54 Virtual Employee Engagement Activities For Employees
Most businesses worldwide have chosen to embrace the work-from-home lifestyle. This opens up a critical discussion about keeping remote workers engaged.
Engagement in a remote setup is slightly intimidating. However, it is still possible with an excellent internal communications team and a long list of virtual engagement ideas, so you always have strategies.
As a champion of Employee Engagement, I have created exceptional engagement strategies for numerous corporates through webinars and gifting. To that end, below are 50+ unique virtual employee engagement ideas that will blow your minds.
In this article, you will learn:
- What is employee engagement?
- Why employee engagement it is important
- Top employee engagement activities for remote workers
- How OffiNeeds can help you Improving engagement level
What is Employee Engagement?
Employee engagement is employees’ emotional connection and commitment toward their organization, managers, team, and job responsibilities. Highly engaged and passionate employees give their job the best they can, which leads to successful business outcomes.
Why Is Employee Engagement Important?
Employee engagement can be described as a commitment from employees towards their managers and their job to contribute to the success of the business. Passionate employees give their job the best they can, which leads to successful business outcomes.
The simplest way to begin employee engagement is by ensuring clear communication. If leadership and management facilitate open communication channels, it helps create strong bonds with and among your employees. Apart from keeping them engaged, it also increases employees’ productivity.
Let us now look at what else you can do to make your employees be their best at work:
Employee Engagement Ideas For Remote Workers
Here are 50+ time-tested engagement strategies for virtual teams that skyrocket employee engagement.
Try them alongside effective internal communication and corporate gifting for the best results.
Let’s get started.
1. Holiday celebrations
This is a great way to unwind from all the stress and cheer your team up. An excellent tip to celebrate festivals like Christmas is hosting a secret Santa event. The gifts don’t even have to be expensive. As long as they are useful and your team can use them on a daily basis, they’ll serve the purpose.
Festivities bring together people despite the work roles they play, the teams they work for, their faiths, and customs. And thus, festivals are great for connecting, understanding them better, and appreciating the differences everybody brings to the table.
If you can host celebrations in-house, you have the perfect setup. But if not, don’t worry. There are several vendors to help plan and execute your virtual festivities.
2. Home tours
This may be a great way to break the ice and build bonds with your employees. Here, you can ask employees to give everyone a virtual tour around their house and perhaps, introduce them to their pets too.
3. One-on-one video calls
Private calls with the founders of the company are a great way to make your employees feel heard. This is a good time to ask them for their opinions and their feedback.
4. Online training
Social distancing is stressful for everyone and some employees might lose sight of their path. Providing online training and walking them through the WFH process is a fantastic way to keep them engaged.
Give your employees opportunities to share knowledge and enhance presentation skills through internal training.
It can be a safe platform to practice their skills and a place of knowledge exchange that everybody looks forward to.
5. Remote Onboarding
An excellent and smooth-flowing remote onboarding is key to creating the first impression. Welcome your new hires with exciting, practical gifts to get them pumped for their journey with your company.
In addition to the long list of mandated onboarding tasks, genuine communication and engagement from the leadership can be a game-changer. So, invite your CEO/Founder to address the new hires in their induction program.
6. Office games online
This is a fun activity that can be scheduled during the end of the workweek. Here, everyone plays office games in the form of trivia and funny challenges. This may be hilarious, but it will boost their morale.
To beat the mundane, gather your team for virtual games like BINGO or sign up with organizers for a thrilling escape room event.
In an escape room challenge, participants work together to solve riddles and puzzles, offering a fantastic team-bonding experience.
7. Give them recognition
Is there something that an employee did exceptionally well? Give them the recognition and praise they deserve. Failing to do so might make them feel that you only care about the revenue and not them.
As humans, we seek validation, like appreciation for a job well done and recognition for our efforts. Recognizing a job well done directly results in increased productivity and profits for your business.
Virtual recognitions can happen through social media spotlights, festival celebrations, corporate gifting, and simple words of appreciation involving no monetary benefits.
8. Allow them to choose their own schedules
Emphasizing a work-life balance is crucial to the success of the organization. As long as the team gets their job for the day done, allow them to choose their own working hours.
9. Provide incentives
Healthy competition is always worth rewarding. Provide employees who complete their goals within a certain time some incentives to give them recognition.
