Unique Ideas to Increase Remote Employee Engagement

Due to the ongoing public health crisis, the majority of your workforce probably communicates screen-to-screen these days rather than IRL. And we all know what that means: Pajama bottoms, glazed looks, and probably more than a few taking quizzes to find out what their astrology sign says about them… all in the middle of a weekly team meeting. Let’s be honest, it’s a lot easier to be distracted when you’re not face-to-face. According to recent findings from The Muse, 92% of workers admitted they multitask in meetings. That’s… almost everyone. (Hey, it probably even includes you.) 🙈

How can you keep engagement up remotely? In a nutshell, making sure everyone feels like they’re actively part of discussions keeps engagement strong. Here are a few ways to make it happen:


Assign Pre-Work (Yup. That’s Right. Homework.) 

We’ve all been in virtual meetings that have dragged on, and on… and on. 😴

By the time some meetings end, employees can feel more scattered than when they started. According to a recent survey from The Muse, unproductive meetings waste more than $37 billion per year. Oof. That’s where pre-work comes in handy. By sending out assignments that require team members to read, reflect and bring their own thoughts to the meeting, virtual gatherings will feel more purposeful. This way, everyone will have a place in the meeting, rather than the 2-4 that participate on average, according to Highfive. Active contributions from everyone > random ramblings from Steve, every time. 


Assemble Sub-Teams 

A spooky stat: According to Harvard Business Review, 71% of senior managers across industries described meetings as wholly unproductive. One way to counteract that is with sub-teams, which can help make everyone feel included and represented in larger meetings. HBR suggestions asking these four questions to team members as pre-meeting “pulse checks”:

  • How are you feeling?

  • How valuable are the ways in which you are spending your time?

  • How well are you working as a team?

  • Is this sustainable?

A major upside is that team members will open up, which gives managers insights that result in better teamwork and more productive meetings. And this way, convos don’t just go top-down. Everyone gets a chance to speak up! 


Establish a “No Tech” Rule During Meetings 

This one’s pretty obvious. Phones come preloaded with lots of distractions, resulting in speakers constantly repeating themselves while distracted team members look up from scrolling IG stories about cute frogs. Rinse, cycle, repeat. A simple solution: abolish outside tech from meetings. 📵 This encourages team members to find their own, more productive ways to jot down thoughts, with far fewer distractions.Think notebooks, post-its, and more. And that brings us to our final point…


Personalized Touch Points 

Acknowledging personal milestones and individual contributions helps boost employee satisfaction and engagement. In a study conducted by the University of North Carolina on effective meetings, three months after managers at a financial and regulatory consultancy rethought ways to better include team members in meetings, employees saw a 42% increase in team collaboration, a 32% increase in safety to speak up, and a 28% increase in team performance. Plus, respondents’ ratings of satisfaction with work/life balance rose from 62% to 92%! 

Treating and acknowledging each team member like the unique individual they are goes a long way. According to Entrepreneur.com, “Thoughtful tokens of recognition inspire the productivity and sense of community that make companies thrive.” Though you might be far away and interacting through screens, a personal, tangible token of acknowledgement can help bring everyone closer together.