Have you ever heard someone say, “I don’t want to get involved. I just want to focus on my job?” If you’re a remote worker or are managing employees from afar, then you’ve heard those words before.
The benefits of working remotely are numerous. But despite all the advantages, some workers aren’t happy with their remote jobs. They complain about missing social events, family gatherings, and other perks.
Keeping remote employees motivated is crucial to boosting your team’s productivity. But we know how challenging it is, so we’ve gathered some employee engagement ideas for remote workers that you’ll surely benefit from.
What Is Employee Engagement?
Employee engagement means making your workers feel valued, satisfied, and happy at their job. Your team will have a hard time being productive if they don’t feel like their effort is being appreciated. Yes, workers do care about their salary, but they want more than that.
They want to feel like they are a valuable asset to the company and have the opportunity to grow within the industry. The more employee engagement there is, the greater job performance and productivity your team members will have.
It’s a lot easier to encourage employee engagement when your team is working under the same roof. But when you have employees working from home, you’ll have to come up with ways to engage with them virtually.
Virtual Employee Engagement Ideas—Why It’s Necessary
Before the pandemic, no one was sure about the effectiveness of working from home. But ever since covid-19 took over, the majority of employees were forced to take their work home. Companies have benefited so much from having remote workers that now, most industries have established it as the new norm.
But, working from home became mandatory from one day to the next, not giving enough time for companies to come up with an easy transition and virtual engagement ideas. Thanks to that, workers have felt lonely, anxious, distracted, disconnected, and have even experienced a decline in their mental and physical health. As working from home is becoming more and more popular, then coming up with effective virtual employee engagement ideas is vital.
Top 14 Virtual Employee Engagement Ideas for Remote Workers
Keeping your employees motivated is already challenging when working in the same place. So virtual engagement can also be tricky. But, there are 14 ideas you can start putting into play.
1. Virtual Murder Mystery Party
Have you ever heard of a virtual murder mystery party? It’s a game that consists of choosing one person out of all the members to be a secret murderer, and everyone else has to figure out who it is. Many companies have incorporated this game as part of their weekly events to strengthen problem-solving skills and keep employees engaged.
Every player needs to engage in a game like this, and no one gets left out. This simple and super fun strategy encourages players to work as a team and stay motivated. You can plan this as part of a company’s virtual happy hour or make it a regular event.
2. Solve Puzzles Together
Another great and fun way of promoting teamwork and problem-solving skills is by solving puzzles together. It teaches members how to communicate with one another and helps develop critical thinking.
Puzzles will also help workers learn how to collaborate with one another while remaining fully engaged in the activity. You can even create virtual puzzles where players have to battle each other in order to get it done. An extra tip to keep members motivated: attach some fun incentives to promote healthy competitiveness.
3. Hand Out Virtual Rewards and Recognition
For remote workers, getting noticed may seem more challenging, which is why it’s crucial you hand out virtual rewards and give recognition to those who deserve it. People need to feel like their work is being valued within the organization and that the company cares about them. Without any recognition, your employees will eventually become unmotivated.
So, make sure you’re creating incentives and rewards. You don’t have to do anything over-the-top either. A simple email saying, “thank you for your hard work today, you’ve done a great job,” can do wonders.
Or, during virtual meetings, you can highlight an employee’s work and have everyone give them a round of applause. You could also program a weekly recognition program where you pick one day of the week to give a shout-out to a particular employee. Or, there’s the classic “employee of the month” program which always works well.
And when it comes to choosing rewards to hand out, pick out items that are remote-friendly. For example, an electronic gift card for a specific store or a small cash bonus.
4. Virtual Water Cooler Activities
All jobs have those moments where they share quality time with their coworkers by a “water cooler” (which can also be a coffee machine or donut stand.) But, remote workers don’t have that perk anymore. Those simple “water cooler” moments allowed employees to bond and connect with one another.
Well, even though workers are no longer spending time together face-to-face, there are ways to create virtual water cooler moments. For example, you can create virtual clubs or group chats where workers can talk about work-related things. Encourage workers to discuss specific topics to help them get engaged, such as their next vacation destination or a picture of their pet.
5. Host Themed Days
Working from home can be monotonous and can end up boring the life out of your employees. So, a way to spice up the work routine is by adding some themed days.