10. Let your employees host meetings
As a manager, your team probably hears you talking a lot. Give them a chance to host meetings as well.
11. Encourage healthy habits
WFH lifestyle is stressful for many. Encourage healthy habits by asking them to do simple things. It could be about making the bed or even getting a 10-minute walk every day.
12. Slack channel for #small-wins
Here, we celebrate the small little wins that your employee may be proud of, which might otherwise go unnoticed.
13. Brown bag virtual lunches
Brown bag lunches are standard in an office where team members gather around a table for lunch and learning.
You can recreate this for a virtual setup by inviting executives and those in leadership positions to share their journey and growth. This can be an informal way of learning about leadership and decision-making that can benefit everyone in the long run.
14. Company yearbook
This is one of the top employee engagement activities in Indian companies. This can include photos of the team at work, or, at activities organized throughout the year.
15. Paid days off
Did your team achieve the monthly target earlier than expected? Celebrate it by giving them a few paid days off. Time off work with their family and friends will help them rejuvenate and keep them motivated for the next work month.
16. Fitness challenges
Run a fitness challenge as simple as steps walked or kilometers biked and see the engagement employees show you.
When fitness involves challenges, it boosts participation and brings together like-minded people creating a sense of belonging– the element you’ve been looking for.
17. Virtual volunteering
Worried that your Corporate Social Responsibility quotient would take a hit as your team works remotely? No worries.
With a CSR partner, running virtual CSR is much easier and more effective for teams that are scattered all around the world.
18. Host celebrations for work anniversaries
A quick post recognizing the tenure of your employees goes a long way. It could be as simple as “Happy 3 year work anniversary, Teddy!” to make them feel heard.
19. TEDx style talks
This could be a monthly activity where you schedule talks where the employees talk about things they are passionate about. Making them feel heard is crucial to the organization’s success.
20. Host virtual birthday parties for the team
Office work environments usually call for a lot of cake, singing and restaurant food. While the same cannot be done in a WFH environment, the team can get together and sing the birthday person a happy birthday song. Perhaps, you can even send them a food delivery.
21. Bonus money
It is a great idea to occasionally distribute bonus money in the form of cash or a gift card when the company hits a major milestone. This way, employees will feel appreciated and engaged.
22. Icebreaker Q&A’s
Among other employee engagement ideas is asking questions to break the ice before a meeting. This is useful especially when there are new hires onboard.
23. Online escape room events
Escape rooms are a popular group activity all around the world. You may now enjoy entertaining and difficult virtual escape rooms while working from home. Remote employees will benefit from these online escape rooms since they encourage problem solving and cooperation.
24. Virtual town hall
What if you can’t do an in-person town hall? You can always leverage the power of technology to host virtual town halls.
Virtual town halls are wonderful opportunities to announce awards and recognitions, make company-wide announcements, shower appreciation, and celebrate birthdays and work anniversaries. These are all keys to good engagement.
25. Trivia Nights
Gather for an enjoyable virtual quiz time in cozy sweaters and a cup of hot chocolate.
To add some fun and make the night memorable, your questions can be exciting but unimportant around your own company, your leadership team, etc..
26. Coffee Chats
Encourage employees to find buddies from other teams for virtual coffee chats to help connect with individuals beyond their teams.
If you have the bandwidth, you can run this initiative by collating names and tagging people to enjoy coffee and conversations virtually.
27. Buddy Program
Similar to a mentorship program, in a buddy program, simply tag a new hire with an employee in the team who is willing to spare some time.
Ideally, the new hire will receive all the help and support needed to get used to the system and processes in place at the new company through his buddy. It’s a terrific engagement strategy, especially for new hires.
28. Book Reading Club
People connect over shared interests.
A simple initiative like a Book Reading club can bring voracious readers together to read and discuss thoughts and takeaways from books.
29. Employee Resource Groups
ERGs help strengthen connections and provide a place to socialize. It’s where they feel confident to be their authentic selves, so it helps increase job satisfaction and happiness at work.
Examples of ERGs are Women’s Group, Young Professionals (under 30), Veterans Group, and Volunteering Group
30. No meeting Fridays
Give a break from meetings and create some room for fresh breath.
