With increasing market competition and rising attrition, employee engagement has been a central focus of HR leaders globally. In the current context, these problems are exacerbated. With COVID-19 still affecting majority of industries, the doom and gloom of adjusting to social distancing and remote working doesn’t seem to be abating anytime soon. Many employees are experiencing burnout and managers are struggling to get work done. In fact, recent research conducted by the Harvard Business Review states clearly that productivity is lower when employees work from home and especially when they are forced to work from home.
While many organizations have done well in terms of laying infrastructure and processes for remote working, they have ignored the psychological impact that long-working hours and isolation have on employees. One of the ways to mitigate these ill-effects is adapting employee engagement activities for a remote environment. In this blog post, we’ll talk about different events that can be conducted to balance work with play to foster creativity, effective problem-solving and a sense of connection within a remote workforce. Some of the popular methods for this are:
They can be regular quizzes or one-off quiz tournaments that cater to a variety of interests. Topics can range from movies and music to politics, technology, sports and so on. Many organizations follow the practice of sending small quizzes every day post lunch to keep employees active and engaged. Whatever the frequency, an employee engagement platform should help in creating and administering such contests easily, and tying them to a points-based rewards system to boost participation rates.
Remember your organization’s talent show, where you saw a different side to your colleagues? You can still have a virtual contest using video entries which can be uploaded on the organization’s formal communication platform. The most popular video can then be declared a winner based on likes or views! Here’s an example of one of our most innovative client entries where they used Gratifi’s contest portal to showcase their talent.
- Discussion forums
Pre-planned topics for discussion can be a great way of getting like-minded people together. These can range from homeschooling children, finding efficient home workouts to making post-lockdown travel wish-lists! It can also be useful to mix up teams, so there’s ample opportunity for cross-department interaction and socialization.
- Hobby Corners
Discussions can also be dedicated to particular hobbies, forming online clubs of sorts. These hobby corners can exist on a collaboration platform in the form of videos, images and text or recurring video calls with an opt-in form circulated through a survey. The key is to encourage employees to get creative and use their free time in a constructive manner.
- Watch parties
Have an industry related event occurring, such as the launch of an innovative product, which your team should know about? Schedule watch parties at your team level using tools like Facebook or Airtime.
- Gaming sessions
Depending on your organization’s demographics, structure and industry- online group video gaming can also be one of the ways to infuse play into an otherwise tiring workday! This could work for, say, a tech startup or similar smaller-sized organizations.
It goes without saying that it takes time to get used to any new practice, and when it comes to bonding with colleagues remotely, there can be hesitation or resistance at first. However, with a strong organizational strategy and the right tools and efforts, soon employee appreciation and collaboration will become a part of your remote working culture. Nothing can supplement physical human interactions, but the exchange of genuine concern, shared struggles, a joke or two, and small everyday wins can set the stage for increased connection- leading to better outcomes at work and enhanced loyalty towards the organization.