In a perfect world, your team churns out exceptional creative work. They're productive and profitable. With incredibly engaged teams, this is possible.
But the unfortunate truth is that many remote workers feel the burden of isolation. Because we don't share a physical office, it's easy to feel disconnected or out of sync with your co-workers.
The most forward-thinking organizations prioritize employee to employee engagement. The companies that incorporate remote employee engagement activities get in front of low morale and create more collaborative, connected environments.
Remote Employee Engagement Activities That Every Disruptive Brand Should Try
In a traditional office, employee engagement activities are easy. You can grab a drink after work or take a break to play a game. But for distributed workers, it takes more creativity. And according to The State of Remote Work for 2019, one of the top struggles for remote workers is loneliness.
Amir Salihefendic, the CEO of Doist and manager of an all-remote team, identifies isolation, depression, and anxiety as "significant problems when working remotely." Because for many teams, there's too much distance to effectively bond with your team.
The most employee-centric companies regularly take part in engagement activities, including:
1. Virtual "Let's Get To Know Each Other" Sessions
Outside of work, remote teams don't learn much about each other. It's difficult to banter when you don't have a company water cooler to crowd around. But this kind of casual conversation is a big part of what bonds teams and makes them more collaborative. Remote teams can replicate the in-office banter with virtual get to know you sessions.
Source: Timely Facebook Page
The team at Timely, for instance, uses video conferencing platforms to connect. They quiz each other on colleague fun facts and hold themed trivia sessions. You can get everyone communicating and sharing to get to know each other better.
2. Weekly Alignment Sessions
You can keep your team energized with a weekly alignment session. You can cover the objectives of your organization and encourage attendees to share ideas for alignment. These topics can include themes like culture and professional development.
The goal is to give your employees a voice. Here at High Fidelity, we take this a step further by using virtual reality to hold our meetings. It gets us face-to-face and in the same room.
3. The Opportunity To Show Off Home Offices
For distributed teams, it can be hard to get to know your team members. A simple way to encourage your peers to show off their unique personalities is through their home offices.
Source: Help Scout
Help Scout pulls this off exceptionally with their 'At Home With Help Scout' series. Similar to the popular MTV Cribs television show, team members show off their workspaces at home. It gives everyone a better sense of who they're working with.
4. Time For Personal Updates
One of the best things about working in-house is small talk and banter. It's much more challenging to do this remotely. That's why for every meeting, having 5-10 minutes allocated for personal updates can be effective. You can make it a part of your meetings and ask everyone to come prepared.
The team at Hubstaff recommends doing a round-robin at the beginning of the meeting. Everyone can share personal anecdotes: whether it's an important task or an acknowledgement of something another co-worker did well, it's a great way to connect with your teammates.
5. Team Lunches
Employees in physical offices often get to enjoy their favorite nearby restaurants together at lunch. They get to try the new coffee spot down the street. But you can eat together remotely, too.
Source: The Hotjar Blog
Once a month, invite your team to order whatever lunch they want. Then, get everyone on a call and have some candid conversations over Google Hangouts or Zoom. You can talk about your week, the last trip you took, or your plans for the coming weekend.
The team at Hotjar hold coffee and learn sessions. It's an excellent opportunity to bond and even do some professional development.
Other Creative Strategies to Engage Employees
Check out this resource for more on why engaging remote employees is so important, and how to keep your team engaged using five creative strategies. It goes into...
- Why is it important to prioritize communication?
- How to set smart goals and expectations?
- How to host extracurricular activities?
Getting Your Team Aligned, Engaged, And Excited
For remote teams, building a great company culture is something to always work toward. Aside from these remote employee engagement activities, there's also technology that can help organize your team.