Maintaining Employee Engagement While Working From Home

Author: Eugenija Steponkute
Published: 20/04/2020
employee engagement

If you have discovered your business runs better being remote and you plan on keeping this model - this article is for you. We wrote it as a guide for business owners and team managers to help them keep employee engagement while working from home. And to drive it higher than it has ever been.

Starting in the spring of 2020, companies across all industries were forced to embrace remote working. For those with no prior experience with this model, this was a challenging period of adaptation. However, lifting the restrictions didn’t make everyone sigh with relief and pile back into the office. First of all, the gradual process wouldn’t permit it. Instead, it started the second phase of adaptation: hybrid working. But now, with no restrictions left, we observe a curious phenomenon. Companies that struggled to adapt to either full or partial remote working are actually voting in favour of not re-populating their original premises.

In fact, some companies have made a firm decision not to come back to the physical office. That includes giants like Google and Quora. If you have also decided to keep your teams permanently remote, this article is for you. Because the topic we are covering today is how to keep employee engagement in a work-from-home environment going.

Remote Working Lives On

Whether the company expanded beyond its premises or decided to utilise a wider talent pool that isn’t restricted by location, the reasons why organisations decide to remain remote vary. On the big part, however, it’s influenced by the jump in productivity. Many businesses saw it after they’ve gone past the primary revenue dip caused by the adaptation period. In fact, the companies that decided to go fully on-site-based are now the minority.

Many global corporations choosing to move their offices strictly to the digital space set a tone for smaller enterprises. What many don’t take into consideration when copying industry giants, however, is that the transition wasn’t made without a plan. And that huge resources that are unavailable to most businesses were put to use when strategising the move. This doesn’t mean smaller businesses have no hope to succeed in becoming fulling remote though. This means, however, they will need to spend more time thinking the process through to ensure their performance, including employee engagement, doesn’t drop. And that’s what we want to advise you on today.

8 Tips for Employee Engagement While Working From Home

Here are some quick actionable tips to keep your remote teams engaged:

  1. Provide a less formal team communication channel

  2. Organise non-work related activities like an after-work pop quiz

  3. Introduce flexible hours

  4. Start utilising collaboration platforms

  5. Dedicate time for 1-on-1 meetings 

  6. Keep tabs on the workers’ well-being to avoid burnout

  7. Offer opportunities for personal and professional development

  8. Acknowledge the work of your staff and give them credit

Next, we will focus on slightly more complicated and in-depth ones. While they will take more time and effort, however, they will also bear more long-term results. 

Prioritise Flexibility

One thing we’ve collectively learned in the lockdown is the importance of being flexible. Even if you feel you haven’t got the remote working arrangements nailed, you shouldn’t rush to introduce a new set of rules. If anything, the determination to carry on functioning as a remote or hybrid office entails your willingness to remain flexible. Neither of these work models can run efficiently nor nourish employee satisfaction if they aren’t fluid and accommodating at the core. 

Bend the Rules

Bear in mind that some of your team will be juggling work and taking care of their families now that they will be permanently stationed at home. It’s important to show understanding and empathy towards their situation. One way to do this is by allowing flexible working. These times are anything but ordinary, so adjust your working practices accordingly. Start by relaxing rules around work times. For instance, shorten the working day or allow staff to set their own hours. Then consider allowing more time for certain projects or tasks, or putting non-essential work on a backburner.

If you are considering a hybrid office instead of a full work-from-home environment, drive employee engagement by allowing them to choose what are their preferred days of attending the physical office. It’s recommended you set clear demands of how many days a week one needs to be present. But we don’t suggest being strictly married to the requirement. Think of your worker's individual working preferences. Some of the more sociable ones will be wanting to spend more time working in person. Others, who may be spending a lot of time on the commute, would prefer to be present less frequently.

Embrace Digital Tools to Boost Interaction

Many people have friends who are also colleagues and consider the office a place to socialise as well as work. This means many employees who live alone could be finding it particularly difficult without this daily, human interaction. Thankfully, there are a wealth of digital tools available to keep everyone connected. A good idea is to set up an online ‘break room’ where your team can talk about things that aren’t work-related. Slack’s instant messaging platform is good for this, or you can set up a WhatsApp group.

