20 Best Employee Engagement Ideas & Activities When Working Remotely

Aws Alnabulsi
April 12, 2023
13 min to read

Employee engagement has always been a vital part of business, but it’s become even more important - and more challenging to achieve - in the current environment of increasing remote working. Engaged employees are more likely to be happy and satisfied employees which will enhance their productivity and creativity as well as their willingness to stay with your company in the long term.

If you’ve recently switched to working from home and you think that your team engagement might have taken a hit, there is nothing to worry about. With the right amount of effort and innovation, you can make your team members more dedicated and motivated than ever before.

In this article, we’ve put together the 20 best employee engagement ideas and activities when you work remotely to rekindle the employees’ attention and motivation for better results across your business. The best part is that these include plenty of inexpensive employee engagement ideas that you can deploy without unnecessary HR expenditure while still getting great results.

We’ll also show you how Core Team can help you with boosting the engagement and retention of your employees.

Table of Contents

  • What Is Employee Engagement?
  • Why Is It Important to Engage Employees When You Work from Home?
  • Top 20 Employee Engagement Ideas That Work
  • Boosting the Engagement of Your Employees When Working Remotely

What Is Employee Engagement?

Employee engagement is a human resources (HR) concept which measures the level of emotional engagement that employees have within a company, whether a small startup or a large corporation. In other words, the employee engagement definition describes the relationship between a company and its employees, both in qualitative and quantitative terms.

There are different ways of phrasing this emotional engagement.

For instance, you can consider it as the level of motivation an employee has to work and do a “little extra” to get ahead. Every employee has a different level of engagement, but there are certain things that businesses can do in order to ensure that all employees stay engaged.

Companies use a variety of metrics to determine and measure employee engagement levels, including:

  • Employee satisfaction surveys
  • Turnover rates
  • Absenteeism rates
  • Employee retention rates
  • Employee net promoter scores (NPS)
  • Employee responses to specific questions

The concept of employee and team engagement can be applied to both companies with physical offices and those working remotely. However, when all or most of the team works from home, it becomes a bit more difficult to make sure that everyone is motivated and engaged.

Why Is It Important to Engage Your Employees When You Work from Home?

Benefits of Employee Engagement Ideas for Remote Work

US companies spend over $100 billion per year on employee engagement, training, and development activities, according to Deloitte. The question is WHY?

There are many reasons why keeping employees engaged and motivated is so important for businesses, both in the US market and outside.

To begin with, Gallup found out that actively disengaged employees cost their employers 34% of their salary. So, if you pay a worker $50,000 per year and fail to engage them properly, they’ll cost you $17,000/year.

Also based on data from Gallup, engaged employees and teams boast an 18% greater productivity and 23% higher profitability.

However, keeping employees engaged is facing a new challenge in 2023. Owl Labs reports that currently 16% of global companies do not have physical offices and work entirely remotely, while another 40% follow some sort of a hybrid work model.

In addition, more and more individuals are interested in becoming full-time remote workers. According to the results of a survey conducted by Flexjobs, 65% of respondents would choose this option.

But this is having a certain negative impact on the level of motivation and sense of belonging of these employees who never get to meet their managers as well as their team members in person.

So, companies that work remotely need to deploy ideas for employee engagement to improve employee performance and enjoy the following benefits:

Lower Employee Absenteeism

Employee unavailability impacts the performance and productivity of companies. You can reduce the rate of absenteeism among your workers by using ideas to improve employee engagement, ensuring employees are actively available more often and working to their full potential.

Smaller Burnout Risks

Employees are likely to feel burnt out if they aren’t engaged and don’t feel an emotional connection with the company. They aren’t able to fully tap into their potential, which is why remote businesses require employee engagement ideas that work even online.

Less Stress in the Workplace

According to Zipia Research, 39% of employees feel stressed because they are overworked, turning overwork into the main source of stress at the workplace. Engaging employees better in their work makes it possible to drop stress levels as they feel their job less as an obligation and more as a commitment.

Higher Employee Productivity

Employees can’t perform to their full capacity if they don’t feel part of the job and part of the team. You can use various engagement techniques and activities to increase engagement for higher productivity, even when working from home.

