Remember the time before you started working remotely? When you were in an office and would chat with colleagues during a coffee break or over lunch? Or when you’d brainstorm with your team on a new project?

It seems like such a long time ago. For nearly a year now, the only workplace interaction that people have had is online. But human beings are social animals. And months of working from home has been rough for many people. The isolation has taken a toll on many people forced to shift to remote work almost overnight early last year.

And that’s why organizations are going the extra mile to keep employees engaged. They are using a variety of employee engagement activities to infuse warmth and combat the feeling of social isolation among people. 

These activities are a fun way to de-stress, check-in with colleagues of different teams, talk about something other than work, foster the feeling of being a part of a larger team (the organization), and rejuvenate during office hours.

At Harappa, we have nudged our peers to develop and nurture these relationships by participating in the following activities:

  • PechaKucha: We used this popular story-telling format to bring Harappans together to connect during the lockdown through their shared experiences. PechaKucha, which literally translates as “chit chat” in Japanese, is a popular alternative to traditional forms of business communication with just one aim: to make presentations fun. Harappans used PechaKucha to talk about their favorite books or places to visit through simple but visually compelling six-slide mini-presentations. You can read more about PechaKucha here.

  • Virtual Hunt: An online version of a traditional scavenger hunt, the virtual hunt was a team activity that involved solving an exhaustive series of tasks collaboratively. The aim was to bring Harappans from different teams together and work on something fun. The hunt involved solving a series of jigsaw puzzles, anagrams, riddles and math problems. This activity helped colleagues see the competitive and collaborative side of fellow Harappans.

  • Let’s Get Quizzicle: A company favorite, this is a regular competitive trivia evening where different teams organize fun quiz evenings spread over 10 rounds. Participants felt the quiz helped them destress and the fun banter was a nice change from the general work conversations of other meetings.

  • CodeName Evening: CodeName is a popular multiplayer online guessing game that we organized for smaller groups. The motivation was to get the conversation flowing with this fun game of words and spycraft.

  • The Inner Life of Harappa: Another activity that we organized to keep employees engaged was the AMA (Ask Me Anything) event. Our oldest, as well as newest leaders at Harappa, shared stories about their teams as well as their evolution over the past two years. The informal sessions where leaders shared personal anecdotes and inside jokes helped newer employees feel more comfortable and relaxed.

Many Harappans say these fun engagement activities have helped them beat 2020. Not only have they kept people engaged but they have also helped employees remain connected despite the distance. 

Prachi Ahluwalia is Associate, Organizational Excellence at Harappa Education. She did her post-graduation in Liberal Arts from Ashoka University and plunged into a career of people, culture and processes. Most days Prachi can be found wearing Kurtis as a substitute for cloaks, reading happily-ever-after novels and working on her not-so-Picasso paintings.

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