Although many employees report that work-from-home has many upsides – like saving time and money on commuting, and offering more time for their personal life – it can also have downsides for a company’s bottom line when teams feel disconnected and disengaged.

As many companies are embracing work-from-home for the duration of the pandemic and some even into the ‘new normal,’ it’s important to find effective and sustainable ways to keep employees engaged and teams connected. 

Here are four ways to help keep your team engaged through work-from-home: 

#1 –  VIRTUAL TEAM HUDDLES 

Teams used to stay updated on company projects and goals while chatting in the office. It was as simple as reaching out to a colleague across the desk and exchanging information on company activities. Now, many employees are left feeling out of the loop and excluded from important information, making it harder for teams to feel connected and engaged. 

Holding regular virtual team huddles keeps everyone on the same page. You can use virtual communication channels like Zoom, Skype, Facetime, and Google Hangouts to bring your team together, clear up any confusion, ensure everyone is on task, and update everyone at the same time on important information on the regular.

#2 – GOAL SETTING 

When your employees’ personal and professional goals are aligned with your business’ goals, it creates clarity and focus for both you and your team.

Effective goal setting means helping your employees set goals and supporting them as they work to achieve them. It also means communicating your goals to your team and keeping them specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely (SMART). 

Here are some questions to consider: 

  • How do the roles and responsibilities of your employees contribute to both your company’s short-term and long-term objectives?
  • Are you staying connected with your employees as both your business goals and their goals evolve?
  • Do you reward your employees when they achieve professional goals?
  • Are you working with employees who are struggling to meet their goals?

#3 – ACKNOWLEDGE WORK-LIFE BLEND 

As companies are becoming more and more flexible with their work arrangements, ‘work-life balance’ no longer makes sense as an employee engagement strategy. 

‘Work-life balance’ is a myth. And that’s becoming more apparent now as we work from home and our personal life and work life seem less and less distinct. 

‘Work-life blend’ is about recognizing that the lines are blurred between ‘work’ and ‘life’, and that it sometimes means we need to prioritize one over the other. 

Embracing work-life blend yields employees who come to work every day engaged and appreciative that they aren’t asked to leave their personal lives at the door. That benefit to the individual also benefits the business. 

Employee engagement doesn’t have to be something separate from everyday behavior. Engaging employees through work-from-home comes from focusing on the overall wellness of your people. 

When you address employees’ personal lives in terms of your business mandate, you’ll end up with a group of people who are well aligned and rowing in the same direction.

Here are some ideas to consider when using work-life blend to boost employee engagement: 

  • Provide more flexibility for your employees. This could mean shifting around schedules in a way that works for both the company and your employees, or working with individuals to find a compromise between both your needs.
  • Pay attention to quality of employee performance over quantity. 
  • Reach out to your employees and ask how they’re doing. 
  • Provide effective feedback so that your employees can stay on track. 

#4 – EMBRACE GRATITUDE

Gratitude is a valuable currency in both business and personal relationships. Like money, it has value. 

According to Salesforce Research’s Impact of Equality and Values Driven Business report, employees who feel a sense of belongingness at work are 5.3 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best.

Embracing gratitude in your business can be as simple as writing a thank you card to appreciate hard work. But, when you don’t just say that you care but also genuinely show it you increase the likelihood that everyone will be more productive and engaged than if their only incentives are money and vacation days. 

Here are some ideas for embracing gratitude in your business: 

  • Give the gift of time.
  • Act true to your word and live up to your promises.
  • Show up for your people when they need you.
  • Get to know your employees so that you can personalize your communications with them. Authentic communication makes individuals feel appreciated.

Shows of gratitude to members of your team should be consistent and timely, and they should be performed in a manner that is most relevant to the recipient. For maximum impact, gratitude needs to be delivered in a form that will be appreciated.

Learn more about how embracing gratitude helps keep employees engaged in Michele Bailey’s book, The Currency of Gratitude.

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