Remote work has a long list of benefits: no commute, greater flexibility, work-life balance, and complete location independence. The biggest drawback? The option to go out for lunch together or chat about your weekend isn’t as available or appealing. Employees are often spread throughout the country or world, and small talk on a Zoom call just isn’t the same.
As an employer, it’s up to you to utilize employee engagement activities that keep people connected and in the loop. This allows you to create a positive company culture and focus on the overall well-being of your employees, not just their work productivity. We’ve compiled a list of activities you can try within your company!
Our top recommended employee engagement activities:
Surveys that lead to action
Feedback is key to getting the pulse on how employees are actually feeling. Consider sending surveys twice a year to hear what’s working and what’s not working for those in your company. Here’s a great list of possible questions that focus on employee engagement. We recommend including a line for employees to offer suggestions if they feel inclined.
But please don’t stop there. Watch for patterns, especially in what’s not working, and consider the recommendations that employees make. Use this data to make policy and process changes. Your employees are going to share some insightful ideas, and listening to them proves you value what they have to say.
For bonus points: Make some surveys anonymous so employees feel like they can be completely transparent.
Four of the scariest words in the English language: “We need to talk.” When you’re not in constant communication with your employees, a scheduled one-on-one can be terrifying. Providing regular feedback to those on your team ensures that everyone is on the same page. Be intentional about offering up praise and recognition, so that when constructive feedback is necessary it doesn’t feel like all you do is provide criticism.
For bonus points: Create the opportunity for employees to ‘shout-out’ each others’ accomplishments for even more positive feedback.
Fireside chats or newsletters
Keep employees up to date on company happenings with weekly meetings or newsletters. Use either method as a way to highlight professional and personal happenings. Discuss new clients and marketing strategies, but also announce birthdays and personal accomplishments. Be sure to keep meetings brief and to the point.
For bonus points: Create a stream in your digital communication tool for employees to share big (and small) events in their lives.
For bonus bonus points: If you choose to use weekly meetings, establish them as ‘walking meetings’ and encourage employees to take walks (even if it’s just laps around their home) for some movement during their work day.
Without the right precautions, remote work can become extremely isolating extremely quickly. In the office, employees have a chance to form personal relationships, but this can be challenging in a remote setting. Host virtual events where any talk of work is strictly banned. Prepare two off-the-wall questions for everyone to answer. Be sure to share them ahead of time so individuals can think about their answer. Plan a virtual game as well, whether it’s an themed scavenger hunt or a Pictionary competition for teams.
For bonus points: Plan the event during working hours so employees aren’t giving up personal time and evenings with their families.
Once a month, use lunchtime for an industry-focused conversation. Invite a business expert to come and speak, watch and discuss a relevant TED talk, or host a book club. You can also use this time for cross-training, giving employees the chance to share exactly what their job entails (hello, excellent team-building!).
For bonus points: If you really want to go all out, consider how you can treat your remote employees to a meal for your learning lunches, such as offering a DoorDash or UberEats gift card.
A wellness challenge is an incredible tool for supporting the physical, mental, and social health of your employees. Ongoing challenges build comradery and increase employee retention. Encourages wellness activities that promote overall health, such as step challenges, rather than any sort of weight-related challenges.
For bonus points: Use Walker Tracker for a step challenge that everyone enjoys and check out these 3 tips for high engagement in your wellness program.
Planning employee engagement activities can feel challenging when your team is spread across several time zones, but that doesn’t mean it’s not doable.
The Walker Tracker team gets together every other Thursday for a ‘team hangout’ – this includes games, discussions, wellness activities, and generally – just having fun together. Here’s a list of ideas from our last couple of years of hang time:
- Pictionary & Charades
- Baby photo guessing game (see photo at right)
- Remote scavenger hunt
- Monthly industry discussions
- Trivia & word puzzles
- + more!