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Team celebrations and impromptu office get-togethers at the pub were once a staple of the working week across UK organisations, with many seeing these important events as a way for colleagues to mix and mingle to help promote and cement team culture.

Today, however, socialising remains a thing of the past because of coronavirus, with more than 1,000 business owners* admitting that their culture has been severely eroded over the last six months, with employees feeling more disconnected than ever – even though we’re living in one of the most connected times of our lives.

For all the benefits that remote working brings to home life, the togetherness and camaraderie that an office can offer has been lost completely. As we navigate our way through the new normal, businesses and particularly HR departments face many challenges, namely how to ensure employees feel connected from a distance, how to immerse employees into company culture in the era of virtual teams, and how to re-board their workforce successfully and keep employees highly engaged.

To re-introduce ‘togetherness’ and address all of those challenges, Luke Meredith, 35, and Oli Marcroft, 34, developed an idea to bring back company culture again over lockdown.

Fatigued by endless Zoom calls that ‘got straight down to business’ and a lack of social interaction with their work colleagues, their idea for The Togetherworks brings organisations a new era in sociable online challenges aimed to promote greater inclusivity at work, togetherness and inject some fun into the working day again.

Oli says: “Forget, for a moment, everything you can about online challenges, quizzes and those half-dreaded get-togethers over video. Our challenges pull and mould people together, unveil hidden talents of individuals and encourage teamwork with colleagues who you may have never worked with before or lost touch with.”

With challenges as varied as ‘Car for the Future’, ‘Party Planner’, ‘Time Crisis’ and ‘Grand Theft Art’, they are varied and unique and encourage people to work together using these fun scenarios to encourage communication and team work. And it seems to be working – and on a global level. Already US, Canadian and UK SMEs and larger orgaisations have deployed the challenges into the working day with great success and feedback.

Luke adds: “Whether it’s designing a dream car, organising the most spectacular charity party or pretending that you’re in a crisis situation, our online challenges provoke thought, enables people to lead, strategise and plan – and hopefully raises a good few smiles along the way.

“The pandemic has undeniably caused a massive upheaval throughout the jobs market, and employers are now naturally looking for ways to attempt to strengthen their company culture again, retain their top talent and seek to keep them engaged. Through social technology, we know our challenges can help to do that and importantly, goes some way towards helping to keep them connected in a way that just can’t be achieved during a normal meeting.

“To ensure employee engagement right from the off, we host the entire process on behalf of organisations so there’s a lead who can pull and motivate teams – even adapting tone of voice for those who may be shy to participate.  

“All of the challenges are grounded in creative thinking and problem solving and backed by behavioural science, but even more importantly it’s fun and brings people together – and that’s exactly the ethos of the business.

“Feeling excluded and detached from an organisation is something we’ve felt ourselves and we know that others are experiencing that right now. aims to put an end to that.”