Themed days add a fun aspect to the job, and it’s a great way to keep employees distracted for a bit. Themed days could be “show your pets at virtual meetings” day or “dress as your favorite superhero.”
6. Only Hold the Necessary Amount of Meetings
Ever since the remote work culture has become more popular in various companies worldwide, work meetings have increased. Due to employees working at home and not being able to discuss matters face-to-face, managers have felt the need to conduct more virtual meetings than usual.
Yet, the large number of work meetings can take a toll on the employee’s wellbeing. For some employees, working from home can be a source of anxiety, and too many work meetings can have an even worse impact on them.
So, evaluate the meetings you have scheduled and see which ones are absolutely necessary. Perhaps certain things can be discussed via email or a group message.
7. Program Various Breaks
Burnout is still a risk for remote workers. The fact that their home is tied to their job makes it harder for your employees to disconnect and take an actual mental break. And, sometimes, allowing one break for the whole shift isn’t enough.
To promote better mental health and relieve stress, allow your employees to take several breaks instead of only one. Frequent breaks will give your workers the chance to reboot their mindset and feel less overwhelmed.
8. Be Flexible With Granting Time Off
Giving your employees a day off every now and then is something they’ll no doubt appreciate. If it’s someone’s birthday, send them a gift card and grant them their day off. Or give a day off when someone has exceeded the company’s expectations.
9. Host Virtual Events
Virtual events can be anything from virtual concerts to exciting seminars. Give your workers the chance to bond and connect with each other in special activities. Plus, it’s a good way of helping people relax after a hard week of work.
10. Do Not Micromanage
A big mistake managers make when running a team of remote workers is to keep tabs on everything the worker is up to. In other words, they micromanage.
Micromanaging consists of controlling every little aspect of things, such as over-supervising employees and controlling their every move. This instills anxiety in your employees and creates an uncomfortable work environment.
Your employees should feel trusted and that they don’t need babysitting. And even though you think micromanaging will help you get the work done, it won’t. It’ll have the opposite effect and make your workers disengaged.
Instead, set what the performance expectations and measurable company goals are. Then, evaluate who meets them in a normal, healthy way. You can even conduct regular evaluations for each employee to help them improve in areas that need work or to give them recognition for a job well done.
11. Create Mental Health Awareness
Physical health is important and should be spoken about at work if your employees are sitting at their desks for 8 hours a day. But, creating awareness around mental health is a must.
As mentioned above, some remote workers struggle with having to stay at home. Some are more susceptible to stress, depression, and anxiety because of it.
So, promoting mental health at work is a way to help out your employees. Some ways to do so is by offering information on different mental health disorders and how you can cope with them. You could also allow “mental-health” sick days so that your employees can take a day off when feeling overwhelmed.
You can also provide services that could help boost mental health. For example, giving access to special talks or seminars that offer coping mechanisms for various mental disorders.
12. Ask For Feedback
It’s important you establish honest and open communication with your workers by asking for feedback. Let them know that you genuinely care about how they feel and what they think about their jobs.
This will help them feel noticed and that their thoughts matter to you. Ask them what they enjoy about the company and what you can do to improve.
It’s also good to send out feedback forms or surveys via email. That way, they can each write out their honest thoughts about the company and work environment, and you can have a record of what they say.
13. Provide Quality Communication Tools
If you want your employees to communicate well with each other, you need to provide quality communication tools and encourage adequate communication practices. Without it, your workers won’t enjoy transparent communication, which will lead to low productivity.
Quality communication tools involve video chats and web conferences, easy messaging apps, file sharing apps, and more. There’s a wide variety of them available now, so it’s just a matter of choosing the right one for your team. Make sure the tool you use offers the best engagement.
14. Celebrate Virtual Employee Appreciation Day
Yes, there is such a thing as work employee appreciation day. It’s the first Friday of March, and it’s a great day to celebrate with your employees all the achievements they’ve made.
This day is your opportunity to show people how much you truly value them. And because it’s a special day, you should do everything you can to show your employees just how special they are.
For example, you can send out a care package to every worker. You can give your employees special gifts or company rewards. You can host a fun, virtual event—the list goes on!
Promote Employee Engagement With These Tips
These employee engagement ideas for remote workers will help improve their job performance. At Remote Work Made Simple, we help you and your remote business thrive by finding the perfect work solutions for you.
If you’d like to know how we can help, book a free online assessment with us! Or you can also contact us here for more information.