Better Team Performance

The performance of individual employees impacts the whole team which then affects the entire company. By using various ideas to increase employee engagement, you can increase their performance, even when they work from home. As a result, this will also boost team performance.

Top 20 Employee Engagement Ideas That Work

Now that we know how important it is to engage and motivate your team members in a remote work environment, the question becomes how to do this.

Deploying a mix of more serious and fun employee engagement ideas is a great way to get all the above-stated benefits. If you need some extra inspiration to get started with this important HR function, here are some bulletproof ideas and activities:

1. Internal Communication

Platforms like Slack or Microsoft Teams are the best for remote working employees needing better communication and engagement. When used efficiently, these platforms have the potential to turn into a new workspace for employees, boosting overall performance.

2. Technology Adoption

Between 2020 and 2022, the number of remote meetings per remote worker increased by 60%, as reported by Harvard Business Review, and this number is not likely to go down in 2023 or beyond. However, many employees struggle with video meetings and waste time because they don’t know how to use the technology correctly, which leads to frustration and annoyance. Businesses can deploy training programs to help less tech-savvy employees use online meetings more efficiently and gain engagement with the rest of the team as well as clients and partners.

3. Virtual Coffee Breaks

Employee Engagement Ideas - Virtual Coffee Breaks

Breaks help employees release steam, but breaks alone can be boring, especially when you work alone from home. Companies should focus on virtual employee engagement ideas, such as coffee breaks, and let employees within teams as well as across teams engage with one another better. It’s a way to help them feel less alienated and increase the team building efforts.

4. Show and Tell

If employees have something cool to share, let them do it. It’s one of the best team building ideas as it gives workers the opportunity to express themselves better and create a connection with their team members.

5. Home Tours

Home tours are some of the** **best employee engagement ideas to create an emotional connection among and with employees who are working remotely. This allows other team members to gain insight into the working environment of others and walk in their shoes. However, if you decide to go for this activity, you need to make sure it’s prearranged so that employees don’t feel pressured into sharing their personal space with others.

6. Online Training

While creativity and taking initiative are crucial employee qualities, workers don’t feel confident and taken care of if they have to figure everything out themselves. It’s a must to perform online training to continue building new skills for your team members and make them feel like they are learning something new all the time. This benefit will make them feel more engaged with your company and less likely to look elsewhere.

7. CEO Video Sessions

Having one-on-one video call sessions with founders is a great way to make employees feel valued and engaged. You can hold a short meeting with employees and collect their feedback, opinions, views, and more.

8. Team Feedback

Employees are prone to feeling disconnected while working remotely, unless you put some extra effort into preventing this feeling. Make sure to ask for their feedback on a regular basis to help them feel like part of the company again, and act on the feedback as much as possible.

9. Game Sessions

Employee Engagement Ideas - Game Sessions

If you have employees who are into video games, creating a shared gamification experience will help them engage better with one another and create a bond. They will become friends before you know it.

10. Recognition

You should show appreciation for your team members even if they achieve something small. Appreciation ensures employees want to achieve more and take a step further for their corporate goals.

11. Workstation Improvement

Boring workstations can take away employees’ will to work. While the company cannot provide shared workstations when working remotely, you can allocate a part of the budget for providing employees with things like laptops, printers, and other devices they need to do their work better. Working comfortably will make them feel more motivated and get more productive.

12. Flexible Schedules

The main reason employees prioritize remote operations is because of the flexibility that comes with it. We recommend taking a step further and providing employees with flexible schedules. In this way, your employees will be fully engaged when they work in the schedule slot of their choice. It’s one of the most underrated remote employee engagement ideas** **but boosts their performance in every way.

13. Benefits and Rewards

Employees like it when they see companies concerned about their health and happiness. A salary is great, but employees love when companies take things a step further. Some of the most effective and most appreciated ideas for employee benefits include:

  • Setting up local healthcare coverage
  • Offering free Netflix, HBO, or Disney+ subscriptions
  • Adding grocery allowances

14. Individual Feedbacks

Providing collective feedback to teams and the entire company is good, but appreciating employees individually is also important for boosting their level of motivation and engagement**. **Employees feel valued when they are applauded for their efforts individually, which improves their mental health at the workplace and prevents burnout. You should take the time to assess employees and appreciate them for their efforts.

