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4 Creative Ways to Keep Employees Engaged During Virtual Meetings


Let’s face it, work looks A LOT different than it did a few months ago. Between the remote offices and the social distancing and the endless virtual meetings and Zoom conferences, “going to work” isn’t the same—and, likely, won’t be for a very long time.

Now more than ever that sacred work-life balance is out the window—for better or for worse. While many enjoy the comfort, convenience and, yes, elevated productivity levels that come from working at home, there’s still a serious stress factor. Think about it—your employees and clients are likely teaching fifth-grade math, whipping up lunches, and working non-stop from a makeshift office in the middle of their living room. Convenient? Sure. One-way path to Burnout Central? Also, YES.

This can certainly be a challenge, especially when you’ve got a mission-critical virtual meeting on the books. So, what to do? Keep employees, clients, vendors, and partners engaged and upbeat with these creative solutions.

#1. Send a “Swag Box” Ahead of Time

Employers are hyping up their employees for meetings by sending “Swag Boxes” ahead of time. These goodie boxes are packed full of items employees can use during and after the meeting—anything from notebooks to drink tumblers to phone chargers, and beyond.

Try assembling your own version of a “Swag Box” and sending them off to your employees to get them excited about virtual meetings. Not only will it boost their spirits, but it will encourage interaction and conversation between everyone as they share what’s in their box (but be sure to allocate a specific amount of time for this in your agenda—more on that later).

Chelsea, sporting her North-Face branded jacket in a virtual meeting

Need some ideas? Try tossing in a customizable tumbler cup for your employees to enjoy their favorite beverage poolside at the end of a long workday, or a stylish baseball hat they can bring along on their weekend trips to the lake. Apparel is always a hit and can be worn during the meeting (just be sure to get the sizing right)!

Notebooks are also a wonderful option—they’ll encourage employees to take notes during the meeting and write down any questions they have. . If the virtual meeting is scheduled during morning hours, your employees would definitely appreciate a coffee mug to wake up with.

Don’t forget to customize each of these items with your company’s logo—it’ll give your employees a sense of camaraderie and shed a positive light around attending the virtual meetings. Because who doesn’t like gifts? Especially when it’s not yet the holiday season!

Browse our Top 100 list to discover more products you can add to your “Swag Boxes!”

#2. Turn it into a Happy Hour

If there’s one tried-and-true way to get your employees excited about a virtual meeting, it’s by turning it into a happy hour. What’s better than throwing together an ice-cold cocktail and enjoying it with your colleagues (while ALSO getting some work done)? Talk about encouraging a work/life balance…

Encourage your employees to mix up their favorite drink and tune-in—it’ll make the obligation feel less like work and encourage them to have some fun if they’ve had a stressful day.

If you’re sending out goodie boxes, include some happy-hour essentials such as wine tumblers, drink Koozies®, beverage cubes, reusable straws, and more. You could also get super fancy and send them a drinkware gift set, too.

#3. Create an Agenda Beforehand

When planning a virtual meeting (especially if it’s a happy hour meeting), be sure to organize and publish a meeting agenda beforehand—it’ll help you stay on-track and be productive in case you start having too much fun and drift off-topic.

Share the agenda at least two days beforehand so all participants have ample time to prepare for the discussion and write down their questions and concerns. Giving employees time to prepare will contribute greatly to the fluidity and effectiveness of the meeting.

When creating the agenda, be sure to include these key aspects for each topic you’ll touch on:

  • How much time you’ll spend on this topic (allocate about 20% more time than you think is necessary for each topic—this will ensure you aren’t rushed through the agenda)
  • Why this topic needs to be discussed
  • What will be accomplished when discussing this topic
  • What you need from participants for each section (suggestions, possible solutions, etc.)
#4. Encourage Participants to Stay off Their Phones

Perhaps the hardest—and most awkward—part of staying on task during virtual meetings is reminding your employees to stay focused and off their phones.

Working from home doubles the possibility of personal life interruptions and being in their own homes might make employees feel more comfortable breaking the rules.

A creative way to encourage participants to keep their phones out of sight is by supplying them with their own wireless charger—it’ll encourage them to use the time to re-charge their phone, rather than use it, for the duration of the meeting. Looking to really wow them? Combine the charger with a phone sanitizer (these are hot in 2020) – it’s a win-win.

You could even allocate a specific time for this in your agenda—send them the charger a few days before, and when it’s time to tune-in, tell participants to fire-up those chargers and set their phones aside.

We’re full of ideas over here at ePromos, so give us a call to strategize about your next virtual meeting together.