It’s the year 2023, and the COVID-19 pandemic still has had a significant impact on the way we live and work. Remote work has become our new normal. We know now that it has become a necessity for many companies and employees worldwide.
Now, while remote work has its benefits, such as increased flexibility and reduced commuting time, it also presents unique challenges when it comes to employee engagement.
With remote employees physically distanced from their colleagues and the company, it can be difficult for managers to keep their teams engaged, motivated, and connected.
However, employee engagement is critical for maintaining productivity, morale, and well-being of your employees.
In this article, we'll explore 25+ creative remote employee engagement activities that you can try in 2023 to keep your remote workforce motivated and engaged. These activities are designed to help remote workers feel connected to their colleagues and company, promote productivity and collaboration, and enhance employee well-being.
From virtual team-building activities and online training sessions to social events and flexible work arrangements, there are many ways to keep remote employees engaged and motivated.
By prioritizing remote employee engagement ideas, companies can foster a culture of productivity, creativity, and collaboration that benefits both employees and the company as a whole.
Table of contents:-
- What is remote employee engagement?
- Why do we need virtual employee engagement activities?
- What are virtual employee engagement activities?
- How do you engage an employee remotely?
- How to keep remote employees connected?
- The challenges of virtual employee engagement
- What are some of the top remote employee engagement trends?
- Importance of measuring remote employee engagement
- 8 Remote employee engagement statistics that you should know
- 25+ Creative remote employee engagement activities that are a must-try!
- Fun employee engagement activities that you can try outdoor
What is remote employee engagement?
Remote employee engagement refers to the process of creating a positive and fulfilling work experience for remote employees. It involves building relationships, providing feedback, recognition, and opportunities for growth and development, and fostering a sense of belonging, even when employees are physically distant.
This form of employee engagement is an essential aspect of managing a remote team. When employees work remotely, they can feel isolated and disconnected from their colleagues, leading to a lack of motivation and decreased productivity.
Remote employee engagement strategies are designed to address these challenges by creating a supportive work environment that helps remote employees feel valued, connected, and invested in the company. This directly contributes to the success of the entire team.
Building strong relationships with remote employees is a critical component of remote employee engagement. Managers must establish regular communication channels to stay connected with their remote teams, provide feedback, and offer recognition for their hard work.
These efforts can help remote employees feel appreciated and motivated, which, in turn, can boost employee engagement and lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction.
Remote employee engagement also involves providing opportunities for growth and development. Remote workers need access to training, resources, and mentorship programs that allow them to develop new skills and advance their careers.
Providing these opportunities can help boost remote employee engagement as employees would feel more valued and invested in the company's success, leading to increased loyalty and retention rates.
Why do we need virtual employee engagement activities?
The concept of engaging your remote employees virtually is quite simple – employees more committed to the company and its culture are motivated to work, resulting in increased productivity and better business outcomes.
Moreover, highly engaged employees tend to have a positive attitude toward their work and are likelier to provide better results! To put it simply, there are myriad benefits to employee engagement.
In the same vein, virtual employee engagement activities are essential for maintaining and boosting employee engagement, morale, well-being, and productivity, especially when employees are physically distant.
Remote employees who feel connected to their colleagues and the organization are more likely to feel a sense of purpose and belonging, leading to increased job satisfaction and reduced stress, thereby improving their productivity.
Think of it as weaving a tapestry of camaraderie across the digital landscape, where each thread contributes to a stronger, more vibrant remote workforce.
So, whether it's a virtual coffee break, a team-building online game night, or a heartfelt shoutout during a video call, these engagement activities are like the magical spells that forge unbreakable bonds among your remote team members.
It's not just about pixels on a screen; it's about building a united, motivated, and incredibly productive virtual workforce that propels your business toward its goals.
What are virtual employee engagement activities?
Virtual employee engagement activities are activities that managers can use to connect and engage with remote employees. They're like the colorful threads woven into the fabric of your virtual workspace, creating a tapestry of interaction and camaraderie.
Just as a symphony relies on different instruments playing in harmony, these activities orchestrate a harmonious remote work environment.
