Employee Engagement Employee Recognition Remote working

7 Fun ways to engage remote employees in the new year

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Yoh, this year has been serious, guys.

COVID came at us so hectically it’s easy to forget that in 2019 our main worry was that polony tried to kill us! This is why we thought it's about time to look at a few fun ways to engage remote employees in the new year.

There are a lot of exciting workplace trends for 2021 that have been cropping up of late, and the following engagement ideas speak to those developments in particular. Here you go!


1. Host virtual cooking demos

A strong focus on diversity and inclusion continues to be an ongoing trend in the year ahead, and with diverse teams come all sorts of cultural coolness to explore.

Global statistics show that up to 70% of job seekers take a good, hard look at a company's commitment to diversity when evaluating potential employers. As such, it only makes sense to celebrate your team’s unique backgrounds whenever you can.

A fun way to do this is to arrange for virtual cooking demos, allowing each team member to teach the rest of the crew how to make something tasty that they grew up eating. Think breyani, umqombothi, milk tart, uphuthu, or a really astounding mac and cheese (hey - not everyone’s a cheffing wunderkind!).


2. Share hobby how-tos

Burnout became a very real thing for many South Africans when they were working from home, during lockdown juggling work with countless other responsibilities in spaces that weren't really set up for it. US statistics showed that folks over there were also taking knocks in a similar fashion.  

As such, work-life balance and employee wellness is currently top of mind for forward-thinking businesses around the globe.

Encourage your team to take time off for themselves by providing them with resources to tap into hobby-related how-tos. Whether this is a dedicated Slack channel where your tech team can discuss D&D tactics or Superbru lineups, or a Zoom room for virtual tea and crocheting/knitting meet-ups (hey, even the stars are doing it - Katherine Heigl even blogs about it!), keep it fun and light-hearted.


3. Make peer-to-peer recognition super simple

Employee recognition is one of the major cornerstones of any engagement initiative. Going into the new year, try to make peer-to-peer recognition as simple as possible. Consider investing in a gamified SaaS-based platform that makes it quick, fun and rewarding to give props to colleagues and co-workers in a timeous and immediate way.

READ MORE: 3 Ways digital employee recognition platform bountiXP will help your business thrive in an age of disruption


Check out our YouTube channel for great content on everything from drawing up a recognition blueprint for your business, to leadership and management responsibility for effective employee engagement.

4. Go a little green 

Gardening has been shown to be majorly beneficial for both physical and mental health. Sure, not every employee has access to arable land to plant a vegetable patch, but most will have at least a balcony, or a window sill that can be turned into a little green space.

Promote wellness among your team members by roping them into a community gardening initiative. Task each one with growing a particular crop according to their spatial set-up (e.g. potted chillies or basil for the window sill growers; tomatoes, zucchini and spinach for the in-the-soil farmers), and create a WhatsApp group or IM channel where everyone can share tips, and pics of their seedlings.

Once it’s time to harvest, you can then do a bit of a produce swop and co-create a dish via virtual cooking demo (as in idea #1) that incorporates the gorgeous, fresh veggies you grew from scratch - e.g. a ratatouille that can be mopped up with freshly-baked, crusty ciabatta supplied by management.


5. Provide easy ongoing learning opportunities

Continued upskilling and learning agility is another big trend for the year to come, and employers can tap into it by providing their teams with access to the opportunity to stay sharp without having to spend too much time on it.

Let’s be real for a moment - not everyone has the luxury of spending hours on end focussing on virtual courses. For instance, a working mom who rushes home from the office to pick up her kids, and spend some time with them before cooking dinner and policing bath time simultaneously is not in the position to sit down in her ‘free time’ to upskill via a great new online course. Her weekends are probably spent catching up on washing or cheering on her offspring from the sidelines of a rugby or netball game.


However, these time-crunched individuals still want to keep up with their colleagues. This is why it’s a great idea to provide them with micro-learning platforms that they can tap into from their mobiles whenever they have a moment.


DID YOU KNOW? bountiXP’s cloud-hosted course management system supports rich content, from quick quizzes to full-scale, interactive and certificated courses. Employees are empowered to become life-long learners.


6. Use pulse surveys to your advantage

Continuous listening is another trend that has been around for a while, but will come to fruition in the year ahead, in our opinion. Employees want to feel heard, and when you angle your questions in the right way, your workforce can provide you with very valuable insight into their working world and how you can improve it for optimal employee experience.

However, when time is of the essence (as it is in most fast-paced working environments), no-one is exactly keen to sit down and fill out a lengthy survey on top of the 1721 other things they have to get done that day. This is why pulse surveys are so great!


Instead of taking up a whole lot of your employees’ time in one go, a mobile survey platform can help you to measure sentiment on the go, get quick feedback after big decisions, etc.


7. Host one ‘family meal’ per week

Sitting down for a meal is one of the simplest ways to create a space for open interaction. Even if you can’t all be together in person, try to make a Zoom lunch work for the majority of your team. Naturally, a nice UberEats drop-off on the company dime makes a great incentive to dial up, rather than sprawling on the couch with a PB&J...

Try out these fun ways to engage remote employees in the new year, and let us know how it goes! We’d love to hear what works for your team. In the meantime, remember to subscribe to our YouTube channel for awesome video content on everything from addressing common barriers to employee engagement, to creating a communication strategy that keeps your crew inspired.

Check out our YouTube channel for great content on everything from drawing up a recognition blueprint for your business, to leadership and management responsibility for effective employee engagement.


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