20 Ways to Boost Morale (When Everyone's Remote and Tired of Zoom)
I'll admit it: There's nothing like being together in person. The ability to see and hear each others' reactions in real time while sharing the same space is a recipe for human connection.
The reality, however, is that many of us are forced to connect remotely right now. And with everything that the year has thrown at us, it's safe to say that morale probably isn't at its best.
If you're looking for a way to boost your team's spirits despite limitations on in-person gatherings, this article's for you.
Whether your particular team consists of employees at a business, students at a university, or members of a community group, not being able to meet in person is a significant setback.
But the good news is that these constraints, though inconvenient, also present opportunity. They force us to find creative ways to connect. And as a result, such limitations can lead to innovation and, if done well, potentially deeper connection between individuals.
Below are 20 ideas for boosting morale in your organization, virtually! The list includes everything from big initiatives to small, fun events, listed in no particular order and to fit a variety of budgets.
Bring back #TBT. On Thursdays, share the history of the organization, including how it started, why it was made, even funny stories from the past. Reminding your team of what they’re a part of helps them connect to the organization as a whole.
Communicate. When people feel in the dark, it erodes trust and confidence in the organization. Instead, tell your team what’s happening, clarify values, and explain how they may be personally affected, even if you’re still figuring out the details. This will put your team at ease.
Give 5-minute “About Me” presentations. Each week, have an individual present on something they care about for 5 minutes through pictures so that the broader community can get to know them in a different context outside of their role in the organization. This will make individual members feel seen and known, which is essential for fostering a supportive culture.
Set goals. Having realistic but ambitious goals can be a great way to give your organization something to work towards, together. Even better? Have members weigh in through voting on the top possible goals to feel a part of the mission.
Send handwritten appreciation notes just because. Similar to a personal daily gratitude journal, appreciating one another is mutually beneficial.
Support flexible schedules. If possible, accommodating a variety of schedules is a fantastic way to show respect for your team members' personal time and competing priorities.
Get fit together. Host virtual exercise classes or meditation that everyone can join. After all, teams that sweat together, stay together. Or at the very least, they boost their well-being together.
Create growth opportunities. Whether you are hosting training sessions yourself or specifying clear action steps for advancement, give individuals a clear path to grow. This provides purpose and reason to keep showing up. Tie their role back to the broader goals of the organization so that they see the significance of their participation.
Offer online subscriptions. To help support mental health, consider providing free or discounted subscriptions to online courses, meditation, therapy, fitness, or similar services (like Supporti) that can help members stay well at home.
Volunteer virtually together. Schedule a time where everyone can participate in a virtual volunteering, such as BeMyEyes, Zooniverse, OpenIdeo, MonAmi, and others. Afterwards, debrief about the experience. Altruistic actions trigger the brain’s reward center.
Announce wins and successes. It’s easy to take the good things for granted. Make sure to take the time to tell the community about what’s going well.
Host weekly baking/cooking challenges. Food is deeply intertwined with social interaction. Even if you can’t share in the tasting of food, having members post photos of their food and voting on which is most creative or appetizing is a fun way to connect over a common interest.
Set office hours. Scheduling time each week for when busy folks such as upper management can be reached by anyone in the organization creates an culture of warmth and accessibility. This creates trust and opens the door for better communication.
Share skills with Lunch and Learns. Have a theme each month where someone teaches the community a new skill. Research has shown that learning for the benefit of someone else is often more motivating than learning for oneself. It’s another great way to strengthen relationships.
Organize an Awards Ceremony. Similar to Senior Class Superlatives (or The Dundies for fans of The Office), having a list of just-for-fun awards for which members can nominate peers and vote on is a fun way to engage members of the team. Keep it inclusive and positive to boost morale.
Pair members up as accountability partners. Accountability partners mutually support each other with weekly or even daily tasks. By checking in on their commitments, discussing challenges, and sharing lessons learned, you foster deeper relationships between members. (Want help? Supporti, the accountability partner app, takes care of the details by providing matching services and a framework for collaboration. Learn more about using the app for organizations here.)
Surprise everyone with a bonus. Money or gift cards are always appreciated.
Create a weekly virtual scavenger hunt. Set a theme like, “Pay it forward” or “MTV Cribs” and have participants submit videos or images for the weekly theme. It’s an easy way to see each other’s spaces and encourage creativity.
Plan a digital paint night. Inspired by a Bob Ross paint-along party, you can ask people to either user their own art materials, or use a digital design tool to recreate their own version of an image. It’s another creative activity, just for fun.
Empower members to suggest improvements. Your community is your greatest strength. Encourage them to bring up issues by frequently requesting feedback. Make sure to respond to feedback. Then, give your team allotted time and resources and invite them to work on possible solutions.
Essentially, boosting morale comes down to recognizing members as human beings. By taking some extra care when communicating, adding in opportunities for growth, and sprinkling in a few creative events, you can go far in engaging your team, even when they’re not together in person.
What have you got to lose? Odds are that people in your organization will recognize your efforts and appreciate the gesture, and that's always a good thing.
Could your company, school, sorority, fraternity, club, group, or community benefit from some support right now? Then consider offering a Supporti subscription as a way for individuals to connect one-on-one! See our new Supporti for Organizations page to learn more and set up a call.