Working from home can have its perks. Where it may not measure up to in-person office interactions, however, is workplace culture. If you’ve traditionally benefitted from tight-knit teams, your employees may be struggling to replicate that in-person energy at a distance. So what can you do to boost employee morale?
Whether your remote operations are a temporary measure or not, these team-building ideas have their merit in a long-term company plan.
Give Recognition Early and Often
Even if your employees haven’t historically relied on kudos to stay motivated, they might be craving this recognition now. The direct manager or team leader should work warranted praise into regular conversations via phone, email or video chat. Sharing this praise across company-wide communications can also provide an extra boost. While it might not seem like anything especially spectacular to note, doing a good job consistently when working remotely takes a special kind of commitment and should be commended.
Acknowledge that this arrangement has its challenges, and share how the company benefits from everyone doing their best. Be ready to offer praise at the beginning stages of any new project. If you can arrange direct feedback from a C-suite executive in your organization, do it.
Allow Time To Be Human
If your work calls and video chats feel tiring, they might not be allowing participants room to decompress. Remember, a typical on-site workday wasn’t just a chance for employees to earn a paycheck, it also gave them opportunities to chat at lunch, check in with others on break, and participate in off-topic banter before and after meetings. Give your teams five to 10 minutes at the start of each call for employees to catch up. This can help everyone maintain some level of camaraderie and overall morale.
These conversations can also offer important clues about how your employees are doing, so take note of anything that seems amiss and follow up accordingly.
Consider Hosting Virtual Events
Most companies have canceled their retreats, holiday parties and award banquets in light of the pandemic. Since it’s uncertain whether these events can safely resume next year, look into hosting virtual events in their place to continue boosting morale. Not only are virtual events typically more budget-friendly than in-person soirees, but they’re also becoming the norm for 100% remote companies. And with so many event planning companies pivoting to remote-based offerings, it won’t be too difficult to find a format that suits your schedule and workforce.
Try Small Remote Outings, Too
If big shindigs were never a trademark of your business, look at how you can connect in other ways. Some team-building ideas that can happen over video include:
- Virtual yoga or mindfulness sessions.
- Cooking classes led by professional chefs.
- Q&A’s with top health or productivity experts.
- Painting or pencil sketching courses.
- Games, such as bingo, Battleship or trivia.
If you do bring in an expert to speak to your workforce, ensure that their presentation includes interactive exercises. Employees are quickly burning out from all the screen time, so make sure their participation is rewarded with something unique, entertaining and valuable to their professional and personal development.
The Future of Remote Employee Engagement: Balance
Expect to see more products and services geared toward companies that want to engage their remote workforces. Before you invest in new apps or tools, consider how much video chat or screen time your employees are being subjected to. While pertinent, personalized and productive meetings can be a big morale booster, lackluster meetings can just add to the day’s burdens. Maintaining a proper balance between checking in and creating extra busywork can be difficult, but these tips can help you master it and boost employee morale in the process.
Looking for more ways to support and engage your employees? Check out United Concordia Dental’s Employer Toolkit.