Business of Well-being

Utilizing Virtual Workshops within Hybrid Workplace Environments

Doug Platts
Virtual Classroom

Remote and hybrid workforces have taken root as the new workplace norm. With this new norm comes a new challenge for HR managers and company leaders:

How do we engage remote staff in company culture?

A positive of work during the pandemic is that it integrated the existing remote workforce into company culture more than ever before, and put the need for strong employee engagement front and center. Chief People Officers and HR leaders now have a much-deserved seat at the table next to the CEO, with many companies now strongly acknowledging the importance of their employees’ well-being to the overall success of the business.

However, a larger remote workforce or hybrid workforce can make developing effective all-team exercises and events difficult. Bringing all employees together in person becomes a major resource drain, with remote employees needing travel and accommodations. This may be fine for once-a-year in-person events, but those are not true drivers of sustained culture. There’s now a need to create meaningful moments with employees, both remote and in-person, throughout the year—whether you’re celebrating wins or simply focusing on team building. This can easily take place in a virtual setting through virtual workshops.

The remote workforce has grown significantly, and now is not the time to return to an office hub mentality that leaves remote employees on the outside looking in. Rather, it’s a once-in-a-generational opportunity to redefine how we build company culture.

What are Virtual Workshops?

A virtual workshop is an online interactive workshop conducted via video conferencing. These workshops can be used for a variety of purposes, from educational and/or training to health and wellbeing. The online, digital nature of virtual workshops makes these workshops, along with the various specialized tools offered by video conferencing programs, a more accessible, inclusive, and interactive experience for all employees.

Virtual workshops are a great way to grow a positive work culture within a hybrid workforce.

The flexibility of virtual workshops allows for more fun, engaging and frequent activities over difficult-to-implement in-person events. Choose activities that employees are interested in, such as a monthly book club or cooking classes, and your work event will start becoming something employees actually look forward to being part of.

Speaking of being a part of things, these are also a great way to engage the whole home—kids, pets, and partners alike—and introduce your employees to one another as actual people, not just coworkers.

Virtual workshops are more cost-effective than in-person events.

Most virtual workshops are quick and easy to implement, often designed to be scalable to team size. As a result, sometimes the total cost of a virtual event is nothing more than the cost of some materials and the workshop leader. Pair that with the elimination of travel needs and the accompanying accommodations and costs, and you can host multiple virtual team-building events for the same cost as one in-person event that is much easier for employees to attend.

You’ll also see emotional ROIs that will generate higher financial ROIs.

The percentage of employees experiencing burnout and mental health issues is at an all-time high, making mental well-being an essential indicator of a positive employee experience. Offering fun, engaging and accessible activities that help employees take care of themselves, while building more personal connections with coworkers, enables them to reach a better place all around, which in turn helps them become more creative, more productive, and even help take care of others.

Virtual events also reduce the amount of stress on your employees, as they no longer have to worry about most of the stress-inducing aspects of in-person events such as being on time, traveling, rearranging schedules, and dressing up.

What kind of virtual workshops can I do?

The options are practically limitless. You can do a monthly book club, home improvement courses, and beer tastings.

Gardening makes for a great virtual workshop as well, which is what we provide companies of all sizes. Whether you’re learning how to plant herbs or vegetables, or simply taking care of a desk plant, gardening is a wonderful way to build community and cultivate relationships within an organization. Gardening has also been scientifically proven to support overall well-being, helping to improve one’s cognitive and physical performance when paired with good nutrition, sleep, and movement.

How can I get started?

Make sure you’re choosing the right activity and/or topics for your workshops. The best way to do this is by getting your employees’ input, either through surveys or talking with them directly. Learning what interests your employees is the best way to ensure you’re creating events they want to attend and even look forward to—and it allows you to better connect with them on a more individual level. You can also look at previous workshops that people got excited about, turned up to, and continue to talk about after it was done.

Try chatting with other companies about what kind of virtual events they’ve had success with. While these ideas might not be an exact fit for your team, it’s a great way to see what fellow industry leaders are doing to facilitate employee engagement and growth—and it could inspire you to come up with something new.

Be sure to try all kinds of ideas. Tap into the wide range of vendors, both local and international, to see what resonates with people. And remember, it’s okay to fail—trial and error is the best way to weed out ideas that don’t work to find the ones that will for your specific team.

In short, virtual workshops are a great first step in cultivating stronger company culture

In a world where the modern workplace is being redefined, there is no better time to try something new and better integrate practices that help boost your employees’ well-being. Virtual workshops are a perfect way to foster a more sustainable work environment and ensure your teams are engaged, connected, and communicating—even if they’re not all in one place.

Start planting the seeds for a healthier, more sustainable workplace today.

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