Does working from home make you feel lonely, disconnected, or exhausted?
Do you find some days you miss water cooler conversations, spontaneous lunch dates, or maybe your favorite local coffee spot?
If you answered yes, you are not alone.
According to Monster, 69% of people are feeling burned out from working remotely.
Even though we know that working remotely can save us money, save us time, and even save us energy, as leaders, we are still missing our team and missing the energy others give us.
As leaders, one of our greatest challenges during this time is to keep our team engaged so they feel seen and heard.
Every person on this planet wants to know they are valued and during a global pandemic, this is even more important than ever.
Here are 5 ways every leader can keep their team engaged:
Yes, I know you are sick of Zoom (or Team) calls (same, girl, same).
Using video allows us to see and hear our team, and sometimes we also need to give permission to everyone to have ‘camera off’ meetings too so they get a break.
Use messaging apps, polls, surveys, and Slack channels keeps conversations flowing and also avoid scheduling a meeting for every conversation that needs to occur.
Consider a suggestion box email address for ideas from your team.
NOTE: Keeping meetings to 15 minutes or less will make them more productive, encourage higher attendance and allow you to keep everyone’s attention.
What is a new way you could use technology this week to engage the team?
Create Social Interactions
Some of my clients have created the coolest ideas to create fun and memorable interactions with their teams. Yes, you can do happy hours, share lunch, maybe even morning tea (that’s what Aussies call the morning coffee break).
Consider lunch and learn, you all make lunch and learn a new skill or hear from a guest speaker.
Consider a lunch theme, you all make a meal from a country and share your inspiration, consider virtual bingo, Tik Tok challenges, open mic nights, baby photo guessing competition, trivial afternoons … anything fun that will allow others to socialize.
What is a new social interaction you could share with your team to engage them this week?
Show You care
Acknowledge your team is burned out, overwhelmed, tired… it’s OK to talk about it and I highly recommend you create a safe place for people to share.
Consider stress-relieving activities to do together, chair yoga, facilitated conversations, seated meditations perhaps? I have been doing Yoga via Zoom with my fave Yogi, Lesley at FeelBetter Yoga in NC, and daily morning mediations with Aditi my fave at Peloton – and loving it!
Send care packages, deliver food gifts, ask about people’s families and listen as they share how they are doing.
What is one way you could show you care and value your team this week?
Yes, you read that right!
Conduct Town Halls, host regular Q&A sessions, honor the 1:1s with your team, give feedback, share survey and poll results with them, answer questions honestly, and share information honestly when you can.
People want to feel in ‘the loop’ and when they feel ‘out of the loop’ it contributes to the stress and disconnection so many remote employees are facing.
What messages could you share with your team this week?
Conduct (fun) Team Building
Some of the most fun activities I have attended (and hosted) during COVID include virtual wine tastings (shout out to fave Somm, Mike Ganino), cooking classes, mixology classes, learning how to do the Evolution of Dance with the very first Viral YouTube star Judson Laipply (this was one of my faves), sharing breakfast (one of my leaders at a media company had breakfasts delivered for everyone when I facilitated their strategic retreat and she sent me the healthiest most delish food that has become a fave now).
What could your team do together that will help them feel included and valued?
As a leader, you are the glue that helps your team stick together, what fun can you bring to your remote employees this week?