Employee connection is possible remotely

Happy holidays! I hope you are enjoying a joyful season. At this time of year, we naturally tend to think about how we can thank employees for the good work they’ve done.

Sending a thoughtful gift along with a handwritten note is a wonderful way to express your appreciation. I encourage you to think of and implement additional ways to celebrate and make connections with your teams, even if you can’t all be together.

As a member of the CUES Fun and Staff Recognition Team, I have some experience with facilitating group celebrations and connections. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, we would plan our annual staff party and several other in-person events, including regular potluck lunches, outings to local hockey and baseball games, paint and sip nights, axe throwing and more. We did try to include our remote employees (who work everywhere from Baltimore to Texas to British Columbia). For example, we played bingo over email (when your card got close to full, you hoped you didn’t miss your winning ball during a meeting!) and, of course, everyone who could flew to Madison for the big “Spring Fling” party.

In March 2020, we were in the middle of planning our May party when the pandemic shut our world down. We had to pivot quickly to a new kind of celebration. We put together a month-long event that included shipping gifts to each employee, sending gift cards for dinner and playing a fun trivia game on Zoom. Now that CUES is a remote-work-first organization, we have doubled down on our focus on supporting remote celebrations and connections. And we are killing it, if I do say so myself. Here are few things we have done to keep us feeling like a team.


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