This week I’m going to stray off of my usual trail and talk to you about planning virtual events. There already are a ton of articles about hosting virtual events due to COVID-19, but I’m going to focus on planning an event for your coworkers. Additionally, with the stay at home orders tightening back up in the United States, we got to keep those virtual events comin’! I work for a small company which means that I’m used to seeing all of my coworkers every day and know them on a personal level. Working from home has changed the dynamics of the team and this can be a good or a bad thing. As the Event Coordinator for MK Partners, it’s my responsibility to bring everyone together, even virtually. So sit back, open up your notebooks and let’s get planning!
Save the Date
The first step I take when planning a virtual event is selecting a date. I know… that’s obvious, BUT it’s how I pick my date that you should take into consideration. I check all of my coworkers calendars before deciding on a date and time. I do this so that everyone is available and has the option to join in. I usually look about 2 to 3 weeks in advance and schedule the event for one hour. Coincidentally (and beautifully) for my team, that is usually Friday afternoons. Your team might be bigger than mine, so that might be harder to do, but try your best!
Keep it Fun
Since working from home can potentially make the team feel less like a team, I make sure to plan games or team building events during this time. I send everyone a list of games or activities we can play together with a description on how to play them in my invite. I send out a survey with the invite so that the team gets to vote on the games. I ask them to pick their top 2 activities out of 3 or 4 options and the top choice wins! I only pick one option because an hour flies by when you have the whole team catching up with each other. Additionally, I always make it a choice for us to not do a game, but just to talk and catch up instead. I want to make sure people don’t feel uncomfortable or bored during the event, which is why I let them onto the details early on.
The Name Game
I make sure the title of the event reflects what we are doing, the time of day and that this is a company event. For instance, I will title an event “MK Partners Happy Hour” and make sure in my description of the event that they are welcome to bring a drink and some snacks. (Just make sure to make drinking optional.) This applies if you are hosting an event during the lunch hour or when your team is logging in for the day.
Get Your Headcount
In the invite, I always ask for the team to RSVP before a certain date and time. I ask them to do this because some games require a minimum amount of people to participate. I will always send a follow up email a few hours before that deadline reminding everyone to please RSVP “yay or nay”. Don’t be discouraged if only about fifty percent of your coworkers show up. I actually consider this a good thing! When events get too big, sometimes they can end up clique-y or no one really says much, hoping others will speak up instead. When the event is smaller, more people participate and get to engage with coworkers who they might not talk to on a daily basis.
As a reminder, make sure to get your manager’s approval for these events if they are occurring during company time and/ or if you are hosting the event such as Happy Hour. Attendances to these events tend to be higher when they are on company time than on employees personal time. Additionally, a lot of activities and games can be played virtually and you don’t have to pay a company to host an event for your team. You don’t always need to play a game or watch something, but make sure as the host you have talking points and resources to use to keep the event engaging and running smoothly.
For those of you who still want to hear about events for this upcoming week, Salesforce has a lot of community groups hosting Summer ’20 Release review events. Make sure to check your local groups or even check out some not so local groups and make some new friends! Additionally, for those of you registered for dreamOle 2020, unfortunately it has been pushed back to 2021. They decided to not make it a virtual event this year, as they believe it to be more beneficial in person. For those who registered for it this year, your ticket will count for next year. Just be aware that dreamOle 2020 is still listed as an event happening in person this year, even though they announced on their website that it is canceled for 2020.
Last week we learned How to Cultivate the Culture of Giving Back to help educate our employees on how to give back and those in the education field gained some insight from Virtual Panel: Reopening Your K-12 Schools Safely. Already one of the community groups hosted a Summer ’20 Release and TrailheaDX Highlights!! event.
Salesforce also had some great events in their event series Stories of Resilience and Circle of Success. Stories of Resilience hosted THE Chip and Joanna Gaines and Circle of Success got close and personal in giving us tips for virtual collaboration. Tweet us @mkpartners and let us know your thoughts!
Also, make sure to tweet us if you think there are any events worth mentioning and what event you are excited about this upcoming week. Hopefully you learned some simple and helpful tips in planning your next virtual event with your team today! And, as always, we will see you in the cloud.