2021 has officially begun, and it is important to kick the year off with a strong start. COVID-19 proved to be the ultimate challenge of 2020. Now that 2021 is here, don’t let the post holiday blues put you or your employees in a slump. Instead use this new year to focus on boosting employee engagement and crushing the remote work life.
What is Employee Engagement?
Employee engagement is defined as a connection an employee feels toward their organization. It occurs when employees are actively involved in their organization. Nearly 70% of U.S. employees report being disengaged at work according to a Gallup survey. When employees work remotely, it can be a challenge to make sure employees are continuously engaged.
Why is it Important?
Good employee engagement is essential for an organization. There are many benefits for why employers should increase employee engagement within an organization. Employees who feel engaged toward their workplace are more committed to the company and less likely to leave. Employers can help employees thrive working remotely by providing ways to boost employee engagement.
Below are a few tips on how to bring your “A” game when working remotely while also increasing employee engagement.
Find What Motivates
Working from home can make the days begin to blur together. Employers need to find out what motivates their employees. What is going to keep employees excited to come to work remotely? According to a recent SHRM article, the pandemic has caused working remotely to lose its appeal over time. Employers then become disengaged and their motivation drops.
Some new ideas that could help motivate employees to bring their best selves to work remotely could be:
Recognition and Praise
Employer recognition in regard to employees is crucial when it comes to encouraging employees to bring their “A” game to work every day. This pandemic has taken a toll on everyone. Letting employees know they are doing a great job can go a long way for employee engagement. It could be as simple as a company wide email giving a shout out of praise. Or, maybe you utilize a platform where employees can give each other kudos. Making sure to appreciate employees with positive feedback will create happier employees. Happy employees are more engaged. Plus, they are able to work better, even in a remote setting.
Setting Goals and Completing Challenges
Set goals for employees to achieve. Use these goals to then create some friendly competition. Generate a point system and every time an employee reaches a goal they receive a certain number of points. At the end of the challenge, the employee with the most points wins a prize. This accomplishes two goals within one. Employees become motivated with an incentive, and employees are engaged. It fires employees up to work towards something tangible.
Avoid the Pitfalls of Isolation
Easier said than done, am I right? It is hard not to feel isolated when working remotely. Employees are used to being surrounded by their co-workers all day. While there are a few benefits to the remote work lifestyle, it can lead to more disengaged employees. According to a recent report, 20% of employees working remote report they are struggling with loneliness. Don’t let the saying “out of sight out of mind”, apply to your employees!
Employers can minimize employees feeling isolated by increasing communication between fellow employees. Just because your employees are now working remotely does not mean they should feel isolated. As an employer, encourage employees to make sure to communicate to those on their team. When collaborating with teammates, encourage employees to video chat rather than just send an email. That way employees can actually see each other like they would if they were in the office together.
Set Aside Time
Working remotely can be very beneficial, but it also can blur the lines between work and home. Employers need to emphasize how their employees should set aside time to take a break. In a recent survey conducted by Buffer, it suggested incorporating break activities that can put employees in the right mindset. Have employees get up and move around throughout their work day. If employees were working in the office, there would be times during the day they would get up to chat with other employees and catch up about life.
Some ideas to recreate these breaks virtually could be:
“Water Cooler” Breaks
Institute a virtual water cooler break at 10am and 3pm for all employees. Utilize a virtual platform such a as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or a different communication tool to visit with co-workers. Just because employees are virtual, doesn’t mean they can’t set aside time in the day to visit and catch up with their fellow employees. You can switch it up and assign groups so employees are able to talk with those who may work on a different team. If an employer emphasizes the importance, their employees will be more engaged.
Once a week have all employees gather virtually and eat their lunch together. What once happened in the office, can still transfer to the virtual realm. This works especially well for employees who are new to the organization. It keeps the culture alive and well.
These ideas will help boost employee engagement and give employees a little break during their days. It also gives them something to look forward to.
Encourage a Balance
Because employees are working remotely, there needs to be a separation of work and home life. In order to create great employee engagement, employers should emphasize the need to turn off from work once their day is over. Before, employees were able to physically leave the office, now they may just leave the area. This can make it difficult to fully take time away from work. Especially, at the height of the pandemic, employees can feel the pressure to always be working. This can lead to workplace burnout and make employees disengaged. According to the Engagement Institute, disengaged employees can cost a company $550 billion a year. As an employer make sure to tell employees to shut off after work.
These are just a few suggestions on how employers can help employees bring their best selves to work each day in a remote environment. By adding a few of these tips into an organization, employees can increase employee engagement.
For more information on boosting employee engagement, follow our new AdvoCAT Series. Over the next four months we will be diving deeper into the working from home challenges and how it relates to employee relations.
About the Author
The AdvoCAT Series strives to be your HR advocate. Compliance Cat is here to provide specific content for a wide variety of topics.
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