The workplace has changed significantly since March 2020. More businesses have begun working remotely and have no intention of returning to their previous office life.
In May 2020, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey told his employees that many of them will now work from home permanently. And he wasn’t alone. However, with this newer set-up, it's essential remote workers still have opportunities to connect and feel appreciated.
Therefore, employers, CEOs, human resources professionals, and managers must focus on remote employee engagement to keep their teams motivated.
Here are five virtual employee engagement ideas for those continuing to work from home.
Ensure all employees are set up for success.
Making sure remote employees have the right environment and support can make a world of difference. Before your next virtual meeting, encourage your team to share their best home office practices to minimize distractions and maximize productivity. This can be a fun show-and-tell exercise that allows co-workers to collaborate and help each other.
What has your company done to encourage engagement, fun, and consistent recognition? How often do you learn about a colleague's birthday after it's already passed? How does your company recognize new initiatives, team collaborations, team wins, or personal accomplishments?
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For personal milestones, such as birthdays, make sure you have a plan and budget prepared. Ensure there’s someone around to take charge so that nothing is missed.
While sending employees an Amazon gift card is always a safe choice, consider something more creative. For example, you could send gift baskets, company swag, or create an employee "fun fact sheet" to generate unique gift ideas. The more personalized the gift, the more they will feel appreciated.
Try to schedule a team "outing" at least once a month. It can be as simple as a virtual lunch or happy hour with no work-talk allowed.
It's also good to spice up your video calls with online team-building events. For example, you could include mixology classes, cooking classes, trivia, or solve puzzles together at a virtual escape room.
In my experience, teams who do virtual team-building activities feel more connected and have a stronger sense of community and collaboration, too.
Take off your work hat and get to know your team. As employees work from home more, they are connecting with fewer of their colleagues.
Having strong relationships between leadership and employees is one of the greatest ways to keep employees engaged. Ask what they are excited about and what they are frustrated with so you can understand their perspectives, opportunities, and challenges. Leaders today need to show more empathy.
Communicate the mission of the company.
Often we are so focused on our specific roles or departments that we forget about the big picture. Leaders should remind employees of the company's vision and the impact everyone has. If employees feel their work is not making a significant impact, it is difficult for them to maintain motivation.
Making mental health a priority and ensuring it’s a part of your company culture is critical. Check that employees have the tools they need, feel valued, and understand how their contributions make an impact. If your employees are engaged, they will be stronger, and so will your company.
Matt Rolnick is Vice President of Sales at Yaymaker, overseeing virtual and in-venue events, corporate team bonding experiences, celebrities, and influencers.
(A version of this was originally posted on Forbes).