They include team-building exercises, social activities, learning and development opportunities, recognition programs, virtual employee engagement games and more.
Imagine your virtual office buzzing with the excitement of a team-building scavenger hunt, where colleagues collaborate across screens to uncover hidden treasures of connection.
These employee engagement activities help create a sense of community and foster an environment where remote employees don't just feel like faceless avatars but are integral parts of a larger whole.
Through virtual coffee chats, interactive workshops, and virtual high-fives, these activities bridge the gap between miles and pixels, nurturing a culture of inclusion and shared purpose.
As the digital workplace landscape evolves, so do the employee engagement tools. Virtual reality team-building adventures, online wellness challenges, and AI-driven personalized learning experiences are just a glimpse into the future of remote employee engagement.
In the realm of virtual work, these activities aren't just optional add-ons; they're the heartbeats of connection that infuse vitality, creativity, and a renewed sense of belonging into your remote workforce.
Just as a gardener tends to their plants, nurturing their growth, these activities nurture the growth of a robust and united remote team, flourishing even in the virtual expanse.
How do you engage an employee remotely?
Managers must be proactive in finding ways to keep remote employees engaged and connected. In this essay, we will explore effective strategies for engaging remote employees, including communication, recognition, learning and development, socialization, and more.
Let’s discuss how these strategies can help foster a sense of community, build trust, and create a fulfilling work experience for remote employees.
Whether you're a manager or an employee, this essay will provide valuable insights and practical tips for engaging remote employees and promoting a positive work culture. Here are some tips for engaging remote employees:
Regular communication is essential for engaging employees keeping remote employees engaged. Ensure that you have open lines of communication, use video conferencing and collaboration tools to foster better communication and collaboration.
Regular check-ins and team updates aren't just informational; they're the threads that weave the fabric of connection. A well-timed emoji or GIF can add a sprinkle of personality to your digital discussions, making them feel more human.
Set Clear Goals:
Clear, specific goals help enable remote employees to understand what is expected of them and give them a sense of purpose. Make sure that your remote employees have clear goals and expectations. Regularly revisit and adjust these goals based on progress and evolving priorities, providing a roadmap for their success.
Recognition and Rewards:
Recognize and reward employees for their hard work and achievements. Use different methods such as virtual events, digital gift cards, and social media to make employee recognition even more personal.
It's not just about acknowledging their achievements; it's about creating a virtual stage where their efforts take the spotlight. Consider implementing a "shoutout channel" on your team's communication platform to publicly celebrate wins and contributions.
Provide opportunities for remote employees to connect and engage with colleagues through virtual social activities, such as virtual happy hours, coffee chats, or game sessions.
Virtual happy hours, coffee chats that transcend time zones, or friendly game sessions are like digital campfires where bonds are forged and stories are shared. Consider themed virtual events like "Trivia Tuesdays" or "Wellness Wednesdays" to infuse variety and excitement into your remote team's interactions.
Offer remote employees training and development opportunities to enhance their skills and knowledge. This can help keep employees motivated and engaged. And this not only equips them with the tools they need but also demonstrates your investment in their growth.
From webinars to online courses, these opportunities are the stepping stones to mastery and engagement. Encourage remote employees to take ownership of their learning journey by setting personal development goals and discussing their progress during one-on-one virtual meetings.
How to keep remote employees connected?
- Tailored communication: Craft clear and enticing activities. Just like a teaser for an upcoming blockbuster, create excitement that encourages participation.
- Regular reminders: In the whirlwind of virtual work, reminders can be lifesavers. Send friendly nudges about upcoming events so your remote team has them on their radar.
- Interactive calendars: Create an interactive calendar that showcases all virtual engagement activities. Think of it as your team's activity hub, making it easy for everyone to find what's happening and when.
- Variety is key: Keep the engagement mix diverse. From virtual game nights to wellness challenges, offer something for every taste. It's like crafting a buffet of engagement options.
- Friendly competitions: Add a competitive edge to engagement activities. Whether it's a virtual trivia showdown or a friendly step challenge, a little competition can spark excitement.
