With the vast majority of companies now working from home, many of us are going through a complete routine change. It’s increasingly important while remote working to keep employees engaged with each other and to keep the team spirit and company culture alive while at home. During periods of remote working it can be difficult to motivate staff the same way you would in the office, so we have put together some of our top tips and tricks for employee engagement.
Team management software
Team management software is an amazing way to keep the team clued in on their own tasks along with what is going on with the team as a whole. Even for small teams, where you may feel this kind of software is unnecessary when in the office, it’s an invaluable tool during periods of remote working.
Depending on the size of your team and budget, we highly recommend Microsoft Teams, Trello, and Monday.com.
- Microsoft Teams combines a group instant chat function, Skype for Business and project management tools, and allows up to 300 maximum users, so this is particularly useful for large companies. This is an easy way for all employees to easily and quickly get in contact with colleagues and managers, and see when they are in meetings or unavailable. Teams also integrates with all the rest of Microsoft Office.
- Trello offers boards, lists and cards formats for all of your project management needs. This software focuses on general task management and has an accessible design, meaning its ideal for business that are taking their first steps into project management software. Trello can also be integrated with Google Drive, Slack and is available as an app.
- Monday.com is popular for its colourful design and intuitive interface, making it particularly useful for creative businesses. This is a project management tool that uses colour coordinated boards to manage tasks. Plans are available increments of 5 users, but is also available for up to 200+ users.
Checking in with your team regularly is a great way to keep remote working feeling as similar to the office as possible. Face to face communication is really important – getting the team on a video call if possible, rather than a phone call, is the best way to communicate and create a sense of normalcy while the team is separated.
We recommend scheduling in a catch-up video conference at the beginning of the workday and one near the end of the day. You can use your morning catch up call to find out everyone’s tasks for the day, and check up on progress at the end of the day. The morning and afternoon calls will also add some much needed structure when working from home.
For video conferencing, we recommend using Skype for Business, Google Hangouts or Zoom.
- Skype for Business is easy to set up and definitely a cost-effective way to video conference. Skype is integrated with Microsoft, so smoothly operates with the rest of Office, and is intuitive to use.
- Google Hangouts is built into Google+ and Gmail, and also is highly recommended for large teams. Like Skype, the service is completely free and very easy to set up and can be ran on either desktop or as a mobile app.
- Zoom is potentially more sophisticated than other video conferencing services, letting participants collaborate together on a virtual whiteboard. This is a paid for service, but the pricing is definitely affordable, and users state that there is no buffering or cutting out with the service.
While your workers are remote, it’s even more important to celebrate successes. Whether this be on your video calls or over email, make sure to recognise remote workers for their contributions, and discuss all achievements, no matter how small. We recommend doing this in a way that is visible to other team members, so every one remains in the loop aware that their own successes will be rewarded.
Potential rewards could be through vouchers, an early finish or late start, or of course some encouraging words!
With the current climate, we have heard some amazing stories of how teams are staying engaged at home. Not every communication with your remote employees/colleagues needs to be work-focused. One key part of the workday which is lost working at home is ‘water cooler chat’, or the random conversations you have in the office while you’re working.
Some ideas for fun ways to keep your team engaged:
- Team lunches over video conference where you can discuss non-work-related topics
- Friday afternoon drinks over video conference where you can discuss the week’s achievements
- Team newsletters – at ecruit we do this weekly, including team news, tv recommendations and random weekly topics
- Sharing non-work-related content – if you see a funny meme or news story, why not share it with the team? It can keep everyone involved and provide some relief to work stresses
We hope we’ve given you some useful tips on how to keep employee engagement up while we are all remote working. We’d love to hear from you – please leave us a comment telling us the most creative way you are keeping your teams motivated and involved!