If anything has been made clear in the workplace over the last few years, it’s that remote work is a big win. Younger employees value the flexibility and autonomy that WFH empowers them with. Talent can be sourced from far and wide, enriching teams with diverse skills at easily scalable rates. Companies are shrinking overhead costs and freeing up funds for major growth opportunities. What’s not to love? 

Well…there are some challenges associated with WFH, especially for HR professionals. For all its rave-worthy benefits, remote teams also experience unique hiccups which can mean headaches for team leaders and HR professionals - especially when it comes to employee engagement and productivity. Fortunately, there is a solution to each of these challenges! 

How to be the G.O.A.T of remote employee engagement 

There’s nothing to suggest that remote teams are less productive or engaged than their in-office peers. That being said, remote work setups introduce a different set of difficulties than those typically experienced in the office. Putting in the right engagement strategies for each environment will make you the G.O.A.T (that’s Greatest of All Time, not a- oh, you know what we mean) of employee engagement. 

One of the most obvious drawbacks of a remote work setup is the loss of visibility. It’s difficult to track how engaged or disengaged employees are when you can’t see them at their desks like you would at an office. Sure, there are productivity tracking apps which help remote workers log their work activity, but this doesn’t always give you detailed insight into how they’re feeling about work. 

Moreover, while we can’t sing the praises of remote work apps loudly enough, they aren’t designed to engage employees or create an office culture - they are designed to make doing their jobs easier. Wouldn’t it be great if you could implement a tool that made their jobs more enjoyable? 

If only there were an app for that…

There is! By automating employee engagement (it’s less robotic than that, we promise), Gifted makes it that much easier for team leaders and HR reps to build a flourishing office culture - even without the office. 

To kick us off, we’ve identified the top three challenges facing WFH employee engagement - and our proposed solutions for each one. 

Challenge 1: Routines get mean 

One of the most positive things to come out of the lockdown was the global investment into time spent on self-care. The hours that employees used to spend commuting were dedicated instead to preparing home-cooked meals, developing hobbies, and working out in the driveway. 

Nowadays, many remote work environments include a home gym or a flourishing vegetable garden in the front yard. A lot of employees take initiative in this area, but when HR and team leaders demonstrate their interest in this part of their employees’ health and happiness, it’s great for engagement. 

The solution: get employees OOO 

No, not that kind of out-of-office (though regular breaks are encouraged!). Gifted has curated a host of WFH-specific solutions to create engaged and satisfied remote employees. 

If monotony threatens to keep employees trapped in a cycle of dissatisfaction, make it easy for them to shake things up - literally. Get those feet moving! Transform the home office into a home gym with gift cards from popular brands like Nike, Athleta, and Lululemon. 

Some workers might prefer to swap high-intensity intervals for high-intensity interior design. If a change of scene is what’s going to refresh their perspective on work, then gift them with a bouquet of vouchers from vendors like Best Buy and Home Depot. That’s a way to build a healthy work-life balance. 

Challenge 2: It can get lonely out there!

Sometimes, satellite office spaces can feel like working on the International Space Station - very cool, but occasionally distant. Even with the hundreds of tools designed to help us connect with our coworkers, employees who go too long without seeing one of their co-workers can feel like they’re operating in a vacuum. An outer-space-level vacuum.  

The solution: connect over coffee

What’s the easiest way to make people happy at the office? A coffee run, of course! The best way to do that remotely (and connect people while doing it) is to gift teams with regular coffee breaks at nationally available vendors like Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts with Gifted. 

Team members who live in the same city can meet up for in-person coffee, or remote teams can raise their Starbucks cups in unison at the first Zoom meeting of the morning. No matter how small the gesture, we say cheers to connecting with co-workers over a good old cup of Joe. 

Challenge 3: The visibility challenge 

One of the advantages of a physical office is that it’s pretty easy to see if employees are engaged and satisfied with their work. All it takes is a quick sweep of the floor to observe body language or a quick meeting to check in with a colleague. 

This degree of visibility is only sometimes possible with remote work. Performance numbers and statistics are helpful, but they don’t give the full picture of how engaged and satisfied an employee is. 

The visibility challenge works both ways, too. Employees can become frustrated with a perceived lack of transparency when it comes to management, which can make it more likely for them to disengage from work. Without the infrastructure of a brick-and-mortar office, employees and managers alike have to go the extra mile to check in with each other.

That goes for HR, too 

In an interview with Sam Blum of HR Brew, Jennifer Watson (VP of HR at workforce management SaaS provider Lasso and certified WFH veteran) pointed out that the visibility challenge is probably even greater for HR professionals than it is for managers. 

“Because nobody wants to call HR. Traditional HR has always said no. Traditional HR is a barrier. So, it’s really creating a brand for yourself to say, ‘Listen, just because I’m calling you, [it] isn’t a bad thing’...Small talk isn’t everything, but at least there is some form of relationship. And so you have to facilitate that.” 

Easier said than done! Or is it? 

The ultimate solution: don’t call them out; pull them in 

The thought of regular phone calls to check in is well-intentioned, but it isn’t always effective. In the in-office world, it would be the equivalent of being called into HR “for a little chat”. Whoops! Unfortunately, even the best intentions can cause employees to put their guard up.

So, don’t just rely on calls to build a relationship with employees. Send them a gift. Better yet, set up an automated gifting campaign that takes all the work out of thinking up ways to check in with employees without scaring them deeper into the murky waters of disengagement 

Yeah, we’re a gifting tool - and a great one at that. But the true value that Gifted brings to remote teams is the gift of an appreciated and engaged workforce. HR is complicated. Gifted is simple. Be the G.O.A.T of remote team engagement with our easy-to-use gifting campaigns.