In just a few weeks’ time, our lives have changed in very interesting ways due to Covid-19. You and your team have likely been adjusting to physical distancing, learning new routines, and maybe even grieving ambiguous losses. These are each important steps to take and to give employees space and grace to do so. Some of you may be wondering now how to help your team take steps forward. Whether you have always managed a remote team, or this is a brand-new situation for you, figuring out how to keep your remote employees engaged can be a challenge. How do you keep your team focused and excited about their work, especially in a pandemic? It’s a challenge we’ve heard from a lot of organizations in the past week.

Here are some ideas for virtual team engagement:

Establish check-ins with your team.

Managers should be meeting regularly with employees one-on-one (ideally over a video call). This is crucial, especially at a distance. It provides a level of normalcy and allows you to connect and see each other’s face and hear each other’s voice (something so rare right now). This also gives employees space to talk about concerns, ask questions about working situations, and get feedback, particularly when things have been so different.

Set up a Virtual Coffee Break.

Schedule an hour via Zoom or Google Hangouts and invite your team to join. Use this time as a breather, and let people just connect outside of regular work meetings. Make it a place where people can keep things light, joke around, or to give each other advice and encouragement as so many of us are working to overcome anxiety, change, etc.

Consider unique training sessions for your team.

This might be a great time to set up a virtual training for your team to learn about their communication styles or DISC styles and how to use those tools to better communicate with each other while working from home or in crisis situations.

Show some recognition.

Help your team feel appreciated during this time by sending them some snail mail. Write thank you cards to your team members and maybe add a gift card/voucher if you’re able.

Host a “Spirit Month.”

Using your organization’s core values, focus on one core value a week for the coming month. Have a place where you can post how specific people on the team are living that value currently and provide the opportunity for other people to call out and recognize their co-workers who are demonstrating that value. Use this as an opportunity to celebrate each other and to keep everyone focused on who you are as an organization!

Facilitate a core values discussion.

We believe that core values should be distinctive beliefs your whole organization has in common. These are your standards, morals, ethics, and ideals. These are the things that drive your team to give the best of themselves every day. But sometimes we can lose sight of those things amid change, uncertainty, and busyness. Gather your team together on a video call and talk through these values, remind each other of their importance, and allow the team to discuss how they are living out those core value right now. Maybe your team will even discover a new value that is being exemplified and needs to be added to your core values.

Ultimately your team will be grateful for how you are taking steps to connect with them and help make this work-from-home transition more comfortable. People perform better when they know they are supported.

Our team at People Centric loves connecting with teams to listen and facilitate conversations. We realize that sometimes having outside insight is helpful for teams to give honest feedback about how they are feeling or to help create direction on how to best move forward as a team. If we can be a resource for you in this way, we would love the opportunity to connect with you.