Most of these sound awful, and the ones that are “not so voluntary” attempts to make sure workers are engaged sound even worse.
Actually, I suspect they are doing a lot more harm to engagement than good.
There are ways to network during this time. They’re different, they’re a little more work, and they take some getting used to. But they don’t need to be ridiculous, and they definitely don’t need to be forced.
In fact, this is a great time to simply send someone a note asking for 15-30 minutes of their time. Most of us are pretty open to doing exactly that with coworkers or peers in our industry. I’d be happy to find some time to have a conversation with you about my industry, or mental health, or blogging. Or even to just have a coffee or beer with virtually. We don’t even need to be on our webcams if you don’t want.
See, isn’t that better than having 50 people on mute while the CEO talks, or getting randomly matched with coworkers?
Ugh, the introvert in me shudders to think about some of these. Please, don’t. Just ask someone to get a coffee like we used to.