Whether the office is virtual or a brick-and-mortar IRL setting — the work family that plays together, stays together.

For years, we’ve seen tectonic shifts with a rapidly evolving workplace, cutting commutes down to our home offices and kitchen tables. Employees working from home enjoy more time with their families (and pets), greater flexibility, and plenty of other perks. But despite the many advantages, some companies have experienced pitfalls — and this was even before Coronavirus spun the working world off its axis. So what are these concerns, and how can you look out for them to ensure maximum productivity, connectivity, and contentment among employees?

The arrival of COVID-19 and the necessity of social distancing (sometimes while juggling home-schooling and other WFH distractions as well) has brought on an entirely new set of challenges to the remote workforce this year. High on that list, from a manager’s perspective: keeping teams fully engaged and satisfied without the benefit of in-person interactions.

Connectivity Isn’t Just for Technologies

Working remotely can be liberating, but it may be lonely for some as well. This is particularly true nowadays when it’s harder for staff to maintain their own social routine outside the office — and for employees who are unaccustomed to operating outside of a traditional office environment.

After all, some might say, “Aren’t we better together than apart?” But if the quarantine has taught us anything, it’s that we can easily get together virtually, even if separated by a physical distance.

Boost Employee Engagement, Boost Your Business

Studies show engagement is an integral business focus, significantly impacting productivity, satisfaction, and employee retention. According to Gallup, businesses with high engagement benefit from:

  • 21% greater profitability
  • 17% greater productivity
  • 41% less absenteeism
  • 59% less turnover

The downsides of getting it wrong are also clear: disengaged employees cost U.S. companies up to $550 billion a year.

That’s the kind of loss you clearly want to avoid. Ensure key priorities and workflows are upheld while adapting to these new rules of engagement with these all-important tips:

1. Being Social Doesn’t Just Have To Be For Social Media

People like to be seen, not just heard over phones and emails. So go ahead, initiate video conferences as well as one-on-one check-ins with employees and colleagues through Sococo’s streamlined, secure integrations (and avoid the clunkiness of needing multiple video links offered by other channels).

A recent report highlighted the significance of check-ins and peer feedback, with 89% of HR leaders agreeing that these are critical for success. Salesforce published similar findings showing that employees who feel their voices are heard are 4.6x more empowered to perform their best work.

“Employees will tell you what they need to be engaged if you listen to them,” adds Executive Wellness Coach and Consultant Naz Behesti in an article written for Forbes.

2. To Be Interesting, Be Interested

When businesses and their senior leadership support well-being initiatives, employees (and the overall business) thrive. According to the American Psychological Association, only 17% of workers recommend companies that are unsupportive to their needs. Unsurprisingly, that leads to high turnover and an unstable workforce.

Find ways to show you care about those working to promote and advance your own corporate goals. Perhaps you can offer flexible PTO or even a small fitness stipend to replace the in-office gym. It’s an extra bonus that can go a long way and pay dividends with greater employee retention.

3. Bring the Water Cooler Talk Online, No Water Cooler Necessary

It may be “goodbye” (or “till we meet again”) to the cubicle, but the water cooler doesn’t have to go. At least not the water cooler talk.

There are many techniques that managers can use to bring this sense of spontaneous collaboration and small-talk to a distributed team. With Sococo, you can appoint a virtual space for the “Water Cooler Room” and encourage moments where the office can take breaks and catch up.

A little downtime connecting with a colleague is time well spent.

4. Get Your Game On

It’s just like Julie Andrews and her alter ego Mary Poppins taught us when we were kids: “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and… snap! The job’s a game.”
Nothing brings a team closer than some healthy, fun competition — but gamification isn’t only about fun and games. It’s actually a serious business (and not just because it’s one of the most buzzworthy trends in the online office and schooling communities)
By adding game-playing elements into non-game environments (i.e., awarding points and badges), game-based performance management can help standardize evaluations. This helps enhance promotional opportunities, and identify rising stars and leaders. Employees receive constant updates, rankings and badges that quickly garner the attention of both colleagues and supervisors alike.
As author Nir Eyal explains, “Rather than just motivating the disengaged, gamification provides tools for motivated workers to contribute and be recognized.

Remote Employee Engagement Isn’t a Pipe Dream

Remote team-building does have its own unique challenges accompanying the many rewards. No matter where your teammates and employees are located, though, rest assured you can seamlessly bring them together to connect and engage with the right practices, and the tools that enable them.

Learn more about building your own Sococo online office with a Free Trial. It’s a game well worth playing.