As a virtual internet cafe can accelerate employee engagement

Samuel Stan of Version 1 has initiated an employee engagement in the form of a virtual internet cafe for his remote and hybrid colleagues.

Outside work has been a blessing to many, enabling people to be more present at home or discard those two-hour shuttles to the office.

But it’s not without its challenges, and many teams are struggling to get out of office work entirely for fear that it will destroy employee engagement.

Future Man

After all, it’s much harder to have casual chats with your colleagues when most of your work is done asynchronously and face-to-face time is strictly set aside for work meetings.

Join Samuel Stan, a project partner partner at software company Version 1, who has initiated an employee engagement in the form of a virtual Internet cafe.

“I’ve spent a good part of my life in internet cafes and I understand the power they have when they seek to build communities and organize events,” he told

The Version 1 virtual internet cafe was set up as a timed gaming event that allows hobbyists and novices to collect and play games while interacting with each other. The company chose the Microsoft Xbox Game Pass for the game cafe because of its wide range of games and its cloud streaming capabilities.

“It’s a safe space for newbies and it allows, no, it encourages them to get better. Meanwhile, experienced players can find their match or build amazing teams that manage to overcome the toughest challenges, ”Stan explained.

“We tried to support it after hours but also during working hours, for employees who are traveling, on leave or just want to take some time out of their lunch break to relax and play,” he added. “Some people need a break, but the fear of holiday waste is delaying them. Allowing them to unwind and relax as they explore a new recreational environment – I think it’s worth encouraging. “

Near a man looking at the camera standing outside in front of some bushes.

Samuel Stan. Image: Version 1

Additional benefits

While some companies may worry about declining employee engagement without that in-office interaction, Stan said he believes engagement in a virtual environment is easier to make possible if done well and can be especially helpful for new employees.

“You get rid of travel, dress code and the ‘office personality’. That way, allowing individuals to be open and direct in their engagement, “he said.

“A person who is supported and enabled by others will always do better than anyone else. During the event I noticed that a large part of the participants were new employees, under one year old, looking for a challenge and getting better. They came out of the event more confident and informed about colleagues with whom they might never otherwise interact. “

While employee engagement has been the main goal of the virtual internet cafe, Stan said there are many other benefits such as improved cognitive skills, collaborative skills and confidence.

“It has provided our new entrants with another outlet to build their Version 1 network – something that can be challenging to do in the far-right workplace”

“I personally saw a colleague improve significantly in one of the racing games we had available. The sheer joy of even finishing the race was incredible and it helped her become much better at expressing herself within the group. I immediately noticed the confidence. and playfulness change in both tone and expressiveness, “he said.

“I’m glad we could be a part of her success. All the participants were very helpful, and we could see that she worked hard to be one of us. “

Amanda Kelly, the head of Version 1’s employee experience, said it has proven to be an “innovative approach” to the challenge of building social engagement in a hybrid environment.

“First, it gave our people an outlet to turn off their day to day; second, an opportunity to start talking to people with whom they would never have spoken otherwise; and last but not least, it provided our new entrants with another outlet to build their Version 1 network and create a sense of connection to the organization – something that can be challenging to do in the far-right workplace. “

Stan said he was very pleased with the outcome of the event and would urge all companies to consider implementing a similar virtual initiative.

“Participants’ passion, attested success stories and personal growth of individuals will help them engage in any other initiative. New entrants are attracted to positive people, video games can become that positive interaction that strengthens their confidence and allows them to express their emotions.”

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