The pandemic has shifted the way we work, think about work, and socialise. Now that restrictions have eased, employees have returned to the office with a different mindset. Gone are the days when employees commute Monday through Friday and spend the day either at their desk or in meetings. Now that employers are allowing more flexibility in the workplace, how will it affect staff retention?
Will employees become more disengaged and disconnected since less time is spent at the office interacting with other employees? According to the NSW Remote Working Insights 2 report, 76% of remote workers do not want to work remotely full-time and enjoy coming into the office for collaboration, team building, and social contact.
Create a Meeting Experience
Everyone loves meetings, don’t they? As much as people complain about meetings, it allows staff to be together in person. In a room together, you can read someone’s body language, have a quick chat before or after the meeting with a co-worker about what you did over the weekend, contribute ideas, and ask questions. With remote and hybrid work, traditional meetings are challenging to pull off, so it’s important to rethink how to engage with staff and keep them engaged.
- Virtual whiteboards allow for online collaboration on ideas and projects.
- Breakout rooms allow smaller groups to collaborate on topics relevant to their work.
- Polls are a perfect way to engage with employees by asking them questions and gaining insight into their thoughts on different topics.
Provide Professional Development Opportunities
According to LinkedIn’s 2022 Global Talent Trends report, employees believe professional development is the most important factor in improving company culture. Find out what employees are interested in and then look into online classes or workshops that focus on those topics. It’s a great way to keep employees engaged if they are learning and developing skills that help them perform better.
Here are a few examples of what might employees be interested in:
- Short writing courses
- Time management workshops
- Leadership programs
Don’t Skip Team-Building Exercises
Team building exercises help create unity and promote teamwork within a company. It can improve productivity, increase employee motivation, encourage collaboration and build trust among employees. Therefore, team-building is important regardless of where people are working at the time.
- Hold virtual company events that include motivational speakers.
- Organise a mindfulness workshop.
- Set office challenges such as walking challenges or donations raised for a charity.
- Encourage staff to share photos of their daily life, such as pictures of their pets, favourite coffee, etc.
- Ask each staff member to give a 5-10 minute presentation about something that makes them unique.
Organise Ongoing Social Activities
When staff are either remote working or working only a few days in the office, social gatherings get neglected. However, like team-building, social activities help unite employees and provide them with a sense of belonging. Survey your employees and find activities that interest them.
A few examples of ongoing social activities
- An online cooking night
- Online game night
- Virtual book group
- Virtual murder mystery
- Themed days such as Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day, or wear your footy team colours
Feeling connected, collaborating with others, and feeling appreciated are key factors in helping retain staff. The pandemic brought disruption in the workplace as well as every aspect in our lives. Therefore, it’s important to keep employees engaged and included. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic and what has your work done to keep everyone happy!