The Importance of Virtual Events to Your Remote Team in 2021
The past decade has ushered in a new era of workplace culture, as more and more organizations have transitioned to a remote work environment. This trend has recently skyrocketed due to the Coronavirus pandemic, with even the most traditional workplaces pivoting to a remote workforce.
While most organizations making this change try to keep the key components of their company culture intact, it isn’t always an easy thing to do. After all, some components are arguably more difficult than others to recreate in a virtual setting.
One element of team cultures that too often falls through the cracks in the transition from physical to remote teams is events.
Events have a way of bringing a group of people together in a unique way.
Remote work has changed the logistics required of team events, especially when teams consist of traditional and remote employees. And throwing a pandemic into the mix, certainly complicates things even more.
The intentionality behind planning a team meeting or call with a client should be matched in your implementation of culture activities that will better your organization. Team meetings and calls are part of the daily or weekly process of keeping your business moving forward and maybe even lighting a spark of creativity and productivity in your team. Events, when implemented properly, are meant to throw gasoline on this spark, giving your team momentum in a specific direction.
Now, this might be a concept you hadn’t considered before. But company Christmas parties, end of the year (or end of the quarter) celebrations, kickoff events, or any other random gathering of your team have the potential to celebrate their success while simultaneously inspiring them to achieve more success going forward.
Don’t forget, employees replicate what you celebrate.
But your event doesn’t just have to be purely for the purpose of celebration. Just like physical events, virtual ones can be equally as diverse. All of the types of events you loved in your physical workspace are still just as possible in the virtual space.
Before we get any further, let’s take a look at some of the cold hard facts that you and your organization should be aware of (and how virtual events could be the solution).
Engagement in the Workplace
The modern employee is disengaged at work. This is true regardless of whether or not they are physically in the workplace or working from home. According to a Gallup poll, 85% of employees report feeling disengaged in the workplace. These employees are reportedly costing the US economy $500 billion per year.
Disengagement is even harder to track in remote employees. And when the stresses of home and work life coincide, it is sure to have a negative effect on work performance.
As an employer, it’s hard to track the disengagement of your employees and won’t be something you can track until you see the negative impact it has made on your company.
However, the opposite is true for engaged employees.
In a study of 64 organizations, conducted by the Kenexa Research Institute, companies with highly engaged employees achieved twice the annual net income of organizations whose employees weren’t engaged.
While virtual events might not be the solution to every problem within your organization, they are sure to boost the overall experience of your team and create a greater sense of community – two invaluable characteristics of a healthy, profitable business.
According to GUSTO, 54% of employees say a strong sense of community (celebrating events, interacting with coworkers, etc.) kept them at a company longer.
Many studies have shown a direct correlation between employee satisfaction and company profitability.
A recent Forbes article states that 70% of executives believe improved employee experience leads to improved customer experience, which in turn leads to rapid revenue growth. Put differently, the more enjoyable the employee experience, the better they handle customer interactions, and the more revenue is generated for your company.
Hosting virtual events regularly ensures that your team is all on the same page when it comes to the work they are doing and the goals they are working toward.
In 2020, Forbes reported that 42% of employees experienced increased stress levels caused by working from home. Today, so many employees are stressed about changes in their personal and professional lives. It’s important to make sure they are content AND on the same page.
Planning for the Future
As we mentioned in the beginning, even without taking Covid-19 into account, the remote work trend is on the rise. So much so that 73% of all departments are expected to have remote workers by the year 2028.
When it comes to planning for the future of your company, this is an important decision that many companies will have to make. Figuring out a strategy for your remote team that accommodates their needs now will save you time and allow your company to stand out in the eyes of your employees as an organization that values all of its employees.
Frequently asked questions about virtual events:
- When should I host virtual events? How often? Depending on the size of your team and the availability of online resources, holidays are a great time to slow down and gather your team for an event. For a sales team, kickoff events might be what you need. Or even a random day in the middle of a busy season to slow down and recenter your team. Events can be hosted by departments or for your entire team. Check out one of our recent blogs on the types of events we find most valuable.
- What events are best for my team in 2021? 2020 was quite the year for us event planners, and you undoubtedly felt the same pressure in whatever industry you might be operating in. One of our recent blogs breaks down the 9 types of events we recommend for 2021. These will help your team reset and get you back on track for a productive and effective year ahead.
- What if my team is only partially remote? Hybrid events are some of our favorite ones to host and offer some of the best value to your team because they cater to their specific needs. These are hosted in person and offer an online component to allow remote employees to tune in and participate alongside their counterparts in the physical space. For more insight into the hybrid event process, read this case study on how we planned and executed a recent hybrid event.
- How do virtual events work? Virtual events replicate the experience of physical, in-person events. When hosted over Zoom (or any other online platform), different speakers can be brought in, spotlighted when talking, and muted when finished. Using the chat function, you can poll the audience or engage them without having to talk to them directly. This allows the audience to feel engaged even though they aren’t in the same physical space as everyone else.
- What platform should I use for my virtual event? We love Zoom and Airmeet, but there are plenty of others to choose from as well. One thing we do recommend is switching to a different platform for your event than the one your company uses on a daily basis. So if you normally use Zoom, switch to Airmeet for your event. This will be a little bit of extra work as you plan the event. But it will allow your team to feel like they are participating in something different than their regular, daily meeting.
- How do I keep my team engaged during a virtual event? We’re glad you asked! One of our favorite things to do with an in-person or virtual audience is to play icebreaker games. Our Youtube channel is full of valuable icebreakers that are sure to keep your team laughing and engaged with the content!
Check out our virtual event starter pack which includes everything you might need to begin the process of planning your own team event.
Still feel overwhelmed by the virtual event planning process? Let us know! We would love to help make your next event a huge success. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how we can help with your next event.