This time of year can often bring back childhood memories of having a two-month summer break with nothing to worry about. Professionals also feel a similar permission to slow down and catch their breath during warm summer months. Between summer Fridays to plan, office outings to attend, vacations to enjoy and a reduced working parent pressure experienced during the school year, the summer season brings joy to many. 

As summer 2021 unfolds before us, it is hard to predict what it is going to feel like given the seismic shift in the workplace over the past year. After months of coronavirus-induced social distancing and stay-at-home orders combined with layoffs and furloughs and a reckoning on social inequality and racial justice, you can bet that the ways in which companies leverage the power of summer vibes this year could have a lasting impact on the ever-important strength of company culture long-term. 

To understand the importance of corporate culture is to recognize the link between it and business strategy. Studies consistently underscore that a well-defined culture that is seen and felt by employees at every level of an organization leads to increased productivity, company loyalty and talent attraction and retention – all key drivers of business growth and success. On the heels of a crisis such as COVID-19, a thriving corporate culture is proving to be all the more valuable in moving employees forward with a sense of purpose, camaraderie and connectedness.

Whether or not a corporate culture was well established pre-pandemic, tried and true culture-building tactics such as branded merchandise, office happy hours, team lunches and off-site get-togethers now need to be reimagined. The good news is that the advancements in technology that are fueling the digital transformation of employee training can easily be applied to building a winning culture through good old fashioned fun and online games. Not only do games boost motivation, provide comfort and build teamwork, they can also help develop deeper human connections and cultivate a more valuable company culture.

Here are a few examples of online games that learning and development (L&D) professionals can implement in the spirit of enhancing your office’s summertime corporate culture. 

Game Shows

Many companies use popular game shows to engage millions of employees every year across a variety of relevant topics. They are great for solo play, team play, or multiplayer competitions and for companies looking to level up, prizes can easily enhance the experience.

Trivia Time

Trivia games are another popular choice across demographics. They can cover any topic in a personal way with custom images, videos and sounds. Whether companies are using trivia to pull employees into an all company meeting, a lunch and learn or a happy hour, with a little effort this game mechanic is sure to deliver a fun experience for all participants. Looking for an ice breaker? Arts, history, nature and sports are all easy themes to help learners make new connections, spark social conversations and feel more united to their peers, no matter where they are located.

Escape Rooms

Escape rooms are all the rage. They are easy to virtualize using basic online tools like Google Forms and to facilitate using video conferencing platforms. Whether you are creating a challenge based on key office policies or a whimsical story based on mystical villains, this is a great

game mechanic to engage dozens of people at once. Get creative, build an arsenal of riddles, puzzles, and challenges and give players a compelling reason to collaborate and “escape the room.” 

Arcades

Each of the examples above are great for remote team-bonding events. However, if you’re looking for ongoing engagement, you might consider building a virtual arcade for your company. Consider deploying daily challenges, solo play, head-to-head play, team play, missions and learning journeys. Giving out points, badges, leaderboard status and tangible rewards can be great motivators. This combination will drive engagement and transform you from a learning leader into a corporate hero. 

If this past year has taught us anything, it is that human connection is more important than ever. Sure, employees have shown that they can get the job done from just about anywhere, but they are now feeling the pang of unexpected social and professional isolation. What better time of year than summer to infuse a fresh dose of culture-building fun and games into the workplace? Companies who do will reap the unlimited, invaluable benefits of happy, connected and appreciative employees. 

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