- Leader participation: When leaders actively participate, it sets a tone of inclusivity. Imagine the CEO sharing a virtual dance move or showcasing their art skills. It's about breaking down virtual barriers.
- Feedback loop: After each engagement activity, gather feedback. What worked? What could be improved? It's about learning and evolving the virtual engagement playbook.
- Surprise elements: Sprinkle surprises in your virtual engagement strategy. From impromptu contests to surprise guest speakers, these unexpected moments keep the excitement alive.
- Open dialogues: Create virtual spaces where employees can share their thoughts about engagement activities. It's like hosting a virtual suggestion box, but much more interactive.
- Virtual retreats: Organize virtual retreats that combine work and leisure. Imagine brainstorming sessions interwoven with relaxation activities. It's the ultimate blend of productivity and fun.
- Virtual mentorship pairs: Pair up experienced employees with newer team members for virtual mentorship. This builds bridges across different experience levels.
- Continuous evolution: The virtual communication that highlights the upcoming virtual engagement and the engagement journey is dynamic. Keep experimenting, learning, and evolving your strategies based on what resonates with your unique team.
The challenges of virtual employee engagement
While remote work has become increasingly popular, it has also created new challenges for employee engagement. As we may know already, employee engagement during remote does present a battle of wills. Some of these challenges include:
Remote employees may feel disconnected from their colleagues, leading to feelings of isolation and decreased engagement.
Internal communication can be challenging when employees work remotely, particularly if there are different time zones or language barriers.
Lack of face-to-face interaction:
It can be challenging to build trust and rapport without face-to-face interaction, making it harder to engage remote employees.
Technology problems can be a significant issue when working remotely, leading to frustration and decreased engagement.
What are some of the top remote employee engagement trends?
As remote work has become more prevalent, few new trends that has been creating great in remote employee engagement have emerged, including:
Increased Focus on Mental Health:
Employers are recognizing the importance of mental health and offering resources to help remote employees manage stress, anxiety, and depression. Virtual wellness workshops, meditation apps, and access to mental health professionals via telehealth services are becoming integral parts of the remote work toolkit.
By prioritizing mental health, employers are not only fostering a more compassionate work environment but also acknowledging that the well-being of their employees directly impacts productivity and engagement.
Gamification involves using game-like elements to make work more engaging and rewarding. Employers are using gamification to motivate and engage remote employees.
Employers are harnessing the power of gamification to infuse an element of fun and competition into work, motivating remote employees with the thrill of achieving high scores and unlocking digital achievements.
It's a bit like transforming your to-do list into a virtual adventure, where each task conquered brings you closer to becoming the ultimate remote work champion.
Providing remote employees with more flexibility in their schedules, such as allowing them to set their own hours or work from different locations, can help to improve work life balance, engagement and productivity.
It's like giving remote employees the keys to their own productivity kingdom, allowing them to find their optimal rhythm and create a work-life blend that enhances engagement and mental well-being.
Employers recognize the importance of employee well-being, providing resources to promote physical health and wellness for remote employees. From virtual fitness challenges and ergonomic home office tips to online yoga classes and wellness subscriptions, employers are investing in the holistic health of their remote teams.
By providing avenues for employees to prioritize self-care, employers are creating a culture that not only values output but also cares deeply about the people driving that output.
Importance of measuring remote employee engagement
Measuring employee engagement is crucial for any organization that wants to ensure a motivated and productive, engaged workforce. It is a means to measure how connected employees are to their job, colleagues, and the organization as a whole.
There are numerous ways to do this! Some of these include carrying out elaborate employee surveys that give you insight into the org’s employees' state of mind. These employee engagement surveys are an integral and useful tool to be used.
Here are some benefits of measuring remote employee engagement:
Measuring employee engagement can help identify areas where remote employees are disengaged and provide an opportunity to address these issues. remote employees are disengaged and provide an opportunity to address these issues.
These insights aren't just statistics; they're the breadcrumbs that lead to impactful changes. Whether it's enhancing virtual team-building initiatives or refining communication channels, measuring engagement becomes the compass that guides the evolution of remote work culture.
Engaged employees are more productive, so measuring engagement can help improve productivity among remote workers. By assessing engagement levels, employers can pinpoint the precise areas that need a boost.
