How to Improve Employee Engagement When (Still) Working From Home

Finding creative ways for businesses to stay engaged with their employees right now is critical – especially since large-scale holiday gatherings are off the table, and 33 percent of American workers continue to work exclusively from home.

Leaders are left with the question, “How do I ensure my teams feel connected and supported when they are spread across cities and states without the opportunity of in-person connection?”

As one of the many companies in this very situation, Jackson Spalding has continually sought ways to virtually “gather” with one another and have fun. Some recent examples include developing an online game – our Thanksgiving Roast – and a kid-friendly holiday happy hour complete with singalongs and a cookie decorating session.

To help ensure you are reaching your employees and fostering connection, we’ve grouped ideas and inspiration for how to engage remote employees into four buckets: mind, body, family and community, so you can foster a stronger workplace culture despite the lack of physical togetherness.

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  

Body 

  • Share roundup of companies offering free online workout classes (e.g., Peloton, Core Power Yoga, etc.) 
  • Partner with fitness instructors to host virtual meditation or 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  

  • 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  

We hope these recommendations give you some direction as we continue to find ways to be safe and “gather” during the pandemic. If you need help executing these ideas for your employees or would like assistance customizing for your organization, our internal communications experts are ready to help! Wishing you a safe and healthy year ahead.