Why virtual experiences are essential for hybrid and remote teams

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In the bad old days, employees were tethered to their offices eight hours a day, five days a week – and they were expected to endure a lengthy commute for the privilege, too. 

Now, though, things are changing… and for the better, at last. From Zoom to Microsoft Teams, to all the new technology available, it’s easier than ever to work from home – and it’s become increasingly clear that remote working is only set to become more popular in the future. Indeed, according to recent Gartner research, “By 2030, the demand for remote work will increase by 30% as Gen Z will enter the workforce.”

Is it any wonder, then, that virtual experiences are becoming so essential for hybrid and remote teams?

Virtual experiences create meaningful bonds and help alleviate loneliness

With colleagues able to log in and work from anywhere, it’s more important than ever for employers to create opportunities for meaningful connection and engagement. To get people around the company (and potentially around the world) talking on a regular basis. To create, above all else, a sense of camaraderie. And not just for the sake of their happiness and mental well-being; according to research conducted and shared by Fast Company, office friendships increase employee engagement and productivity. If there’s a strong bond in place, then employees don’t want to let their coworkers down.

“Workplaces that convert their employees’ untenable ties into the durable bonds shared by fast friends will have cultures and communities that are alive and generative – in one word, thriving,” explains Fast Company’s Jessica Amortegui.

“As denizens of these communities, we will be doing something even more powerful than bringing our lives and souls with us to work: we will be sharing them with friends.”

Virtual experiences can help to keep employees engaged

Employee engagement is vital to the running of a successful business. Indeed, a recent study by the Kenexa Research Institute found that companies with highly engaged employees achieve twice the net annual income of companies whose employees lag behind on engagement.

“We found in a study of 64 organisations, companies with highly engaged employees achieve twice the annual net income of organisations whose employees aren’t engaged.”

Organising virtual experiences for your remote and hybrid employees – whether that be a cocktail-making class, a few icebreaker games, or something completely different – is a great way to boost engagement and morale, because it helps to show employees that you care about their wellbeing.

Virtual experiences can boost creativity and innovation

It’s great to have people on your team who work well in isolation, but it’s always a good idea to bring everyone together every once in a while; when people get talking, they start bouncing ideas off of one another, and that’s how some of the best new projects are born!

Virtual experiences can help to reduce stress and burnout

Did you know that 1 in 4 employees regard their job as the number one stressor in their lives? So why not swerve burnout culture and give your employees a break every so often? By booking in a virtual experience for them to take part in, you’re giving them a chance to switch off from work, have fun with one another, and recharge their batteries while bonding as a team – which will only benefit everyone in the long run.

Virtual experiences can help to boost motivation 

If there’s one thing every leader wants to learn the secret to, it’s keeping employees motivated. Thankfully, it can be as simple as having your hybrid and remote teams take part in a virtual experience every so often,

Why? Well, because taking part in something new and exciting reminds staff that their employers truly do care about them – which, in turn, should give them a much-needed morale boost, not to mention a renewed sense of loyalty.

And if there’s one thing that motivates people to work hard, it’s knowing that they are being managed by someone who has their best interests at heart.

Virtual experiences can help to identify strengths (and weaknesses)

It can be all too easy for brilliant employees to go unnoticed during the hustle and bustle of the working day. Booking in a virtual experience, though, allows you the chance to get to know everyone a lot better; the leaders, the movers, the shakers. And, if you pick the right virtual experience, you might just get a chance to learn more about their hidden talents, too.

Why does this matter? Well, research has shown that those of us who get to use their strengths at work every day are 8% more productive and 15% less likely to quit. Time to tap into their strengths, we think.

Virtual experiences can boost communication (and make leaders feel more approachable)

When you’re the Big Boss, it can be hard for employees to speak up; in fact, new research released by Fierce Conversations and Quantum Workplace has revealed that an overwhelming 50% of employees don’t regularly speak up about concerns. 

Now, we already know that a good relationship with management can increase employee satisfaction, productivity and reduce turnover, giving a boost to the company culture. So, how do we encourage and foster that good relationship? By attending virtual experiences alongside our remote and hybrid teams, of course!

Doing so allows leaders the chance to shed their Big Boss persona and humanise themselves, because – let’s face facts – being seen having fun with everyone can only help to boost approachability.

Tempted to try a virtual experience for yourself? Check out Jurnee’s selection of brilliant online activities for you and your employees to enjoy (and reap the benefits of) ASAP.