It has been over one year since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. March 11, 2021 marks the one year anniversary of the WHO declaring a global pandemic. A survey by Owl Labs found that during COVID-19, close to 70% of full time workers are remote working from home. The workplace certainly looks different now as does employee engagement efforts. Employee engagement remains a top priority for organizations even with remote working being the norm. Engaged employees are productivity multipliers. Studies show they are 45% more productive than employees who are simply “satisfied” with their jobs.
Promote Employee Well-Being
Global online employment platform, Monster, conducted a survey that showed that two in three employees are struggling with remote burnout and the rapid compression of our personal and professional lives. Longer hours and fewer breaks may mean that employees will not necessarily appreciate another zoom invitation, even if it is for a virtual happy hour. Focus on what your employees need right now for effective employee engagement. Consider giving employees a day off to recharge. This will not solve the entirety of burnout issues at work. But time off will give your team time to disengage, recalibrate and come back fresh.
If feeling stressed and anxious about their personal and family well-being, employees will not be engaged at work. Employers, in times like these can do their best to be empathetic, understanding and offer ways to support their employees. Promote activities such as breaks, physical activity and meditation. Also, give employees autonomy and flexibility to create work from home environments that best suit them.
Connect Via Charitable Opportunities
Long term remote work can lead to feelings of disconnection and isolation. Not only do employees feel disconnected from colleagues, but also disconnection from the company’s bigger purpose. It is harder to connect the dots between day to day tasks and the big picture strategies and priorities. This makes work feel unimportant or meaningless, further exacerbating feelings of disengagement.
Help to strengthen engagement and alleviate feelings of isolation and disconnection by promoting virtual opportunities to support a local nonprofit or charitable cause that aligns with your company’s mission and values. Charitable work is a great way to increase positivity among employees and connect them to a shared goal.
Before Covid-19, movement was naturally integrated into the work day. Previously, employees could stop for a quick chat with co-workers on the way to the elevator. Walk to grab coffee or a snack from the break room or to a conference room for a meeting. Employees working remotely at home, are sitting for long stretches, away from natural work day movement.
Exercise is essential not just from a physical standpoint, but it also contributes to peak mental performance. Regular exercise can improve mood, reduce stress and improve sleep. Encourage your employees to take a midday movement break. Or you could set up virtual fitness challenges, such as a step count contest or plank a minute per day for a month. If it is safe to do so, you could also organize an outdoor, physically distanced walk or hike.
Communication While Remote Working
Both formal and informal lines of communication are important to organizations. With the COVID-19 situation evolving rapidly, it is critical that organizations provide accurate and timely updates to employees. Transparency and openness in formal communications go a long way to strengthening employee commitment to the organization. In addition to formal communication channels, consider how to promote informal dialogues, as employees would have engaged in conversations around the office under normal circumstances. Create opportunities for two-way dialogue where employees can ask questions, express concerns and seek help or advice from others. Also consider ways for employees to stay socially connected despite being physically apart – whether creating activities or competitions that help employees engage, even if it is non-work topics such as sports, tv shows, or pets.
Find Creative Ways To Celebrate
Make time to celebrate the accomplishments and major life events of your employees such as project milestones, birthdays, or work anniversaries. Shifting employees’ focus to the positive aspects of work and life can go a long way in lifting people’s spirits and level of engagement. Reward and recognition programs, whether formal or informal, can also boost employee engagement. This is one area where Forage Foods can help. Drop us a line to see how we can help bolster employee engagement. Ask about our at-home celebration boxes and reward and recognition programs.
As you consider ways to improve employee engagement at your company, remember that effective engagement is more than a few one-off events. It’s a holistic approach to the entire employee life cycle that respects employees’ time, helps them renew their energy and positions them to inspire others, creating a ripple effect throughout your entire organization.