Blue Compass has always taken pride in our company culture and been willing to support the Des Moines community. We laugh together, we connect, we support local causes and we enjoy each other’s company. So when the coronavirus outbreak pushed many of us to work remotely, we didn’t want to lose our fun work culture even though we couldn’t be together physically. The Blue Compass team took the bull by the horns and decided to make our own Work From Home fun without losing sight of our clients’ goals and while ramping up productivity.
Top 10 Fun Virtual Office Culture Ideas
1. Celebrate National Holidays
You know those silly “National Holiday” calendars? The near daily celebrations of things people love like donuts, beer or house plants? Celebrate those! We’ve celebrated many since going remote. We started with “National Puppy Day” and had a great time sharing photos of our furry “Woof From Home” co-workers! Since we are a pet-friendly office at Blue Compass and introductions with others usually involve their animals’ names and ages, this was a great opportunity to share how our furry office friends were doing while we are at home working.
Some of the national holidays might seem silly at first, but once the idea is brought up, many of your co-workers will have fun sharing their opinions on the holiday at hand. For example, “National Waffle Day” also got a lot of love from our team. A couple of our team members were even inspired to make waffles for lunch after our morning chat about our favorite toppings and ingredients.
2. Office BINGO
We are so fond of our Blue Compass office, that willing participants made their own BINGO cards (5x5 squares) filled with any person, place or thing you could find in the office on any given day. Each day, a designated person sends an email with a particular office item. If someone has that on their card, they cross it off. First one to earn 5 squares in a row, gets BINGO bragging rights in the office (or through email). We’ve been having so much fun with it that the next BINGO game for us will be items that can be found in our event space, West48. You can choose anything from your office, to things associated with the work you do or even your favorite movies - whatever will be most fun for your team.
3. Virtual Happy Hour or Lunch
Happy hour is an essential part of any fun, upbeat company. In-person happy hours are a thing of the past (and the future). Let’s live in the present - virtual happy hours are the hot new thing! Pick a day and invite everyone to grab a drink that makes them happy. At 3:30, host a call and hydrate together! You can also incorporate a theme or bring snacks to add to the excitement. Who said social distancing isn’t fun?
Similarly, one office tradition we will be keeping alive during quarantine is our monthly team lunch. At the office, we support local restaurants and cater in lunch to honor our team members with birthdays or work anniversaries during the current month. Just because we will not be together physically, does not mean we won’t take an hour out of our month to enjoy everyone’s company over video chat and celebrate!
4. Question of the Day
Are there random things you’ve always wondered about your co-workers but never think to ask? Now’s the chance! With “Question of the Day,” a designated person poses a question each day for others to answer. Here are some examples: “What’s the best vacation you have ever taken?” or “What’s one gadget or item that you are dreaming of purchasing right now?” or “If you could have one superpower, what would it be?” You’ll be surprised at the answers, and it gives everyone an opportunity to get to know each other a little better!
5. Show and Tell with Team Members
Pet shows? House tours? Of course! You can do both when you’re taking a few moments for a break with your favorite co-workers. It’s like water cooler chat time, except you give tours of your house, or show them the latest trick your dog has been working on. Either way, it’s sure to spark a few questions and interest about the way you live.
BONUS: Show and Tell with team members’ kids! Working From Home gives us the fun opportunity to include families, especially those with kids that need a new form of entertainment every now and then. We may or may not have seen some pretty awesome Avengers masks recently!
6. What to Binge Watch Next
Create a forum for people to add their new favorite shows or old go-tos they’d recommend. To add to the fun, have watch parties after the work day is over, or watch on your own time and chat about it the next day. Oftentimes, this is a normal workplace conversation, and it doesn’t have to stop just because we don’t see each other every day anymore. We’ve included just a few recommendations from our team members:
- Netflix: There are plenty of classics like “The Office” along with Netflix’s new hits “Love is Blind” or “Tiger King” (this one’s guaranteed to get everyone talking)
- Hulu: Try “The Handmaid’s Tale” based on a popular book or “Brooklyn 99” if you’re looking for some laughs to brighten your mood
- Amazon Prime: “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is another comedy that should cheer you up, or “Jack Ryan” is an exciting action-packed series
- Disney+: Explore the newest streaming service with old favorites like “Boy Meets World” and endless options for sing-along movies including Frozen II
7. Put Your Home Office Up For Display
Now’s your chance to be creative and set up your home office. What type of office setting have you set up for yourself? Did you set up dual screens on your kitchen table, or are you more of a couch lounger while NPR plays in the background? Now’s the time to share! Start an email thread with pictures of your “office” set-up and have others share theirs. Some team members’ setups will amaze you, while others will be happy to provide a laugh with their make-shift space.
8. Quote List
Blue Compass team members have kept track of other people’s funny quotes for years - no one is safe in our very open office. Usually for us, funny quotes get announced out loud. That can still happen now - it just needs to be done through an online chat! Sometimes they’re even funnier when given out of context. Everyone could use a little laugh. Share away!
Lots of people are working from home with their kids or pets as their new “co-workers”. Share some funny stories about what your kids or pets have been doing, except instead of saying “my kid” or “my pet,” replace with “my co-worker” or “my intern.” This is sure to produce some laughs, it certainly has for us! Here are some funny examples from Blue Compass Team Members: “My intern keeps falling asleep on the floor.” “My co-workers demand snack-time every hour and are throwing toys at each other.” “My intern won’t stop crawling on my desk.”
10. Meditation Mondays
We understand that this is a stressful time for many people. Each person is dealing with their own stressors, from jobs being in limbo, trying to homeschool kids while working full-time from home, our loved ones getting sick, to isolation or lack of social interaction. Remember to take time for yourself! There are tons of great meditations online. Every Monday, send out a 5-10 minute meditation video for team members to listen to when they need a few minutes to relax.
Keep Your Company Culture Alive During Your Work From Home Quarantine
Culture comes from the people that make up the organization. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive to stay connected to the people that make your job fun. Try starting a SnapChat or Marco Polo group with your co-workers. Take a virtual walk together. Share good news you hear or funny memes that are posted. No matter how you connect, it’s important to do so. Eventually we’ll be back to our regular schedules and we’ll look back on this time with gratitude for those we continued to connect with, even during this time of quarantine.