Let your employees catch up on their pending work, upskill, or take a break from work on a “no meeting Friday.” This helps clear the mind, refresh and strengthen, helping your business achieve better results.
31. Mid-year Review
Mid-year reviews help check in with your employees, so they don’t feel lost. The purpose is to offer positive feedback around areas they’re doing well and constructive feedback in areas that need improvement.
This will help gauge their performance and work accordingly to help put a better show for the year-end review. The review will also create a safer environment for employees to try and fail but, most importantly, learn and grow.
32. Allow your employees to ditch a task
There might be tasks your employees are dreading to complete. Give them a breather and allow them to ditch it, or keep it for another day.
Offer paid time off for your employees according to industry standards and unlimited PTO if possible.
Your hardworking employees deserve some time off to pursue things of interest, spend time with family, travel around or simply take care of an ailing parent. Support their needs by giving them liberal PTO.
33. Food delivery coupons
Are you throwing a surprise virtual party or a trivia night? Then, top it up with food delivery coupons for winners of the games/quiz.
Food is the easiest route to someone’s heart. So send your employees their favorite food coupons redeemable online for some sumptuous dinner.
34. No emails for a day
Banning emails for a day is a good way to increase face-to-face interaction which will create employee engagement.
35. Show them that you care
There could be many reasons why an employee might not be feeling good about working today. Perhaps, it is a task or it could be their chair. Is it time to replace their chair? See how you can help.
36. Pause before you begin
Before you hand out a task, think about why you are beginning it and what you aim to achieve from it. Having a clear idea of the goal and discussing it with your team is a good employee engagement idea.
37. Allow peer-to-peer feedback
Feedback may not always be between a manager and their employee. Allowing employees to give each other feedback tends to be very insightful for everyone including the manager. This helps everyone learn new things and promotes employee engagement.
Learning to give and receive feedback for mutual growth is essential to creating a positive work environment.
Encourage peer-to-peer feedback, so reportees and managers both have roles to play in each other’s growth. This way, everybody’s voice feels heard and important, thus strengthening the culture.
Some Bonus Work From Home Employee Engagement Ideas
Give the gift of choice with gift vouchers. When you’re pressed for time or don’t have the bandwidth to run a brand store for merchandise, you can always choose to give gift cards.
To make things much easier, you can now purchase gift cards online and send them to your recipients in 30 mins– perfect for last-minute gifting.
Also, Gifts are simple and impressive ways to tell your employees that you care about them, see them work hard, and value their contribution to the growth of the business.
Work anniversaries, birthdays, new hires, and festivals are best celebrated with gifts. To execute the seemingly daunting corporate gifting, you can partner with gift partners who do all the heavy lifting.
39. Invite them to multiplayer game sessions
If your employees are fond of video games, give them a break from their tasks and allow them to unwind by inviting them to multiplayer game sessions.
40. Home office accessories
A comfortable workspace decides productivity to a great extent. You want your employees to refrain from complaining of aches and discomfort because of a lack of office accessories.
Thoughtful accessories can show your genuine care for their well-being. So send them, or better yet, let them choose the most needed accessories to round off their perfect workspace at home. It could be a footrest, wireless keyboard, mouse, or a humble lumbar support pillow.
41. Yoga or wellness
If reimbursing gym membership is trending, but you want to do something more profound, tie up with a local yoga instructor to run online yoga sessions for your remote team members.
Doing this gets to the heart of well-being and the care of your employees. To benefit your employees, you can also run wellness and nutrition webinars through external coaches.
42. Virtual water cooler
Water coolers are some of the nicest spots for quick exchanges and office gossip. Of course, your remote workers hardly connect over trivial topics like this. But give them opportunities through a virtual water cooler.
You can host this in communication platforms like Teams or Slack. Simply start a conversation and see the stories flowing.
43. Employee surveys
When you focus on engaging your employees to the extent of carefully curating and implementing strategies, it might be counterintuitive if you don’t ask them what they’d like and don’t need.
Asking your employees for suggestions and activities and, more importantly, running employee surveys help understand the pulse of your team. But, it is more than just running the survey; it ensures you also announce the results and action plan. This way, you complete the survey cycle, and people know you’ve taken their feedback seriously.
