How the Marketing Team Can Keep Employees Engaged When Everyone’s Working Remotely
By: Amanda Langlais of Falvey Insurance Group
To put it simply, 2020 wasn’t easy--personally or professionally. One of the biggest challenges for companies was keeping remote employees engaged, and it seems like this challenge will continue for the foreseeable future.
At Falvey Insurance Group, we love to have fun. During the summer we have Grill Days where we BBQ together. During the winter we decorate our workspace for the holidays. So when the pandemic arose, it was Falvey’s priority to stay connected, even while working remotely. Fortunately, remote engagement doesn't have to be difficult. Here are six ways to keep employees engaged while they’re working from home and how our company, Falvey Insurance Group (FIG), implemented these methods.
1. Create time for social interactions
While employees are able to take mini breaks and socialize when they’re in the office, social interaction may be lacking when people work remotely. Be sure to create an environment where employees can interact in an informal way, perhaps with a little friendly competition or light conversation that isn't focused on work. Simple activities could be a hidden opportunity to help coworkers get to know each other, and the results are sometimes even better than when we’re all in the office.
How Falvey implemented: We introduced Happy Social-Distancing Hour. Every Friday, during a 30-60 minute time slot, we grab a cocktail and listen to company updates, play games, and introduce each other to our other co-workers(children and pets) in a session called “Cuddles and Cocktails.” We also host ~20 minute water-cooler activities where we split into smaller groups on Zoom and play games like This or That (Ex: Pizza or Pasta?)
2. Promote employee wellbeing
Working remotely and in isolation can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety. Gauging employees’ mental and physical wellbeing has never been more crucial. Check in on your coworkers and create ways to get everyone moving.
How Falvey implemented: Our VP of Human Resources individually called all 90 of our employees for a wellness check. She asked how we were adjusting to working remotely, wanted to know about any stress we were facing and whether there was anything Falvey could do to help during such an unprecedented time. As a company, we shared fitness tips and formed teams to perform a 4-week fitness challenge to get everyone up and moving.
3. Keep communicating
As we all know, internal communication is critical to a company’s success. While working remotely, make sure you’re keeping that line of communication open by sharing regular company updates. Communicate as much as possible over the phone, by email, e-newsletter, or face-to-face over video conferencing.
How Falvey implemented: Falvey Insurance Group prides itself on excellent communication. As soon as remote work began, we created a landing page called “Stories from Quarantine.” This site was a living page where we regularly shared their work-from-home experiences: photos of new co-workers (children & pets), home offices, and some lighthearted stories. We also made sure every Happy Social-Distancing Hour started off with a welcome from our CEO or COO and was followed by important company updates before starting the fun. In a recent survey, our employees commented that they feel more “in-the-know” than ever before.
4. Do something good for the community
Philanthropy is the perfect way to lift everyone’s spirits while working from home. Giving back to the community can give people a sense of purpose and help employees feel connected by sharing a goal. Try fundraising for a local charity your company is passionate about, or find safe ways for employees to volunteer their time.
How Falvey implemented: Even before the pandemic, Falvey embraced corporate social responsibility by donating and volunteering throughout the year. During the pandemic, we launched a campaign called We Give a FIG, which focused on our volunteer efforts. Our CEO, Mike Falvey, tasked each employee with different challenges such as giving a $100 gift card to someone in need due to the pandemic or $250 toward fighting for social justice. We also adopted families in need for the holiday season and bought holiday gifts for children and their parents.
Lastly, we launched Frontline Foods RI, which raised money from the community and teamed up with local restaurants who prepared meals to thank our frontline workers and first responders. Our local chapter put over $58,000 back into local restaurants and delivered nearly 4,000 meals to frontline workers and first responders fighting the pandemic.
5. Get creative
Abruptly shifting employees into a remote work environment forces people to get innovative. Think about the activities your company usually hosts throughout the year. Can you turn those into a virtual experience? If not, go back to the drawing board, there are plenty of new ways to get everyone involved like two truths and a lie, trivia, or try one of Falvey’s ideas below.
How Falvey implemented:
Chopped: FIG Edition—Falvey asked employees to sign up ahead of time for one round (appetizer, entree or dessert) and shipped 2-3 items they had to use in their dishes. Each participant recorded themselves opening the boxes, explaining/cooking their recipe, and most important, taste testing! The company watched the video entries together while three judges evaluated creativity, plating, and how they incorporated the “mystery box” ingredients. Some of our mystery ingredients included Nutella and Cheez Whiz for an appetizer round. The result: One employee made an empanada with queso and mole sauce!
- Falvey Superlatives-- We sent out a survey for voting, and then substituted one of our Social Distance Happy Hours to showcase the results. We asked employees to dress up like they were attending a formal award show. We presented superlatives like The Running with the Bulls Award (Most Likely to Take Risks) and the Squirrel Award (Greatest Stash of Snacks in Desk.)
- Falvey’s Got Talent-- Our own version of “America’s Got Talent” where employees shared their unique hidden talents.
- Virtual Paint Night-- We partnered with a local wine and paint shop to ship paint kits to all our employees. We all tuned into a live Zoom class where we were taught how to paint a winter wonderland.
6. Send a “Thank You”
Last, but not least, let your employees know they’re appreciated. Verbally thank them during a simple video call or email, or take it to the next level and send them a swag package.
How Falvey implemented: Every employee was sent a COVID-19 care package and a work-from-home package. The COVID-19 care package included necessities for the pandemic such as branded sanitizer wipes, masks, hand sanitizer and a book called “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse,” which was handpicked by our CEO. The work-from-home packages included items like branded fuzzy robes, laptop cases, and chocolates. We also provided a GrubHub credit so our employees could order lunch from the comfort of their own home.
There are plenty of ways to stay connected when working remotely, and to our surprise, we feel closer than ever. What are some of the ways your company has kept your employees connected?