It's akin to deciphering the cues that will help remote employees tap into their productive potential. The insights from measuring engagement can amplify the productivity symphony from refining remote workflows to providing tailored training opportunities.
Engaged employees are more likely to stay with their current employer, so measuring engagement can help improve employee retention rates among remote workers. Engaged remote employees are like loyal companions on a journey, less likely to jump ship when a new opportunity arises.
By tracking engagement levels, employers gain the foresight to tailor retention strategies. It's about fostering an environment where remote employees don't just work; they thrive, forming a bond with the company that transcends distance.
Measuring engagement can help identify trends in remote work and provide insight into the effectiveness of different engagement strategies. It's like deciphering the virtual language of your remote workforce.
By identifying trends in employee engagement, employers can fine-tune engagement strategies, exploring what works and what needs adjustment. These insights aren't just observations; they're the compass that navigates the ship of remote work toward uncharted territories of success.
Remote work thrives on skill development, and engaged employees are eager learners. By measuring engagement, employers can identify which training programs resonate most with remote employees.
This data-driven approach ensures that learning opportunities align with remote workers' aspirations and needs, cultivating a culture of continuous improvement even from a distance
In the virtual realm, inclusivity isn't just a buzzword; it's a cornerstone of success. Measuring engagement reveals whether all remote employees are actively participating and contributing.
Are quieter voices being heard? Are diverse perspectives being considered? By analyzing engagement metrics, employers can take proactive steps to create a virtual environment where every remote employee feels valued and included.
Refining recognition programs:
Employee recognition is the heartbeat of engagement, even in the virtual world. Measuring engagement offers insights into how well recognition efforts are resonating with remote employees.
Are their accomplishments being acknowledged? Are recognition programs meaningful and timely? By examining engagement metrics, employers can refine their recognition strategies, ensuring that remote employees feel valued and appreciated.
Strengthening virtual team building:
Virtual team building is the glue that holds remote teams together. Measuring engagement can illuminate which team-building activities are most effective in fostering connections.
Are virtual events well-attended? Are team members participating with enthusiasm? By analyzing engagement data, employers can curate team-building experiences that forge stronger bonds among remote team members, cultivating a sense of unity despite the physical distance.
8 Remote employee engagement statistics that you should know
- According to McKinsey, flexible work policies rank as the third most crucial consideration for job seekers.
- The U.S. Census Bureau data shows a threefold increase in the number of individuals working from home between 2019 and 2021.
- As reported by USA Today, the latest Harris Poll survey of 2,063 adults reveals that 40% of Americans express a preference for full-time remote work.
- Gartner warns that compelling employees to return to the on-site environment could lead to employers losing up to 39% of their workforce.
- The Pew Research Center's findings are remarkable – 49% of the recently converted remote workforce in the US finds greater work flexibility enjoyable.
- Buffer's research demonstrates that an overwhelming 97% of employees desire the opportunity to work remotely at least occasionally.
- According to another report from McKinsey, a significant 87% of workers are willing to adopt remote work if provided with the option.
- Upwork projects that the number of Americans working from home will reach 40 million by the year 2026.
25+ Creative remote employee engagement activities that are a must-try!
Here are 25+ creative remote employee engagement ideas and activities you can try in 2023:
1. Water-cooler conversations
Encourage employees to take a break and socialize over a cup of coffee or tea via video conferencing. This can help build relationships and improve team dynamics.
2. Happy hours
Host virtual happy hours to encourage socializing and team building. Consider playing games or organizing team trivia to make it more engaging.
3. Team lunches
Organize virtual for team members' lunches to create a sense of community and promote socialization. Consider encouraging employees to share their favorite recipes or ordering food delivery to make it more interactive.
4. Book clubs
Create a virtual book club to encourage employees to read and discuss books related to their industry or interests. This can help promote continuous learning and development.
5. Game nights
Host virtual game nights to promote team bonding and friendly competition. Consider playing online games or setting up a virtual escape room.
6. Virtual fitness challenges
Encourage employees to participate in virtual fitness challenges, such as step challenges or fitness classes. This can promote physical health and well-being.
