Best Remote Employee Engagement Activities For Virtual Teams in 2021

With the world of traditional, 9-to-5 work slipping away and working from home becoming the norm, the importance of remote employee engagement is growing.


When in the office, on a not so happening workday, it was an easy task to pop your head over to the next cabin and go, “Hey, great job on that report!” or casually start a conversation with a colleague over coffee to discuss an idea or project. However, 2020 caused a massive shift in the way companies operate.

Small businesses and established companies are pushing to create a virtual workplace culture for their remote teams that can mirror these interactions, to varying degrees of success while ensuring a work-life balance. This will not just improve their remote team‘s morale but reflect the company culture

Besides dealing with operational issues, managers and team leads are in dire need of developing creative employee engagement ideas for remote workers to keep them engaged and improve their employee experience.

The Power of Remote employee engagement

When employees care about their jobs—when they are engaged—they work harder and are more likely to view business goals as a shared objective.

Moreover, this emotional bond means engaged employees don’t operate just for a paycheck or just for the next raise but work on behalf of their company’s goals.

Did you know?

According to the Hubspot study done in 2021 on remote employee engagement activities, about 69% of employees say they’d increase their hard work if they were given due appreciation.

If you are looking for some employee engagement activities for your remote workforce, you’ve come to the right place! Here are some engaging ways to help your remote support agents have a smooth transition and motivation.

What are some team-building activities that you can do to engage remote employees?

If you aspire to stay on top of your game and conquer the “war for talent” amidst the pandemic, in other words, you’ll need to develop a robust employee engagement strategy.

So, what are some of the virtual team-building activities managers can undertake to make employees feel like they are still a part of the company while working from their home office?

1. Define goals for remote workers

Working from home means that there is a chance for remote agents to feel they lack the visibility and goals they had when working in person. However, transparent communication, setting clear remote work expectations, and holding teams accountable by measuring those expectations against KPIs – like After Call Work (ACW) and Average Handle Time (AHT) – are key to maintaining agent productivity. These metrics will coherently boost your employee engagement.

2. Improve internal communications and collaboration strategy

Remote team members should have the right platforms or technology to enable seamless interactions within their own team, across other teams in the company, and clients as well.  Incorporating collaboration tools like Slack or zoom for video calls and video conferencing can make virtual meetings drastically easier and ensure that no one faces the challenge of working from home alone.

To ensure the face-to-face catch ups aren’t missed,  schedule time for daily virtual catchups and remove distance as a barrier between team members. Also, by using effective project management software, they will have the power to plan visually, control, and schedule their projects.

3. Entertain virtual coffee breaks

While it’s essential to be professional with your team, keep in mind that your employees are still human and will be subjected to burnout. Every team benefits from non-work-related interactions – they help establish relationships, build trust, and promote personal wellness.

Spark an off-topic conversation or two during team meetings. If it’s your regular team meeting, ask your team about their weekend and show interest in their personal wins.  As a team lead or manager, you need to schedule regular check-ins to understand their strengths, flaws, and concerns to better connect with them.

Conduct fun activities between your team members. It can be as simple as trivia nights or happy hours during work. Organize polls with icebreaker questions, play virtual games like Pictionary, murder mystery and scavenger hunt, etc with your remote teams.

4. Promote Online Knowledge sharing

Boost the confidence and morale of your remote agents by hosting regular training sessions. Ensure you invest in the most effective e-Learning Management software. Setting up a centralized repository can eliminate the distance and time barriers and help employees learn at their own pace.

Allow offline access to the training materials so that if an employee cannot attend the live session, they can quickly check out the content and use it later. This will also make onboarding easier for newly joined team members who might be working at different time zones

Upskill remote agents by tracking their activities real-time and providing feedback or help. You can use screen recording tools to observe how agents interact with different applications and reports to identify issues and evaluate performance.

5. Provide engagement surveys

Getting feedback is a way to gauge satisfaction and improve repetitive processes. To grow as a company, agent feedback must be as important as your customer’s feedback. Create survey templates that will reflect your remote employees’ mental health and work progress. 

Always encourage feedback on their everyday challenges, pitfalls of their nature of work, the scope for growth, and so on. Everything your employees report will lead to an active response – mainly if the feedback reflects existing issues. Therefore, taking action to correct a problematic situation becomes a win-win.

6. Initiate rewards and recognition programs

Cicero Group’s research has proved that 50% of employees believe being thanked by managers improved their relationship and built trust. 

Find new ways to encourage individual and team wins, like quick video recordings or social media posts from the leadership team. It would help if you also promoted monetary or tangible awards like paid career development and training opportunities, free meals, gift cards, and work travels.

With the distributed workforce being the norm, celebrating progress and achievements fall by the wayside. Doing it virtually is more challenging, but identifying accomplishments is key to sustaining morale. HR managers can conduct Friday award sessions and announce employee achievements on their internal communication channels as well. 

7. Set up a work-from-home policy

Giving employees a choice to work from home is a growing trend. The key is to develop a ‘Work From Home Policy’ that sets the right expectations and alleviates the many pitfalls that might spring up when you take employees out of the office.

As a result, your team members can be just as comfortable, connected, and productive at home as they are in the office. To ensure your employees are happy with their workspace, check in with them regularly and help them to setup their virtual office. Employee experience and retention go hand-in-hand.

8. Establish WFH perks

Offering fringe benefits has been a very efficient way that companies have executed for a long time to keep their employees satisfied. It has the potential to optimize productivity and enhance remote work culture.

From choosing subsidized insurance plans for your employees to shipping care packages or providing them access to solid workstation support, pick a great touchpoint that lets your employees know you genuinely care about them.

In Conclusion

A pandemic has hit the entire world, and adopting a work-from-home practice to practice social distancing is the most viable and responsible way to deal with this situation. However, utilizing some virtual employee engagement activities to keep your team motivated can go a long way for a ‘productive’ and comfortable remote working space.

Illustrations by Mahalakshmi Anantharaman

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