With workplace habits turned upside down, work from home (WFH) moving from trend to long-term model, and employers coordinating hybrid work scenarios, there’s a lot to think about from a human resources perspective. While you’re welcoming back your team to the office with new protocols in place (and getting that break room restocked), one important consideration is how to keep your remote employees connected and engaged.
Employee engagement is a crucial part of the health and wellness of a company as well as its team. As noted by a career writer on Business News Daily: “Keeping remote workers engaged is a necessary part of leading a remote team, company or employee . . . . Without the ability to have organic conversations in the break room or at each other’s cubicles, it takes a more concentrated effort for remote workers to engage with others.” The writer goes on to say that this can lead to feelings of isolation and being unappreciated, as well as a lack of passion for the company’s vision or goals. Uh oh.
Clearly, making an investment in keeping your employees happy and feeling like part of the team from wherever they work is important for employers. Personal connections are especially crucial. This may be especially challenging for new hires who will be working from home and have not had the benefit of in-person, pre-COVID interactions at the office. Technology has done a wonderful job of keeping people connected but is that enough?
Beyond providing the tools they need to succeed and supporting your new hires, there are two vital efforts employers should make to maintain a happy, productive team of WFH employees: fostering social interaction and showing employees you care about them. Here are some ways to get the job done.
- Feed them & fuel them. Home deliveries of better-for-them snacks and top-quality coffee (worthy of any coffee snob!) are a great way to offer an element of surprise they’re sure to appreciate, and show them that even though they’re working from home, your remote team is never far from your thoughts. At Corporate Essentials, we offer curated snack boxes that can be sent for special occasions or as a regular order to help nourish strong hybrid workplace connections.
The latest in sweet and salty goodies, fruit boxes, health bars, and curated seasonal and themed snack boxes will delight your remote crew and solve those midday cravings in a snap. And, with our selection of locally sourced and specialty coffees you can make sure they enjoy that morning cup of joe or afternoon coffee break just the way they like it (with yummy snacks on the side).
- Send a curated gift package to mark a milestone. Has someone on the team just celebrated 10 years at your company? Are they marking a special birthday or wedding anniversary? Imagine the look of surprise when a custom, curated gift box shows up at your employee’s door, with personalized touches, snacks, and more.
- Host virtual events. We’ve all gotten used to online meetings and networking events. You can bring the team together virtually with fun programs that create opportunities for social connection and fun.
For example, through our in-house catering company, Martin & Fitch, we offer virtual cooking and baking classes led by members of our culinary team. If your people aren’t home cooks or bakers, try hosting a wine tasting or chocolate tasting party, led by someone from a local establishment or trusted vendor. An after-work happy hour enables your hybrid workforce to catch up on the week’s events and get to know each other better (as they sip their beverage of choice). This is especially helpful if you have new hires.
- Game on! Incorporating icebreakers and party games into the event add an element of levity (and are sure to elicit plenty of “I had no idea!” reactions) to your virtual happy hour or coffee break; or consider making a team-building activity, such as desktop competitions and home-centric scavenger hunts, the focus of the virtual event. See some fun ideas here.
- Hold a hybrid employee recognition event. Again, technology comes to the rescue, as you can livestream an awards program or recognition event from the office to everyone working from home (or conduct the event completely online), so everyone will be in the loop and can offer congratulations for a job well done.
What are some of the ways you’re keeping your team connected—to each other, to your leadership, and to your corporate culture? We’d love to brainstorm some ideas with you on how to help WFH employees stay engaged. Contact us at 973-402-1088 to get the connection ball rolling!