7. Online talent shows
Host virtual talent shows to showcase employees' unique talents and foster creativity. Consider having employees vote for their favorite performance to add an element of fun.
8. Web cooking classes
Organize virtual cooking classes to encourage healthy eating and team building. Consider hiring a professional chef or having employees take turns leading the class.
9. Virtual volunteer opportunities
Provide virtual volunteer opportunities to promote social responsibility and community through virtual employee engagement ideas. This can help employees feel more connected to the community and the company's values.
10. Quiz events and competitions
Host virtual trivia competitions to promote team bonding and friendly competition. Consider having employees create their own trivia questions to make it more engaging.
11. Virtual team-building exercises
Conduct virtual team-building exercises to improve communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills. Consider using breakout rooms or virtual whiteboards to facilitate group activities.
12. Web movie screenings
Host virtual movie screenings to encourage relaxation and for team member bonding. Consider letting employees vote on the movie or hosting a themed movie night.
13. Virtual mentorship programs
Create virtual mentorship programs to support employee development and career growth.
14. Virtual recognition programs
Recognize employee achievements through virtual recognition programs, such as employee spotlights or awards.
15. Virtual learning and development opportunities
Provide virtual learning and development opportunities, such as webinars or online courses, to promote professional growth.
16. Virtual charity drives
Virtual charity drives are an excellent way to engage remote employees in social responsibility and community engagement. These drives can involve collecting donations or raising funds for a specific cause, such as supporting a local charity or disaster relief efforts.
17. Virtual town hall meetings
Virtual town hall meetings are an effective way to communicate with remote employees and keep them informed about the company's progress, challenges, and future plans. These meetings can help employees feel connected to the organization and understand their role in achieving the company's goals.
18. Virtual escape room adventures
Challenge remote employees with virtual escape room experiences that require teamwork, problem-solving, and creative thinking to solve puzzles and "escape" within a time limit.
19. Diversity and inclusion workshops
Host virtual workshops focused on diversity and inclusion to promote awareness, understanding, and open discussions about different perspectives and backgrounds.
20. TED talk discussion sessions
Organize virtual discussions around TED Talks or other thought-provoking content to stimulate conversations about innovation, leadership, and personal growth.
21. Virtual art exhibitions
Create a platform for employees to showcase their artistic talents through virtual art exhibitions, fostering creativity and appreciation within the team.
22. Mindfulness and meditation sessions
Offer virtual mindfulness and meditation sessions to help remote employees manage stress, improve focus, and enhance overall well-being.
23. Language exchange sessions
Facilitate language exchange sessions where employees can learn phrases or practice conversational skills in different languages, promoting cultural diversity.
24. DIY home gardening
Offer virtual gardening workshops to help employees cultivate indoor plants, promoting well-being and providing a refreshing break from work.
25. Virtual cooking challenges
Challenge employees to participate in virtual cooking challenges, preparing meals based on a specific theme or ingredient, combining culinary creativity and teamwork.
26. Remote employee spotlights
Highlight individual remote employees through regular spotlights, sharing their unique stories, experiences, and contributions to the team.
27. Expert speaker series
Invite guest speakers from various industries to share insights and expertise through virtual talks, fostering continuous learning and industry knowledge.
Fun employee engagement activities that you can try outdoor
When your remote team comes together, it's not just a meeting; it's a celebration of shared goals and camaraderie.
So, let's dive into some exhilarating employee engagement activities that can make these face-to-face moments truly unforgettable:
- Team-building olympics: Design an Olympics-inspired team-building event where departments compete in friendly games. From tug-of-war to relay races, it's about fostering healthy competition and team bonding.
- Scavenger hunt adventure: Organize an in-person scavenger hunt that leads teams through various landmarks or points of interest. It's like a real-life quest that combines exploration and teamwork.
- Themed costume day: Encourage everyone to dress up according to a fun theme, like "retro day" or "superhero day." It's like a mini costume party that adds a dash of playfulness to the gathering.
- Outdoor picnic extravaganza: Host a picnic at a local park or open area. It's an opportunity for everyone to relax, chat, and enjoy some delicious food together.
