There’s no doubt about it—engaging remote employees is tough. Chances are, some or all of your employees have been working from home since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. By now, you might be noticing signs of disengaged employees. In fact, 65% of employers have struggled to maintain employee morale since the shift to remote work, according to a recent report.
So how do you re-energize your remote workers from a distance? If you're wondering how to engage remote employees, try these six ideas.
Remote employees are missing out on the traditional social interactions that come with an in-person workplace. To counter that, host structured virtual chats with the team every Friday afternoon, for example. Avoid mentioning work and instead, use fun games and challenges such as scavenger hunts or invite them to share an interesting or funny item from their home workspace. Ask them to share weekend plans, photos of their pets or children, or plans for upcoming vacations. Another employee engagement idea is to have a shorter session, like a 15-minute coffee chat, every morning.
Make it a point to check in with employees one-on-one at least once a week. Ask about what they’re working on, what challenges they are facing, and how you can help them. If the conversation strays off topic to non-work issues, don’t worry. These regular check-ins can help you build meaningful connections with disengaged employees and even spark new ideas and problem-solving solutions. Let them know your door is always open. Communication is more important than ever when you’re working on engaging remote employees.
Each week, spotlight a different employee for their achievements. Use email or the company newsletter to share what the employee has done well and thank them for the contributions. Another employee engagement idea is to set up a messaging channel where managers and employees can share kudos for each other. Start with some shout-outs of your own and then encourage employees to add their own.
Your employees are missing out on social connections with each other, and perhaps the chance to foster new relationships. You can overcome their social distance by setting up one-on-one video chats with randomly selected employees who wouldn’t normally interact with each other. Encourage them to stick to a time limit, like 20 or 30 minutes, and have them come up with questions to ask each other that don’t involve work.
Kick-start healthier habits to boost disengaged employees’ moods and stress levels. Ideas for engaging remote employees include a month of daily walks or runs, or a 30-day yoga challenge. Try an incentive-based program that awards employees points based on healthy meals they prepare, outdoor outings, or exercise. If the weather is nice, offer a longer lunchtime break so employees can get out and enjoy the sunshine.
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Since more people are working from home than ever, it’s easy to search for an online game or team-building platform you can use with your employees. Try to schedule it at a low-stress time when employees’ workloads tend to be more manageable. It’s fun, but not necessary, to have some kind of reward for the winning employee or team. The important part is that employees can interact with each other in a laid-back, casual setting.
While you’re considering which of these employee engagement ideas would work for your company, remember that you don’t have to try them all out at once. Make it a point to try one new idea each day or week, and you’ll notice a big difference in your remote employee engagement.