You can almost hear the collective sigh when another Zoom invitation is sent. The fatigue is real, and it’s understandable. While it’s wonderful that we’ve been able to take advantage of amazing virtual platforms such as Teams, Skype, WebEx, etc. to connect online, it’s just not quite enough sometimes. Every now and then, you crave more engagement than simply staring at your colleagues’ faces and judging their homes (you know you do it, don’t pretend).
So, what else is there to do to collaborate and network online? As it turns out…plenty! Thanks to some creativity and great use of technology, there’s more ways to connect with your peers than staring at them as they tell what appears to be a very important story, all while on mute. From virtual trivia nights to making cheese, coming together online can be a fun, bonding experience.
Here are a few ways you can get creative with networking and staying engaged, virtually.
There are plenty of competitive and collaborative ways to connect online, from virtual Jeopardy, to scavenger hunts, virtual escape rooms, and more. Many sites have a variety of activities for small and large groups. SIOR has taken part in a number of bonding activities for its staff, including virtual trivia games. For SIOR’s CREate 360 conference, a virtual In It to Win It game (inspired by the TV show) will be held as a member group networking event, sending participants on 60-second adventures to complete challenges inside their own homes. What better way to bond than to laugh at – I mean cheer on - your peers as they attempt silly tasks!
Virtual gambling has been around for a while, but it’s usually done against unknown players or computer opponents. Most companies haven’t taken advantage of creating their own online poker rooms or virtual casino parlors until recently – and there are many different options out there. SIOR, for example, is hosting a Virtual Casino Night during its CREate 360 networking event for young professionals. A live casino experience is mimicked, including all the popular games such as Blackjack, Roulette, Craps, and Poker. Attendees can interact with a live dealer and choose to move around to different tables. There’s even a Pit Boss to manage the whole experience!
3. Food & Drinks
Perhaps the hardest part of quarantine is missing out on the socialization gained from having lunch together, chatting by the water cooler, or going to happy hour. Virtual happy hours certainly help – but you can take that one step further! Many talented chefs and mixologists have begun hosting virtual lessons online where you can organize your own cooking class or mixology event. Some courses tell you the ingredients to gather beforehand, while others send participants the items they need right to their homes. You can make cheese, chocolate, entire three-course meals, or specialty cocktails, all while watching and chatting with your peers at the same time. Then of course, you can bond by enjoying your efforts together and comparing how everyone did. The SIOR Independent Brokerage Member Group is holding a Beer & Cheese Tasting networking event during CREate 360, where they will learn how to pour the perfect pint, as well as which cheese pairs best with which beer – there will even be trivia and a contest (post-tasting, so the answers should be…enlightening…)
What brings people together more than music and laughter? You can still laugh with your peers or enjoy live music together, from the comfort of your own home. Many artists are doing free live concerts, while others are offering you the chance to schedule private ones. The SIOR Canada Central Chapter hosted a virtual comedy night that was a huge success, bringing in talented local comedians and enjoying a networking happy hour all in one.
5. Skills & Strategy
Learn a new skill or try to tackle a project together online for a team-building experience. You can attend virtual escape rooms, or even learn how to build a piece of furniture together. There are so many activities to choose from, that you can find an experience that your team can really relate to. For example the SIOR Office member group is hosting a virtual horse racing event, but it’s not just any race – they will have to form teams, strategize, bet, train, and plot the best way to beat their opponents/peers. Combining teamwork and competition is always a fun way to come together online.
Whatever options you choose, just make sure it’s fun, on brand with your team, and stress-free. After all, there’s enough stress in 2020, we don’t need any more! Now’s the time to come together for unity, laughter, and smiles.
If you’re interested in attending events like these during SIOR’s CREate 360 conference in October, click here to learn more and register (please note some events are invitation-only).