Now that my company is focused on a return to office, many of the fun activities that we did remotely during the Pandemic have ended. For those of us who are still remote, how can we remind management not to forget about us?

Elaine Varelas advises on how best to approach management on the importance of continuing activities for remote workers to cultivate firm culture and foster employee engagement.

Q. During the pandemic, while we worked from home my company had so many fun, remote activities to keep us connected. Now that the pandemic is over and many of us have returned to the office, these activities have completely stopped. Some of us are still working remotely and are feeling left out. How can I bring this up to management without sounding like I’m complaining?

A. During the pandemic, many companies became very focused on ensuring that employee engagement and corporate culture were both nurtured and retained during the initial transition as people left the office and started working remotely. HR and leaders became very creative about Zoom lunch meetings, happy hours, contests, fitness challenges, crazy hat meetings, etc. These activities helped employees’ bond and maintained that high level of commitment to the culture of the organization needed to sustain productivity.

Now that the pandemic is considered over, many employees have returned to the office part time, if not full time. As people see each other on a more regular basis, some of what has happened is that the focus has changed to encouraging engagement in the office. It sounds like whoever was responsible for coordinating these fun activities has moved on to other priorities. You might consider bringing the positive impact these events had  to your manager, with an offer to volunteer. Let them know that you feel it is important to continue to have these virtual interactive activities and events and this is something that would be greatly valued by you and your still remote colleagues. Managers may not be aware of the isolation that some remote workers feel, and I doubt you are alone.

You might also take advantage of this lull and create an event on your own to report back about or provide a list to HR of what else is available. We have seen successful trivia contests, book clubs, or you could research Airbnb experiences that they provide for companies such as cooking classes and wellness activities for team-building and reward and recognition.

Often when employees are dissatisfied, they look to the organization to fix all of their problems. Recognize that asking how you can help might be the first step in the process. Your HR department may want to do a questionnaire to find out if this is something that is still important to the employees of the organization. These kinds of interactions in an organization are always impactful in the most positive ways. If you see a need within your organization for something that offers employee support, take the initiative to talk to your manager. Start the conversation with, "The activities that we did during that time were so positively impactful. I'd like to suggest we find a way to continue to do them." You should get a favorable response and your colleagues will thank you.