Employee engagement, a pillar of human resources metrics and otherwise known as the enthusiasm of employees where they are working. The importance is that is an insight into your workplace culture as well as employees are more likely to “go above and beyond” basic work duties and try to problem-solve or do tasks outside their normal role, voluntarily. The challenge with more workplaces have remote and non-office employees is that is perceived to be harder to engage remote workers. Gone are the days where you grab a coffee with someone or have a quick chat when passing in the bathroom.
Many activities across all levels of management and departments can contribute to employees being engaged. Setting up open and intentional communication channels, developing trust and aligning on a mission and goals are all important aspects. Below are some activities that foster an engaged workplace and overcome some of the challenges of having remote workers.
What are remote employee engagement activities?
Remote employee engagement activities are any activities, games and initiatives designed to intentionally influence remote employee engagement while working from home. I remember the early pandemic days of “you’re on mute!” and similar phrases brought on by new users adapting to virtual meetings. Now fast-forward to 2022 and we are seasoned experts in navigating mute, adding fun “backgrounds” and creating engaging events.
Top ways to engage remote employees
- Schedule a ‘meditation time‘ virtual meeting for 10 minutes. Have one person host the session and play a meditation clip (lot’s of free videos available) and re-charge together. I enjoy doing it first-thing in the morning, but other times of the day could work too depending on the workplace and your schedule.
2. Another engagement idea is to encourage team members to host their own “lunch and learn” sessions on topics ranging from professional development to special interests and teaching hobbies. It can be an exciting way to connect and learn together with minimal expense. I also record the session, to allows those in other time zones to participate asynchronously.
3. Although employees may have a variety of interests, posts can be shared through Slack (or other instant messaging) channels by interests. The most effective one I enjoy is a ‘pets’ channel as the captions can be humorous, and is a nice break in a busy (and isolating) day.
4. Have a “good morning” channel to message your hello, and maybe something fun you did the night before!
5. Certainly any learning-focused, health-focused or other company would be interested in completing a free ‘16 personalities‘ assessment and discuss results as a group.
6. Host a “Ask Me Anything” session with the CEO, or other member of the executive team and allow for open and transparent discussion – on anything!
7. Virtual escape rooms is a growing trend among remote companies. Remember how popular these things got? It seemed like on every corner there would be a new horror themed escape room (and it was fun!). Combine logical pattern and riddle masters with creative visuals amongst a team and you can surely break out! This is the same in concept, but from the comfort of your home.
8. Celebrate work anniversaries – have a virtual party for everyone who started in the same year. Add to it by sending a gift box with SWAG, treats and other goodies to use during the party.
9. Play ‘Pictionary‘. Video services like Google Meet allow you to have a shared online whiteboard (called a ‘jam board’) that can be used to draw while words can be shared by the host directly to the person drawing.
10. Create a book club – whether a specific interest or variety of themes, creating an internal book club and session for discussion is a great way to feel connected.
11. Allocate “meeting free” times such as Monday morning, or Thursday afternoons. No matter the time zone. This helps overcome the “zoom fatigue” or feelings that one cannot focus and get things done without interruption.
12. I recommend creating a company newsletter – whether through a slack channel, internal wiki site or email, an internal newsletter helps everyone stay up to date and feel connected. New hires – who are they? Someone had a baby? I want to know! Of course it can also advertise upcoming events and activities too!
13. I always have an employee survey – how else will you know what employees are thinking and feeling? Of course, typically these are anonymous so that employees answer honestly. There are a number of tools out there.
14. Acknowledge great work – whether sending a public recognition message or a personalized message to your employee, recognize it! “Thank you” goes a looooong way.
15. Lastly, develop an employee handbook. Indeed this helps set the ‘norms’, culture and communication expectations of navigating a remote work environment and distributed teams. Check out the list of free resources on the people stack main page to see some great examples of employee handbooks.
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