15. Wellness Challenges

When working from home, employees are at a higher risk of insufficient physical activity which can affect both their physical and mental health as well as their ability and willingness to work effectively. You can gamify physical activities and set up wellness challenges to make things interesting. You will be surprised how well employee engagement contest ideas work.

16. News from the World

Employees are interested in discussing non-work related topics sometimes. Businesses should provide their workers with the right platforms to discuss politics, economics, sports, fashion, and whatever else they find of interest. This can be a Slack channel, an online forum, or a dedicated meeting time for fun purposes. This is particularly beneficial for teams from different parts of the world as they can learn more about each other’s location and culture.

17. Work-Life Balance

Along with all other ideas and activities that you try out to boost your employee motivation and participation, you should also be guided by the principle of providing them with the ability to build the right work-life balance. Things like keeping meetings at a reasonable frequency, providing flexible working hours, and actively asking for feedback from team members are crucial in this regard.

18. No Micromanagement

Many companies try to micromanage remote employees from fear of workers not putting in enough hours, which reduces their morale and engagement. You should be ready to let your employees take charge, and they will come around stronger and more beneficial for the company.

19. Mental Health Value

As an HR person or a company manager, you need to start valuing the mental health of your employees and turning it into one of the main priorities for your business. Burnt out employees are not good for your company as they will lose productivity and leave more often. When employees know you care for more than just work and hitting business targets, their engagement will improve, which will push employee retention up.

20. Better Communication

Employee Engagement Ideas - Better Communication

Providing the tools and channels for easy communication is a smart way of ensuring your employees express themselves. When they feel heard, they will engage more with coworkers, management, and the company as a whole. Working remotely should not be an excuse for insufficient communication across the business.

Team Features

Having the right ideas for employee engagement is the first step. But you also need the tools to implement these ideas and activities in an efficient manner, without having to hire an entire new HR team.

Core Team by Coretava has all the tools and features that you need to launch programs that ensure engagement, growth, and development at the workplace:

1. Personalized Training

It’s important to get employees engaged right from the start, as soon as they join your company. Fun and engaging training processes via personalization are an effective way to ensure that your workers not only have the right setup and skills but also have fun in the process. You can use Core Teams to take your onboarding and training processes to a whole new level.

2. Employee Challenges

You can use Core Teams to set up challenges and contests in the form of games to inspire the competitive spirit among your team members. This gamification feature will help employees engage with the company and improve results. The challenges can be everything from team goals to individual growth opportunities - get creative!

3. Employee Rewards

You can encourage employees to engage more with the company and perform better by offering rewards based on performance and achievements. You can work around the idea and find various solutions provided by Core Teams that work best for your specific teams and company. Offering rewards is a guaranteed way to boost employee satisfaction and retain them in the long term.

4. Gamification Features

More and more employees, especially Gen Y and Gen Z, expect an enhanced work experience that departs from the traditional, conventional model. Many expect employers to turn regular work processes and flows into fun, interactive events. You can do this through challenges and rewards to boost employee devotion and growth. It may seem like a lot of effort, but Core Teams allows you to do this in an easy online manner, and employees will love it more than you think.

Click here to schedule a demo to learn more about how Core Teams can help you boost employee engagement.

Boosting the Engagement of Your Employees When Working Remotely

Remote employees are prone to losing working motivation more often, and boosting the engagement levels of employees when working from home** **can be slightly challenging. However, with the 20 best employee engagement ideas discussed above, you can implement the right strategies for increased employee satisfaction, better productivity, longer retention, and overall business success.

Keep in mind that while implementing these ideas and activities to your corporate structure may take some time and effort, it will definitely pay off.

To start boosting engagement among your workers today, check out Core Teams. You will find all the tools that you need to provide personalized training, individual and team challenges, and rewards.

Click here to get started.


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Daniela Andreevska

Daniela has 6 years of experience in digital marketing for ecommerce businesses.

Aws Alnabulsi

Aws is the Co-Founder of Coretava, a complete retail ecommerce growth platform. He has 6+ years of experience in managing and growing ecommerce businesses.

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