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5 creative ways to drive employee engagement for remote teams

image of Chef Eric Adjepong

It's been almost a year since the COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down and into seemingly endless lockdowns. Individuals and families have suffered incredible hardship and loss. Businesses have struggled and have been forced to adapt. Many have also prospered by embracing innovation and change. Here at Brightspot, our teams have embraced the pandemic's remote-work realities to support our products and our customers. We are also a community of colleagues who daily come together to collaborate from behind screens across the world. But it's not all about the work, as we as individuals need opportunities to mentally and physically reset and recharge. Without the usual chance to enjoy lunches, social events, coffee breaks and other in-person office activities, here are a few fun virtual occasions the Brightspot team has been enjoying to keep morale high.

Team races

screenshot of Running of the Presidents, a Brightspot employee engagement event

The pandemic doesn't mean we are frozen in place. Social distancing might be needed, but physical activity is key to keeping healthy and positive. In the past year, we've kept the competition friendly and upped the step count with a series of themed virtual races. To date, we have raced across the United States, up the Appalachian Trail and across the galaxy, with employees broken into teams to encourage people to stay active during the pandemic by walking, running or biking.

image of Brightspot Space Race participants

Pandemic virtual race stats

196
Total days of exercise
7
Completed race events
324
Total individual race participants

Virtual classes

Brightspot cooking evening with Top Chef contestant Eric Adjepong

As you can learn from our On the Record with Rose interview series, Brightspot's employees have a diverse and eclectic range of interests. This diversity brings fresh ideas and innovation to the workplace every day. To keep minds fresh and not just focused on the work, the pandemic has offered opportunities for us to meet virtually to learn new skills. Employees gathered on one Friday evening with Top Chef contestant Eric Adjepong (pictured above) for an entertaining evening cooking dinner with each other over Zoom. Virtual yoga classes are a way for us to relax and decompress after work in a social group setting.

Local volunteer drives

brightspot_food_drive.jpg

Giving back to the community is one of our company's core tenets. The coronavirus outbreak has increased the need for us to look out for our families, friends and our neighbors. With demand at our local food banks at an all-time high, we organized food drives to support our communities. Participating employees were broken into small teams with a captain responsible for picking up donations and dropping them off at a local food bank or shelter. Other volunteer activities to help our employees connect to and give back to our communities have included virtual student mentoring and an Angel Tree gift drive over the holidays.

2020 by the numbers

22
Mission projects
1,014
Lives impacted
465
Employee opportunities

Virtual coffee breaks

screenshot of Brightspot employee pets, part of a Slack virtual coffee break

Working from home means lots of Zoom meetings, Google Hangouts and Slack chats. But don't forget the need for the occasional mental break for your employees. In an attempt to replicate the random, in-office conversations during a trip to get a cup of coffee, we implemented the Donut application on our Slack channel to help people connect with their colleagues for informal chats. For new employees in particular, this has been a great way to foster new connections that go beyond team and work silos. Other virtual hangouts have brought people together to discuss their favorite podcasts, share recipe ideas and even catch up on the water-cooler gossip from the latest episode of The Bachelor.

Game breaks

screenshot of Brightspot holiday gift bracket

At Brightspot, our work and customers come first, but a little friendly competition is a great way to build a creative outlet for remote teams. Throughout the summer, employees joined up for an after-work game night playing Quiplash, Drawful and others. This has extended recently to include short 15-minute Among Us games to give people a break during the workday, as well as some creative March Madness-style brackets around events like the holidays and Halloween.

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