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Working remotely? Here are 5 ways to keep your team engaged.

We interviewed one leader that has managed to keep the team spirit alive during the pandemic. Read on to learn Henrik's 5 best pieces of advice for a happy remote work life!

Remote work has become the new normal and is here to stay. The impact has varied a lot, for some it has been a blessing and for some a lonely reality. Keeping the engagement high will require leaders to think and do things differently.

Henrik Svensson holds the position as Customer Service Manager at Parkster, an innovative parking app. Henrik clearly remembers the day when they made the sudden shift to working remotely:

“There was barely any time for preparations, just a couple of days later we had established our new digital workplace. Of course, we’ve met some road bumps along the way. A change that comes with that kind of impact and occurs so fast can be uncomfortable for some people, while some may look at it with curiosity. Be humble!”

In order to keep the good team spirit up Henrik and his team made sure to schedule time for social interaction that was not work-related.

“We have one weekly team meeting combined with a joint breakfast via Google Meet. We have dedicated 15 social minutes before the meeting starts so we can discuss whether the egg should be hard or soft boiled and tell the latest jokes. Our highlight of the week though is “Friday happy fun time”. At 2 pm we gather in a digital space and play games like Sketchful, Among Us, Haxball or Geoguessr. A lot of laughter!”

Working remotely increases productivity for tasks that are routine and require deep focus. However, tasks that require creativity, innovation and group thinking become much harder. At Parkster, the solution for this was to implement a virtual office software (they chose one called Sococo).

“Every department has their own room and on top of that, there is a kitchen and lobby where you can go to talk, something that would otherwise have taken place by the coffee machine. It reminds me a bit of the game Sims. It makes things a lot easier and encourages spontaneous talks.”

Besides meeting online, taking a walking meeting outdoors has also become popular at Parkster. Sometimes the “walks and talks” occur in-person with a proper distance and sometimes using phones. Walking increases creative thinking (according to a Stanford study) and most people need more physical exercise when working from home. What a win-win!

Celebrating success is important for any team to feel the progress they’re making. Henrik has a good example of how to arrange celebrations remotely:

“The last time we had a reason to celebrate we actually organized so that everyone got a bottle of champagne delivered to their door at home. Then we made the announcement online and everyone got the chance to celebrate together and say cheers!”

How will this new normal of working remotely look in the world after Covid? In Henrik’s view, it will depend a lot on the person and their tasks. Some things are easier to do from home and some will be more fun and smooth to do as a group.

“I guess the insight for the future is to actively consider your environment based on the tasks you need to do, instead of having a habit of going to the office.”

As a leader, what do think the future entails?

Henrik: “The most important thing is to understand that communication is key.”
“During a regular week when we work at the office, I have plenty of time to listen in and talk to my employees. When I suddenly didn't have that kind of interaction anymore I had to dedicate even more time to just talk and make sure that everyone was doing alright."
"I hope and think that even more leaders understand the relevance of talking about well-being in general with their employees. There is no switch where you just put personal issues aside when you enter work. And of course, if you’re not feeling well you won’t perform or contribute to the team spirit as much as you possibly could. Hopefully, this crisis has brought us closer together.”

5 tips for keeping the engagement up when working from home

  1. Schedule regular casual meetings, maybe over an activity, such as lunch or an online game.

  2. Make spontaneous interactions possible by using good chat programs or online office software that makes it effortless to have fast exchanges.

  3. Arrange 1:1 walks and talks. In person if possible, or via phone. It gets the heart pumping and the creativity flowing.

  4. Send a care package or a celebration kit to your team and open it over a video call, it will show your appreciation and bring the team closer.

  5. Actively reach out to your employees more than you did before. Make sure you know how each and everyone in your team is doing. As leaders, we need to listen so everyone feels seen.

Are you wondering how to achieve all these goals? With the help of Whyser of course!

Whyser helps leaders transition well into a new normal. Our tool helps you keep track of your goals and progress from anywhere, with whomever you want, and lets everyone feel involved.

Do you have a great approach to creating change or impact? Reach out and we’d be happy to feature you in one of our articles. 👉

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