Consider tools like Microsoft Teams or Zoom for weekly team video chats. They shouldn’t be mandatory or work-related. A half an hour long call spent talking about anything and everything can keep your team’s spirit going. And it certainly won’t disrupt their work day.

Treat Your Staff Right

Some of your staff might not be thrilled to learn they will not be coming back to the office. The older employees are usually less tech-savvy and therefore value in-person collaborations more. However, the younger workers may be found in opposition too, as they might feel they’re missing out on learning from their peers. As an employer, you need to help everyone on your team to adapt to the new setup accordingly. Be it through alleviating their anxieties or through addressing their need to socialise with their colleagues.

Encourage Professional Development

As mentioned in the opening paragraph, your new starters or younger employees may be worried they’re not improving their professional skillset. Such thoughts can be frustrating and, potentially, make them reconsider whether they should continue working for your company. For this reason, you should make it known that you care about their growth. Assign a more experienced employee to become their mentor or offer to have weekly 1-on-1 sessions with you to catch up on how they are doing.

In regards to more senior employees, you might find that their work has reduced significantly. This could be a great chance for them to focus on their professional development. You can support this by:

  • Working with them to identify which skills they’d like to learn or develop.

  • Finding relevant resources – these may be online guides, webinars or websites such as SkillShare or Hubspot Academy.

  • Covering the costs of online courses.

Ramp-up Support

Working remotely, especially if it’s not a choice, can cause stress and anxiety. Both can go on to impact engagement and morale among employees. That’s why it’s important to offer extra support to staff if you have recently moved to work on a full work-form-home model. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Make sure all employees are given contact details of who they can talk to within your business if they are worried or have any queries;

  • Share weekly updates about your business and steps you’re taking to safeguard your company – some employees could be worried about job security, so doing this could help put their minds at ease;

  • Send links to information or articles you think your employees would find useful, for instance on topics such as supporting mental and physical wellbeing during the crisis;

  • Make time for one-to-one video calls with each of your employees so you can ask how they’re coping and if they need more support.

Improved Employee Engagement in Work-from-Home Settings

Maintaining consistently great results is something every business strives for. However, this should not become the limit and you should therefore continue aiming higher. While the primary goal of going fully remote should be ensuring there are no drops in employee engagement, you will eventually need to start looking into growing it further. This is when you are likely to face a new set of challenges, but fret not - you most likely already have the tools needed for tackling them.

Working from Home with Timesheet Portal

Timesheet Portal is a cloud-based solution that allows you to remotely manage the majority of your business’ daily processes, including things like employee time tracking, expenses, invoicing and document storage. Our software is a perfect solution for all types of businesses, especially those that are moving away from the physical office. Designed to streamline processes and build efficient workflows, we can help your team to adjust to remote working in no time.

From the number of features to endless customisation options, we’ve created our solution to adapt to you instead of the other way around. Whether you’re looking for ways to build your processes from scratch or to improve the existing ones - Timesheet Portal has you covered. We’ve been a remote working-friendly software long before the pandemic, and so we offer years of experience in optimising an employee engagement-driving work-from-home environment.


You might have learned your business is most efficient when your teams work remotely. And if that’s the case, you shouldn’t feel pressured to go back into the office. However, before you make a decision to remain either fully remote or hybrid, it’s important to remember not everyone on the team might share the sentiment. It should therefore be among your priorities to ensure all of your employees are adjusting well to the permanent change.

Additionally, keep in mind that the rushed implementation of solutions and strategies picked up during the lockdown won’t sustain your business in the long run. You need to think ahead and create a strategy you can then begin stacking up for. From flexible hours to new ways of onboarding and nurturing starters, previously core operations of your business are bound to change. Although challenging at first, we promise it is worth the effort for the traditional 9-to-5 office model will soon be nothing but a memory. It’s time to innovate.

Ready to step towards the future? Let us guide you.

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Timesheet Portal online software provided by Anfold Software Ltd, a registered company in the UK.