will need to start your virtual book club is a communication platform like Slack or a dedicated book club app like Bookship that you can use to discuss the book. You can then choose your first book and start reading.
Give everyone enough time to finish the book, or you can agree to have a virtual meeting after completing each chapter.
However, this does not necessarily have to be a book club; you can apply the same concept to any other hobby that a few people in your team might enjoy. For example, you could start a virtual cooking club to discuss the best recipes or a virtual game club to talk about your favorite games.
Spice Up Your Meetings With These Virtual Coffee Break Ideas
Although the remote work environment leaves little or no room for in-person interactions, it still gives you numerous opportunities to leverage technology to boost engagement and team building in your workplace.
Virtual coffee breaks are a way to enjoy quality time with colleagues while learning more about them. Not only that, but these activities also offer a few minutes of fun in the middle of a busy day, which are necessary to recharge and boost productivity.
Working remotely does not need to be monotonous. Here are some Slack games and apps to help inject some fun into your workspace.
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