Business Insider reported that 50% of the workforce will work remotely by 2020 and with the COVID-19 pandemic, this is becoming the new normal. For staff accustomed to close physical proximity, colleague deprivation is a real issue many employees face. How can you battle this lack of proximity in work from home environment? By nurturing employee morale. Morale is the driver for productivity and engagement. When morale is high, the company will be reaching its full potential. Here are some effective ways for boosting morale while maintaining social distancing.

Donuts with Doughnuts
What you need: Donut through Slack
Donut is an application within Slack that randomly pairs coworkers together for meetings such as virtual coffee (doughnuts optional of course!) or lunches. This is a fantastic tool, that larger companies can use to encourage more open communication between employees and bring back socializing.

GIF Battles
What you need: This Trello board template
A GIF Battle has four rounds with a different theme. Use Gyphy.com to search for a gif that best fits the theme of the round. For example, if the theme of the first round is “remote work,” start browsing gyphy.com for the most hilarious gif and attach the gif to a card. When all team members have attached  their gifs, everyone votes for the one they think is best. The goal of the game is to pick an ultimate winner after four rounds. The winner will be crowned the Sommelier of Gifs!

Get Critical
What you need: A good watch and screen sharing abilities
Host a Watch Party with the team! There are many applications that can sync screens so everyone can watch a show or movie together. Open up your team chat application so everyone can talk about what is on and share the love (or the hate).

Company Trivia
What you need: QuizBreaker is a great tool for this but there are similar programs as well.
Pick someone to prepare questions and send them over to your team about 24-48 hours in advance and let the fun begin! This is a fantastic way for the team to get to know each other and to build a stronger bond professionally.
Example Question: Which team member loves to do karaoke?

The world is ever changing, and we are changing with it. One thing that has remained a constant is, we are social beings that thrive on developing personal and professional relationships. Technology has given us the tools to create and build those relationships all over the world and should be used to bridge the physical gap to boost employee morale, performance, engagement, and long-term retention.