Employees Crave Creative Ways to Connect in the Hybrid Workplace

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laptop and tablet showing a Zoom happy hour for remote work

Workers are burnt out on Zoom “happy” hours. And the hybrid workplace is here to stay. So how can employers maintain company culture in a workplace that blends remote work with in-person?

At Emeraude Escape, our goal has always been to provide companies with the tools to empower their employees and build a sense of team. As we pivoted to virtual escape rooms and digital game solutions during the pandemic, we decided it was time to figure out what employees wanted first and foremost. 

Data tells the story

So we surveyed 1,039 newly-remote workers to determine how the hybrid workplace has been affecting their connections with colleagues and the company’s mission and values. We also wanted to know what tools workers prefer to boost their relationships with others and fill the socialization gap created by remote work.

Many of the results cut against the common wisdom that employees are less engaged during remote work. 

Surprisingly, remote work has deepened, rather than strained, relationships. 55% of workers said they felt closer to their team since starting remote work, and 60% felt more connected to their company’s mission and culture.

remote work pie chart

The reason for this result? 

Savvy employers are investing in virtual team-building and social activities that strengthen interpersonal bonds. 

Nearly 62% of workers in our survey said their companies had hosted virtual team-building events at least once a month, while 30% had events once a week. It has no doubt been a learning experience for the majority of companies that made the switch to remote work, but companies have been putting in the work to keep those bonds strong.

The most surprising stat of all from our survey was that most employees want virtual team-building events even more often. 

72% of workers want these events at least once a month, and 91% of workers want virtual team-building activities at a minimum quarterly. There’s a lot of interest on the part of employees to connect with colleagues. 

COVID-19 sparked the remote work migration and it’s here to stay, whether in a hybrid model or fully remote. It is estimated that 25 to 30% of U.S. employees will work from home at least multiple days per week by the end of 2021, according to a Global Workplace Analytics study.

As companies move into year two of the pandemic and a future of hybrid work it’s up to them to keep virtual experiences fresh for their employees.

remote work virtual teams chart

No more Zoom happy hours, please!

Zoom Fatigue is setting in — especially with Zoom Happy Hours, according to the Emeraude survey. Only 25% of respondents preferred this type of team-building activity. There’s simply a gap between which activities get employees excited and what employers are offering. 

To combat employee fatigue, apathy and boredom, employers must get creative. It’s all about digital team games and the escapification of remote work. 70% of workers said they would be excited to play competitive virtual games. Two of the top “most wanted” virtual activities in the survey involved some sort of game and 95% of employees said they would be excited to play a virtual escape room.

When it comes to retaining your best employees, engagement matters. It’s imperative to keep staff satisfied and connected — especially in the hybrid workplace.

We saw this first-hand with our own staff. After pivoting from in-person to remote escape rooms during the pandemic, we witnessed a spectacular boom of our client requests for digital escape rooms. Without a connected and engaged staff, we could never have fulfilled the demand. Since pivoting to digital games for corporations, Emeraude Escape has served hundreds of thousands of employees from companies like Microsoft, Colgate, AstraZeneca, Hermes, LVMH and L’Oreal. Emeraude will launch an expanded line of tailor-made corporate gamified solutions later this year.

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