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Annual offsites

23/11/2020 Comments Off on Annual Offsites: To Do Or Not To Do During Covid? Views: 872 Work Culture

Annual Offsites: To Do Or Not To Do During Covid?

Offsites do a great deal for an organisation by significantly improving employee productivity. With team bonding activities, extended strategy meetings, motivational speeches, brainstorming sessions, and  training workshops for employees, organisations plan and schedule activities as an investment towards eventual growth. Although it’s still business, being away from the office and not having to deal with commute and client calls is motivation enough for employees to be in the best of their spirits. Not to mention, it is during such offsites that new connections are made across teams, designations and generations, which employees take back to the office with them. But this year, it seems like there’s no hope of the offsite everyone looks forward to. 

So what can be done instead?

Keep the offsite spirit alive

Unlike old times, employees now work from home, from the corners in their rooms they now call the office. When working remotely, what can possibly be done to ensure the same level of collaboration among employees? After all, the best offsites are done together, and physically off the usual site. 

But just like everything else in the Covid-world has been resorted to the virtual space, so can the annual offsite. While virtual team bonding activities may not have the same impact, it is important to organise employee engagement activities to increase social interaction. 

Like everything today, virtual is the way to go

It will soon be a year since organisations announced an inestimable work from home, driving employees to connect virtually for any and every work. But the general consensus is that communication level amongst team members has gone down. Something that was as easy as turning a chair around or walking to the coffee machine now requires more effort. This doesn’t end here. Less communication can subconsciously lead to less employee engagement and hence, demotivation. In such times, an offsite is all the more necessary and imperative! Even if it means organising virtual activities that facilitate team bonding as well as engagement. 

They say, with necessity come solutions and it’s true. Many organisations today have resorted to technology for the sake of bettering communication within teams. They have invested in AR softwares as it is cost-effective and bridges the communication gap between teams with experiential collaboration. But there’s always other ways for organisations to engage employees and push team building. Virtual escape rooms teams up employees to solve mysteries or treasure hunt with gamified apps. Remote karaoke, online puzzles and other common ‘get to know each other’ icebreaker sessions can be conducted.

Think creatively, think impactful

Only recently, PharmEasy’s HR team designed a virtual offsite to enable interpersonal relationships and reduce stress in the Covid world. This virtual offsite was simple – an hour filled with fun and happiness on video call. They hosted an icebreaker activity where each employee had to guess the lie from 3 statements that were given to them. Other activities included a treasure hunt, Bollywood quiz, tongue twisters, guessing games etc. Through all these activities, the importance of team coordination and communication was stressed upon. 

In all of this, what the HR team needs to ensure is that there is a line drawn to differentiate between the offsite day and usual recurrent meetings. At the end of the day, most people are tired of the increase in screen time and establishing this difference and sticking to it, is crucial. If there’s anything one can learn from this need for hosting a virtual offsite, it is not just important for the organisation’s growth but also for the employees to realise the significance of togetherness. And of course, have fun as well!

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