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18 Fun Virtual Employee Engagement Activity Ideas To Try in 2024

Genevieve Michaels

To do their best work, people need to feel valued, appreciated, and fulfilled. That doesn’t change just because we’re connecting by Zoom and Slack, rather than in boardrooms and over the coffee maker. 

But creating engagement in virtual workplaces might feel like a bit of a puzzle. Engagement is all about genuine connection, both to our work, and to each other. How does that work when we rarely (or never) see each other face to face? 

The answer is planning, creativity, and a little technology magic. There are so many ways to create moments for fun, connection, and growth. Virtual employee engagement activities can look like Zoom parties, group meditations, employee engagement games, and even one-on-one meetings with your company’s CEO.

As these virtual employee engagement ideas show, you can have both — close-knit, highly engaged teams, and all the incredible advantages that remote work can offer. The only limit is your own imagination. 

1. Virtual coffee breaks

Part of what makes in-office work so special are the spontaneous conversations that happen in between other tasks. But there’s no reason you can’t bring those bonding moments into a virtual workplace, too — you just need to be intentional about it. 

Try setting up a standing, 15-minute “coffee break” Zoom call twice a day. When that coffee break hits, anyone who’s in between tasks can drop in, catch up, and unwind. 

2. Home tours

Why not get to know where your colleagues are living and working from? This could be especially interesting if you’re a distributed team who’s located all over the country (or world). 

Try holding an open slot for a home tour on your team’s calendar once a month. Interested team members can sign up to show colleagues around their home! 

Just be sure to make it optional. Some people might not feel comfortable showing their living space, and that’s okay. 

3. Show and tell

Show and tell is a fun, playful way to let people bring their lives and personalities into a virtual workplace! Participants can share family trinkets or photos, something related to their hobby, or a creative project. 

Just like home tours, try holding an open time slot for show and tell, potentially as part of a catch-up or all-hands meeting. Anyone who wants to can sign up to share!

4. One-on-one video calls with the founder or CEO

Give employees a chance to share their goals, interests, and questions directly with your company’s founder (or senior leader). Not only could it lead to a mutually beneficial relationship, it can help employees feel more connected to the organization as a whole. 

These leaders are usually quite busy, meaning these connections won’t happen unless you plan for it — especially in a virtual workspace without the potential for chance encounters.

5. Online training

Professional development and goal support are two clear drivers of employee engagement. 

Give your people a way to build their skills and keep growing with free, easily accessible online training. 

People can gain knowledge they’ll use in their existing role, or skills that are relevant to where they want to be in the future. 

6. Feedback sessions

Employees aren’t mind readers — just like anyone else, they need feedback to improve. To create better performance and outcomes, feedback cannot be treated as an afterthought in a virtual workplace. 

Hold regular 1-1 meetings with all team members, including time to provide and discuss feedback. Ideally, use a tool like 15Five that lets you record feedback, track it over time, and translate it into actionable goals. 

7. Multiplayer gaming

Bring some fun, competitive spirit to your next team building session! There are so many ways to game together, with hundreds of options from the super-simple to advanced. 

For an accessible option, consider online office games like this drawing game or Scrabble. If your team already has enthusiastic gamers, you can even log into your favorite online RPG, like Minecraft or Roblox, together.  

8. Dedicated home office funds

Show employees you care about their comfort with a stipend to upgrade their home office. Provide ideas and guidance, from lower back support to better lighting, if people aren’t sure where to start. 

This isn’t just a kind gesture — an ergonomic, comfortable office space will improve productivity. Just remember, this is a tiny fraction of the cost of maintaining a traditional company office! 

9. Virtual employee recognition/appreciation day

Recognizing people’s hard work is the most important way to keep them satisfied, engaged, and motivated. Did you know that companies who emphasize recognition tend to have 31% lower voluntary turnover, and are 12x more likely to have strong business outcomes? 

Unfortunately, not all employee recognition is created equal. Even with the best of intentions, it’s easy to mess up and deliver a gesture that falls flat or feels insincere. Get our tips for meaningful employee recognition here. 

10. Guided meditations

Invest in your workforce’s mental health! Meditation is one of the healthiest, most accessible ways to relieve and manage stress. You can hold guided, group meditations as a team bonding activity, or give employees access to apps like Calm or Headspace. 

This can be an especially powerful strategy if wellness is one of your company’s core values. Not only are you equipping your people with healthy coping skills, you’re showing them you truly live by your values. 

11. Virtual murder mystery

These fun, participatory games are the perfect way to make your next virtual team party a little more exciting! These interactive, professionally hosted games let colleagues dig deep, hunt for clues, and unravel a story together. 

Here are some offerings to check out. 

12. Themed days

Get into the holiday spirit with fun themed days at your workplace, even if you don’t have the time or budget for a full-on party! 

For example, to celebrate Valentine’s Day, you could wear pink and red (or use a pink Zoom filter), offer chocolate delivery vouchers, and try out themed meeting prompts!

13. Virtual events

The sky’s the limit when it comes to virtual events. Most people associate virtual events with parties — but you could also buy your team tickets to virtual industry conferences, workshops, and fundraisers. 

That being said, it’s always a good time for a party. Why not hold space on your calendar for a virtual party every month? If there’s no special holiday that month like Easter or Halloween, have everyone vote on an activity or theme. 

14. Virtual birthday parties

There’s no reason to save celebration for big holidays like Christmas and New Years. Why not make a habit of celebrating all your team birthdays? 

Saying ‘happy birthday’ doesn’t need to be a big production, or even take place after-hours. Making people feel special can be as simple as a gift card to their favorite store, a lunchtime cupcake delivery, and a virtual card, thoughtfully signed by everyone on the team. 

15. Virtual happy hours

In many industries, after-work drinks are a hotspot for networking and building relationships. You can promote that kind of culture in a virtual workplace, too — plus, it’ll be easier to make non-drinkers feel welcome.

Once every week or two, invite employees to connect after work with their favorite beverage, from wine and martinis to tea and kombucha. You could even set up a virtual mixology class for everyone to take together! 

16. Virtual book club

Book clubs translate especially well to a virtual environment. Everyone in the club can vote on what they’d like to read, with a virtual polling tool like SurveyMonkey

In addition to a monthly discussion session, why not set up a Slack channel so people can chat about the book as they read it? 

17. GIF wars

GIFs are a thoroughly modern way to communicate. So why not have fun with them in a remote, 21st-century workplace? 

To run a GIF battle, you’ll come up with funny, relatable categories like “me when I log in on a Monday” or “what shipping new features feels like.” 

Share each prompt in team chat, and let everyone take a few minutes to find a great GIF to reply with. You can all vote on a winner, or assign a ‘GIF judge’ to choose. Alternatively, everyone can come up with their own prompt and choose the best GIF from their teammates’ replies. 

18. Virtual movie watch parties

Movie night is a fun, relaxing way for employees to unwind together, especially if you want to stay away from alcohol-related activities. A virtual watch party service makes sure everyone is logged in and watching at exactly the same time. 

Be sure to save time to chat about the movie after (or during). You can even send people vouchers for popcorn and candy delivery! 

Keep on engaging

In a virtual workplace, you can’t afford to guess how engaged your employees are — you need data to know for sure. That’s the idea behind 15Five’s easy-to-use, evidence-based tools for assessing and analyzing employee engagement.

Keep your finger on the pulse of your organization, find out what’s working (and not working), and equip employees and managers with the tools they need to reach your engagement goals. 

Learn more about 15Five’s engagement assessment tools today.