44. Upskilling workshops
Set aside enough budget for training and development as everybody wants to be in a place with scope for constant growth and improvement.
Conduct upskilling workshops for the entire team on niche skills or simply reimburse courses they pursue. But make this an essential strategy in your engagement plan.
Run easy-to-put-together contests to kindle the spirit of friendly competition.
Run a costume contest for a Navratri celebration, or have them submit patriotic poems for Independence Day. These activities help them try new things outside work, have fun, and feel great about the work culture.
Ensure you give goodies to winners who’ve taken an interest and poured in their time and effort.
46. Themed Days
Also called “Spirit Days,” encourage your team to come dressed (virtually) based on your chosen themes.
For Super Hero Day, ask your team to dress up as superheroes for virtual meetings and see the scope for small talks that build relationships. They cost nothing but add up as a fun engagement activity.
47. Gift your employees workstations
If your organizations’ budget allows you to do so, gift them workstations so that they can be comfortable while working. This will show them that you care about their well-being and will promote employee engagement.
48. Make a roadmap for your employee’s goals
It is a good idea to create a road map of the professional goals of your employees, related to their job. This will not only promote employee engagement but also motivate them to do better.
49. Initiate a learning club
Asking your employees to think of the bigger picture by reading books or watching videos related to their job will promote employee engagement. Once in a while, create conference rooms where they learn about what they have learnt and how it implicates the business.
50. Launch a monthly newsletter
Instead of having the HR or the founders sending it, allow employees to take the initiatives to send newsletters on a monthly basis. It could include general news of the company, achievements among other things.
51. Career Path
Developing and fostering a continuous learning and growth culture is key to attracting and retaining talent.
From the very beginning, offer visibility into the career progression of their positions, and give them ample opportunities to upskill, contribute and climb up the career ladder. In addition, have a mentorship program to help employees seeking career advice.
52. Encourage emojis
Encourage an emoji culture as it is not possible to convey emotions via text. Calls are not possible every time either. Emojis make conversations light-hearted and entertaining.
53. Community garden
People generally like to be surrounded by nature. As a manager, you can convince your employees to grow a little plant. This is useful in promoting employee engagement as they will have other goals apart from their work and personal life too.
54. Work-from-home setup
Since remote working saves big bucks for you, why not create some budget for your employees’ WFH setup?
Taking care of their needs, like good WFH furniture, sends a message that their well-being and health matter to you. Employees who sense your genuine interest tend to remain loyal to you by growing with you.
How OffiNeeds helps Improve Employee Engagement
People are the center of any business and undoubtedly the most critical asset. It can be a deal-breaker to lose them.
So, we offer a magic bullet to concerns around retention and engagement through corporate gifting. From nearly two decades of experience in the corporate gifting industry, we’ve realized that gifts can create a positive emotional experience and bring forth a sense of connection.
Our corporate guts and custom swags help boost employee morale, improve engagement, and build a strong and positive work culture that is people-centric from Day 1.
For questions regarding planning and budgeting your corporate gifting campaign, contact our experts and get free consultation.
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FAQS About Engaging Virtual Employees
1. How to connect better with virtual employees?
There are various ways to go about this. The most simple way is to make your employees feel heard. Invest time and money in team-building activities to strengthen the team’s bond. Verbal and monetary praise is also appreciated.
2. How to keep virtual employees motivated?
Scheduling time for employee events and games are a great way to keep them motivated. Ask them what they are passionate about. It could be gaming or singing. Allow them to speak their hearts out.
3. How to measure employee engagement in our organization?
If your employees are engaged and are happy at their job, you will see it in the form of increased productivity and achievement of monthly targets
4. How do I make employees engaged virtually?
You can make employees engaged virtually through proper strategy for communication across channels. Internal communication teams are critical in this aspect. They plan content, strategize and disperse announcements through different channels for better reach. You can also try incentivizing through a points and a reward system.
5. What activities increase employee engagement?
Activities that are fun, light-hearted, beneficial, worth the time, and rewarding usually attract more participants and increase engagement.
I am Srikanth Acharya, CEO at TheHomeOffice.in & OffiNeeds.com. TheHomeOffice helps professionals work more efficiently from their homes and at Offineeds, we help companies create #BrandAmbassadors through #CorporateGifts.