Working from home is becoming more and more popular for office work, and it’s clear that it’s a trend that’s meant to stay! Employees are loving the lack of commute, working in pajama pants, and the all-day snack access while employers are reaping the benefits of vastly reduced office and equipment costs.
But with great freedom comes a new responsibility for employers to help keep their employees engaged despite the distance. That’s why we’re here to help with some virtual employee engagement ideas that will help improve team unity and keep away that isolated feeling that can come from working alone in a home office.
Everyone loves when the office pays for employees to eat out as a team, but that can’t happen the same way when employees aren’t able to meet up in person anymore. However, that doesn’t mean you have to have a team lunch of fridge leftovers, either. Give your teams the freedom of a virtual team lunch with gift cards to their favorite restaurant. Team members can go out and eat at their leisure and then send pictures to the team afterward. This way, employees won’t feel left out of this fun lunch tradition and still feel connected with this trick to engage remote employees.
Team lunches aren’t just fun for the chance to eat out, they’re also a great time for teams to kick back and socialize in a casual way. That can still happen with a zoom wine party! Send your remote employees a party kit with a bottle of their favorite wine and custom wine glasses with the company logo for a memorable yet virtual event that brings the team together. Virtual events like these can go a long way to improve remote work collaboration as employees become more comfortable communicating together through zoom.
Whether you’ve got gamers in your teams or just want another way to encourage collaboration with remote teams, setting up a virtual team game session is a great way to help employees have fun together while facilitating essential team-building skills. You can pay for subscriptions to games like Jackbox for a variety of games, or enjoy free play app games like Among Us that allow for private groups to play through their phones.
You can even skip the gaming tech and play an old-fashioned ice breaker game for one of your virtual employee engagement ideas. These games can take as little as ten minutes but still give employees a fun way to connect and get to know one another.
Now that employees are working in their own home offices, employees may miss the professional yet personalized feel of an official office workstation. However, with every problem comes an opportunity, and this gives you the chance to show your employees that they can take the office home with them and improve remote work collaboration with some home office gifts! Here are company branded gift ideas for virtual employee engagement.
Give your employees a hand in setting up their home office workspace with some custom logo office gifts. Not only will this make your employees more comfortable in their new workspace, but it’ll also help engage remote employees in the company culture with your logo tastefully placed on custom mousepads, branded sticky notes, company coffee mugs, and their very own custom company pens.
Company gifts shouldn’t be all work and no play, however. Let your teams put their own spin on the company logo to create custom team swag gift set for team building fun. Let them embrace the work from home lifestyle with custom branded speakers, desk buddy cellphone stands, and trendy stress relief desk toys. Not only are these great conversation-starters for your remote team members, but they help maintain a sense of team spirit through the custom branding.
When looking to improve collaboration with remote teams, it’s important to remember that policies that work for the office don’t necessarily work for remote teams. With the freedom to create your own work flow and environment can come problems with coordinating, communicating, and maintaining a separation between work and home life. To address that, you’ll need unique policies made to meet the needs of work from home employees. Here are a couple policy ideas to support your employees’ engagement and well-being.
With everyone just a zoom link away, it can be tempting to set up meetings throughout the week whenever you want to coordinate as a team. However, time spent in meetings takes away from time actually getting the work done, and it can actually hurt your remote work collaboration as a team when you’re being called into several meetings a day.
Instead, start the week off with one zoom meeting that everyone attends and get your big plans laid out for the week. After that, try to settle things in chats or emails only unless absolutely necessary. This will save time and help ensure everyone starts the week off on the same page with the same goals. It’s important as well for virtual employees to learn to communicate effectively through team chats and emails, and this will help encourage that growth.
When employees have easy access to their work computer at all hours of the day, it can be tempting to try and get a head start on the next day with just one more hour of work in the evenings, take their work to the couch and keep going during their scheduled break, or just keep working a little longer after clocking out. While this is harmless once or twice, it can quickly become a pattern of employees overworking themselves outside of normal work hours. Without the time to relax at the end of the day or even take care of home needs, employees can quickly become burnt out.
Burnout prevention is an essential part of engaging remote employees in a healthy company culture, and so while it’s important to help keep virtual employees engaged in working, it’s equally important to be firm about when they should not work. Regardless of looming deadlines or urgent tasks, make it clear to your employees that you expect them to take their designated breaks, to stop working at the end of the day, and to not touch their work computer until they clock in the next morning. This emphasis on employee self-care will make them more engaged and effective during their scheduled work time and protect their mental health.
When finding virtual employee engagement ideas, it’s important to consider the needs and preferences of your particular team. Activities and games that are fun for one team may not be as engaging for another, and some teams really do need more zoom meetings than others. These solutions and fun work activities can act as guidelines to get you on the right track, but the first and most important step is to communicate with your employees and see what they need. With their insights to guide you, your engagement efforts will be much more successful.
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