We never could have predicted the events of 2020 that would shape our world and change the global corporate workforce as we know it. For a corporate culture agency specializing in corporate retreats and travel, the closing of borders and grounding of flights was daunting, to say the least. However, we chose to rise to the challenge and pivoted from connecting people through travel to doing so in the virtual world when that became the only option.
We used our eye for creative culture building to create our signature memorable team experiences again, but this time, in a remote setting. With over eight unique virtual team building experiences, we work with clients like Google and Coca-Cola and have managed to grow our team, adapt our circumstances, and succeed in a new medium. Here’s how we did it.
When companies made the switch to working remotely, it amazed us how quickly employees felt they lost touch with their colleagues. With no preparation for such a large and dramatic shift in their work environment, many of the activities meant to connect employees online were not engaging enough or simply didn’t happen at all. Both the personal connection and sense of community that are so vital to positive company culture were lost.
The companies we once planed retreats for were still leaning on us to help them reignite and maintain that engagement even in a work from home setting. We realized that we were never just a travel company to our clients; we were actually a one-stop-shop for them to outsource culture-building. With this realization, we could spring into action and take what we already knew about creating team events and apply it to the virtual world.
“Ready, Fire, Aim”. Sean Hoff, our Founder and Managing Partner at Moniker, uses this mantra as a reminder to take risks, learn from mistakes and then make the necessary changes along the way. Businesses often get stuck in overthinking the potential consequences of a risk and remain indecisive, leading to analysis paralysis. Instead, we did our homework, made educated decisions, and took calculated risks that lead to huge benefits for us and our clients.
We looked at the online social events happening at the time and found much of the same: virtual yoga sessions and online happy hours. Lacking structure and variety, these online activities were starting to feel more like a chore where you were obliged to show face, rather than a fun way to connect and have a laugh with fellow employees. Virtual call fatigue is very real, and we recognized that the challenge lay in creating events that seamlessly integrated team-building and events that people would look forward to.
Once we had this base understanding, we could move forward without getting stuck in the overthinking stage. We had our goal, take what we know best and build on it to make the immersive web events. So we set to work to identify and develop unique ways to keep the remote workforce engaged and connected from the ground up.
With a lot of creativity, imagination, and brainstorming, we created and offered 3 interactive virtual experiences in the first few months. We teamed up with a group of professional actors who enacted these Zoom events, from murder mysteries to virtual escape rooms to lunar distaster scenarios.
However, this didn’t happen overnight. Switching from the travel world to a virtual platform meant completely changing our whole team’s day-to-day tasks, and operations as a whole. Our creative and hard-working team was willing to jump right in, try new things, and especially bring all their other talents to the table. What was originally a team that planned and executed our elaborate trips was now a team of talent managers, casting agents, Escape Room puzzle designers, certified SEM specialists, murder mystery scriptwriters, 3D renderers, and so on.
Thinking outside the box and encouraging our team members to contribute different skills than they normally employ for their positions was what skyrocketed us to the eight high-caliber and immersive virtual experiences we have now.
During this massive shift we were actually able to expand our team and continue to evolve and innovate in the corporate field. Our team’s willingness to take risks, learn from mistakes, and act on new ideas is what allowed us to thrive in the pandemic era.
As the end of 2021 approaches, it’s clear that the remote work population will only continue to grow. With travel also returning to the stage, we are moving forward in both realms. By staying on top of current trends and constantly learning, we will move with the times while maintaining our core values and signature authenticity. We’re confident that we’ll continue to captivate our clients and cultivate community for many years to come.