How to Improve Employee Engagement When Working From Home

As millions of Americans have relocated from office buildings to home offices for the foreseeable future, many companies’ employee engagement strategies have become obsolete. And with employees left juggling out-of-school kids, stir-craziness and more uncertainty than ever before, leaders are unsure how to improve employee engagement and are left with the question, “How do I ensure my teams feel connected and supported when they are spread across cities and states, each isolated in his or her home?”

As one of the many companies in this very situation, Jackson Spalding has turned to a few creative new ways to support our remote workforce, “gather” with one another and have fun. Exhibit A: 80-something JSers on a single video conference at 5 p.m. on St. Patrick’s Day, wearing green, raising glasses and performing improvised limericks.  

For employee satisfaction and productivity to flourish in this new reality – however long it may last – companies will need to drastically change the ways they invest in and relate to their teams. To help ensure you are reaching your employees and fostering engagement, we’ve grouped ideas and inspiration for how to engage remote employees into four buckets: mind, body, family, community and WFH functionality, so you can build a remote workforce culture as enjoyable as it is productive 

Mind 

  • Host (or encourage leaders to host) virtual book clubs and lunch-and-learns 
  • Pay for employee subscriptions to the Headspace app (or something similar) 
  • Send plants/flowers to employees to brighten up their home offices  
  • Work with motivational speakers to do live webinars for employees 
  • Curate upbeat Spotify playlists for employees to enjoy while working  
  • Encourage employees to foster animals while they’re at home  
  • On Pet Day (April 11), encourage employees to share photos of their furry WFH buddies  

Body 

  • Share roundup of companies offering free online workout classes (e.g., Peloton, Core Power Yoga) 
  • Partner with fitness instructors to host virtual meditation/yoga sessions that employees can tune into live  
  • Create a workout challenge with prizes to encourage employees to stay active while at home  
  • Share tips from a nutritionist for eating healthy while working from home  
  • Send all employees a daily 15-minute Outlook invite to stand up, take a walk outside, do a few jumping jacks, etc.  

Family 

  • Create a group on your company’s chat platform for WFH parents to share tips, resources, humor and encouragement  
  • Share a list of resources for parents working from home, including activities/worksheets for their kids and online events they can tune into (like live book readings) 
  • Have leaders encourage employees to get offline during lunch and at the end of the workday so they can enjoy meals with their families  

Community  

  • Host virtual happy hours  
  • Partner with a musical artist to host a live virtual concert for employees 
  • Encourage leaders to schedule short video calls on Thursdays (Thankful Thursday) to recognize the accomplishments of their teammates  
  • Develop a virtual repository of ideas for remote acts of kindness like buying someone lunch and sending it through a delivery service  
  • Host group lunches via video conference, and give participants GrubHub or Door Dash gift cards to cover their meals  
  • Share virtual volunteering opportunities for employees to serve their communities  
  • Host virtual group classes: mixology, cooking, calligraphy and art therapy  
  • Have leaders hand write notes of encouragement and appreciation to their teammates; photograph notes and send them to employees digitally  

WFH Functionality 

  • Give employees an allowance for setting up their remote offices 
  • Create a designed WFH guide with best practices and tools to distribute via email  
  • Offer a training on how to make video conferences more productive  
  • Pay for employees’ Wi-Fi or hotspots if needed  
  • Encourage leaders to use video conferencing, not just phone calls, for team meetings  
  • Crowdsource employees WFH hacks to share with others 
  • Put together a recommended daily schedule (emphasizing flexibility and grace) 

We hope these recommendations give you some direction in uncharted waters. Our internal communications experts are happy to help if you need more customized ideas or assistance with execution. In the meantime, you have our sincere wishes for health and safety. We’re all in this together!