- DIY craft stations: Set up creative DIY craft stations where employees can unleash their artistic side. From painting to making personalized keychains, it's about channeling creativity.
- Interactive workshops: Invite guest speakers or experts for hands-on workshops. Think cooking classes, pottery sessions, or even a crash course in improv acting.
- Local charity initiatives: Engage in a local charity initiative as a team. It could be a volunteering opportunity, a community cleanup, or a fundraising event. It's about giving back while bonding.
- Open mic night: Let employees showcase their talents during an open mic night. Whether it's singing, stand-up comedy, or poetry, it's a platform for creative expression.
- Escape room challenge: Experience the thrill of an escape room as a team. Solve puzzles, crack codes, and work together to escape within a set time limit.
- Outdoor adventure day: Plan an outdoor adventure day with activities like hiking, kayaking, or zip-lining. It's an opportunity for team members to conquer challenges together. Depending on your business calendar and your company budget you can arrange a few days trek to the roof of the world for your employee. An unforgettable hike around Everest base camp will help you to bring all your staff together.
- Photo scavenger hunt: Create a photo scavenger hunt with a list of specific objects or locations that teams need to capture in photos. It's a fun way to explore the surroundings.
- Themed movie night: Host an outdoor movie night or indoor screening with a themed movie selection. Think classic films, comedies, or movies related to your industry.
- Team art project: Collaborate on a large art project, like a mural or a collective painting. It's a creative endeavor that symbolizes unity and collaboration.
- Team-building workshops: Engage in team-building workshops that focus on communication, problem-solving, and collaboration. These workshops enhance team dynamics and effectiveness.
- Local cultural exploration: Organize a cultural exploration day where employees visit local museums, historical sites, or cultural landmarks. It's about learning and connecting with the community.
As your remote team occasionally gathers in person, these engaging activities infuse a sense of celebration and unity. Each activity contributes to building stronger bonds and making memories that go beyond the digital realm.
In conclusion, as the world continues to adapt to remote work, it's essential for managers to prioritize employee engagement to maintain productivity and well-being.
Through these 25+ creative remote employee engagement activities, you can foster a sense of community, promote collaboration, and support your remote workforce's personal and professional growth.
Remember, employee engagement is an ongoing process, so don't be afraid to experiment with different activities and approaches to find what works best for your remote team members.
By investing in your remote employees' engagement, you can create a positive and fulfilling employee experience for them, leading to greater success for your organization.
Looking for the right partner to handle your remote employees? Are you struggling to keep your valued employees engaged while they’re working remotely?
Simply schedule a free demo with CultureMonkey and stay on top of the engagement game by establishing a continuous listening mechanism for your remote employees to listen, analyze and act on their employee feedback before it leads to attrition.
What are some effective virtual team-building activities?
There are many creative virtual team-building activities to try, such as online trivia games, virtual escape rooms, and online cooking classes. The key is to find activities that foster teamwork, communication, and fun while also accommodating remote work.
How can I measure the success of virtual employee engagement activities?
There are several metrics you can use to measure the success of virtual employee engagement activities, such as participation rates, employee survey feedback, and employee retention rates. It's important to set clear goals and objectives before implementing these activities and regularly assess their impact on employee engagement and satisfaction.
What are some common challenges with virtual employee engagement?
Some common challenges with virtual employee engagement include difficulty with communication and collaboration, lack of social interaction, and difficulty maintaining work-life balance. Employers can address these challenges by providing regular communication channels, encouraging socialization, and offering flexible work arrangements.
How can employers support remote employees' mental health and well-being?
Employers can support remote employees' and office workers' mental health and well-being by offering virtual mental health resources, encouraging breaks and self-care, and providing support for managing stress and burnout. It's important for employers to prioritize employees' overall well-being, especially during times of increased remote work.
How do virtual employee engagement activities compare to in-person activities?
Virtual employee engagement activities have their own unique benefits and challenges compared to in-person activities. While they may not offer the same level of face-to-face interaction, virtual activities can be more accessible and flexible for remote workers. Additionally, virtual activities can provide opportunities for global team building and collaboration.