Eight Creative Ideas to Keep a Remote Workforce Engaged

With many companies working from home, managers may be looking for creative ways to keep their employees engaged. While virtual meetings are a great way to foster effective communication, the ideas listed below can help your team go beyond the physical barriers of remote work and successfully connect in a virtual environment.

1. Groups and Clubs

Creating informal or formal groups such as a book club, toastmasters’ club or various employee resource groups (ERGs) is a great way to keep employees connected while working remote. If you aren’t sure where to start, consider asking your employees for areas of interest. These groups can virtually meet monthly or quarterly and can be run by employee volunteers who would like to have more involvement in the organization. These outlets are an excellent opportunity for employees to meet others in the company that share similar interests and connect on matters outside of work.

2. Icebreakers

It is likely that your company and teams are having frequent virtual meetings and while it may be tempting to jump right into work discussions, consider kicking off the meeting with a quick icebreaker. This can be as simple as asking a general question to the group or, if time permits, spending more time on interactive games and tasks such as “two truths and a lie,” one-word recap to describe the week or sharing highlights from the previous month. Can you go one step further and connect the icebreaker back to your company’s mission or core values? This is a great way to get employees talking and engaged before getting into the meeting agenda.

3. Employee Recognition Email Thread or Group

While remote work may pose a challenge to in-person celebrations, it is still important to recognize the wins of your employees. Consider starting an employee email thread or chat group where managers and colleagues can chime in when an employee attains an achievement or reaches a notable milestone. This is an excellent way to bring positivity to your team while also acknowledging the hard work of your employees.

4. “Lunch and Learn” Sessions

“Lunch and Learn” events are a great way to engage employees while also providing them with valuable information. This can mean bringing in an outside expert to discuss relevant topics with your team or an internal employee who can elaborate on a significant task or skill that may provide value to their colleagues. Scheduling these monthly or quarterly basis can give your employees something to look forward to and can be a fun way to encourage professional development and skill advancement to your team.

5. Competitions

A little friendly competition between coworkers is a light-hearted way to get team members engaged. Some ideas include a step competition, best Halloween costume contest or a virtual scavenger hunt. Competitions like these are an entertaining way to give your employees a common goal and get them involved beyond virtual meetings.

6. Group Happy Hour or Coffee Break

Do you have some time during your workweek to dedicate to a coffee break or team happy hour? Committing some time to connect with coworkers and discuss items outside of work is important to do when working remote. Since it is not as easy to drop by and catch up with a coworker, scheduling these breaks is an excellent way to keep those relationships strong.

7. Office Trivia

How well do your employees know each other and the company? Hosting office trivia is a unique way to test your coworker’s knowledge about each other while also helping them learn more about their colleagues. Consider reaching out to your team ahead of time to collect some fun facts and hidden talents. While this may take some pre-planning, utilizing Kahoot or other online quizzing platforms is an interactive way to run the virtual event.

8. Surveys or Virtual Suggestion Box

A great way to get feedback and sentiment from employees is through surveys or a virtual suggestion box. Employees can be encouraged to submit different ideas every week or just any general feedback they have. Providing a place where your employees can express their opinions is just as useful in a remote environment as it is in a physical work atmosphere.