5 Creative Ideas to Engage Your Teams Remotely

HR Manager Kate Fogg’s top 5 tips to connect with your staff, even when working remotely.

By Matt Taylor, June 8, 2021

By Kate Fogg

July 29, 2021

In these strange and changing circumstances that we all find ourselves in, something that’s massively important to us is to make sure that we keep connected with our people and our teams engaged in the business. We recognise that keeping in touch and remaining strong as a team helps us to grow as a business and work together better.

It’s interesting when we’re talking to people that the meaning of ‘connection’ differs to each individual – there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. From single people living on their own, to homeschooling parents, and couples working in kitchens, dining rooms and bedrooms… these very different circumstances mean it’s important to recognise, right at the outset, that connection will mean something different to everybody. That is why we as employers must try to find a way of ensuring that we have some sort of program, to try to provide what each person needs to stay connected and engaged.

We’ve tried a lot of things here at Welcomm throughout the pandemic to keep everybody connected, and whilst not everything has worked or remains in place, today I want to share my top five tips that have been successful at our organisation – that we continue to do to this day.

If your business is looking for instant advice to help engage your teams, use the links below to quickly navigate through the video.

Microsoft Sharepoint Collaboration Guru

Send your people surprises in the post.

Tip No. 1

Sending surprise goodies to your people occasionally causes a sense of excitement! As something arrives through the post, it helps your people realise that you’re thinking of them and that they are important to you. 

From a commercial point of view, this doesn’t need to be a huge and costly exercise… it’s just popping something in the post! However, something that we’ve done quite regularly, the feedback has been really positive – our team tell us that it makes their day.

A great reason to do this is to celebrate cultural events throughout the year! For example, we sent everybody pancake mix and our FD did pancake flipping live on Microsoft Teams during Shrove Tuesday. A great way for us all to meet for breakfast, all from the safety of our own homes. So get creative!

Microsoft Teams Wellbeing Co-Ordinator

Call your people, just to check in.

Tip No. 2

Throughout periods of lockdown, as a HR team we tried to ensure that everybody got at least one ‘check-in’ call a week – just to have a chat and see how people were getting on. A chance to talk through workload challenges, any health issues, or just an opportunity to ask someone how they are feeling (including about their own mental health) remains for some, a real outlet.

Not a HR responsibility alone, our management team took up the mantle by conducting weekly team calls and messaging their teams every day, regardless of where they were working. To me that is critical because people deserve to hear a hello every day. So ensure you say hello every morning, no matter whether that’s face-to-face, over email or via chat… that constant connection with people is hugely important and helps people remain engaged within their teams.

Microsoft Bookings Appointment Wizard

Give people the chance to join or run team activities.

Tip No. 3

We put on activities throughout the week for people to join as they want to. Now these don’t have to take a lot of time to organise… for example, we put on an ‘activity at three’ on a Friday afternoon, where our people can come and join for a cup of tea on Horizon Collaborate. Sometimes we play pictionary online or share a fun fact about each other. This is a great opportunity for people to join for a break, and connect with people outside of their own teams. 

Particularly important for our new starters, as part of our onboarding process, we organise a ‘welcome to Welcomm’ coffee afternoon on Microsoft Teams to get everybody together and introduce ourselves!

Alongside this, our marketing team also include team news and activity photos in our bi-weekly internal newsletter. Communicating in all of these different ways helps to ensure there’s something for everyone, as we understand that each person is different.

Power Automate Automation Genius

Prioritise the health of your people.

Tip no. 4

Whilst this seems a bit of an odd one to talk about in terms of connecting with, and keeping your workforce engaged, making sure that your people are well looked after and stay in work remotely has been a big priority for us. 

Throughout COVID, people haven’t been able to get out to see the doctor as easily. Whilst it’s been great talking to people about how they’re feeling, I’m no health expert… Being able to direct them to their Simply Health plan, where they can phone up and get hold of a GP 24/7 has been a really helpful resource. 

Simply Health will ring them back within the hour and prescriptions can be shipped out, so that particular benefit (that we already had in place within the business), has really come to the forefront. We’ve seen that this has helped reduce absences from work, as well as signpost people to any additional services they may need, including counselling.

Microsoft Forms Customer Engagement Specialist

It doesn’t have to be a lot, but show that you care.

Tip no. 5

Overall, if you take one thing from my tips today, I would say… tell and show your people that you care about them, and that they’re making a difference. If like us, your staff are the ‘be all and end all’ of your business, and you rely on them to look after your customers, it is really important to demonstrate to your people that they matter.

Whether you give someone a shout out in a team meeting, write a recommendation on LinkedIn, invite them for a Friday night beer on Microsoft Teams, or just send someone a hand written note thanking them for their hard work… the little things matter and sometimes, can even make the greatest impact.

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