Fun is a word people would not think of associating with work. When working, one must channel all their energy to work and nothing else. Why do you think most companies block social media access during company hours? To a certain extent, it is true — work is work. But while cultivating a high-paced, high-productivity atmosphere is great for the business, companies lacking fun atmosphere actually suffer long term.

Employees need to feel excited about coming to work everyday. At the same time, they also need to have breathers from the high pressure situations that arise daily. They need to know that while productivity is of the utmost importance, they are not sim.ply cogs on a wheel.

How do you create an environment where employees feel comfortable, happy, and excited about their day to day duties? Creating this environment can be hard for any business. This question becomes even more difficult to answer when you have a remote team.

Fostering a workspace of joy and enthusiasm for can seem nearly impossible when your team is spread across the world. It may be easy to create an atmosphere where employees can thrive when they are all in one building, but in a remote work place, there needs to be a bit more effort put in to ensure your business is not all business. Check out some of the best ideas to create a fun remote workplace below.

Gamify meetings

At CrewBloom, we have started turning some meetings into games. Meetings with our leadership teams have turned to a form of Scategories. No one can have the same idea for the topic, and whoever comes up with the most brilliant ideas gets rewarded. This keeps the brainstorming sessions both competitive and engaging. The rewards can also be simple and inexpensive. It could be in a form of small monetary bonus, a gift card, or a social recognition.

Involve Families

The truth is, family members are important to the happiness of your team so companies need to figure out a way to include them. With remote teams, it can be difficult to connect with family members. The inability to host a family picnic or retreat means you need to get creative. To solve this, we surprise our employees with a sponsored dinner out with their family, tickets to a movie, or a unique experience. This will go a long way in making your team feel like they are part of a bigger family, and will make their actual family all the more invested in your business.

Host an annual team building

This year, we’ve hosted our first-ever company wide team building and it was a fantastic experience for everyone. While getting your remote team together could be a costly and time-consuming process, the results far outweigh the costs. Not only did it help us build a stronger company culture, it made us have a better communication and understanding of everyone in the company. Be sure to take advantage of everyone’s presence by having outlining events during the day like games, sitting down on a company meeting, and employee awarding.

Give Out Branded Swag

This is the simplest and one of the most important things you can do  for a remote team. You have no office space, no in-person meetings, and little to no face to face interaction with your team members. So deck them out in some branded swag. It will give them something to hang on to, something to show to their friends and family who they work for, and create a conversation starter with people they meet. T-shirts, bags, caps — anything which lets them feel they are part of an organization that cares for them.

Foster Shared Experiences

Part of our onboarding process is requiring new employees to schedule a movie night and watch the film Meru. It’s a documentary about a team of mountaineers that summit a mountain which has never been climbed. It closely aligns with our company values which so outlines the power of mankind. For remote teams, capitalizing on shared virtual experiences is priceless. This simple activity can be effective, not only creating a strong culture but also reinforces your company's core values. We even splurge a bit and give each team member some cash for snacks so they can treat their family and themselves to a great movie night.

Encourage Hobbies

We recognize that our work is not our life, rather, it is something that only propels us to live our life the way we want it. Our teams are encouraged to share lunch time runs, new recipes, and weekend hikes. It bonds us around shared interests and builds a better team culture. Just because we aren’t in the same place doesn’t mean we can’t  be involved and invested in one another’s lives. Ask your team about their family, weekend adventures, hopes, and dreams. Whenever possible, make those dreams a reality. An extra day off for your team member to finish their hike can make the difference between someone that simply works for you, and someone that cares about the wellness of your organization.

Got more ideas to create fun in the remote workplace? Share your experience as a remote worker and help companies make remote working even more fun.