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6 tips to boost engagement in your virtual workforce

Are you prepared for the rise of the long-term home worker?

In the last few months, UK employees have moved from office work to working from home. Powered by the belief that it would only be for a few weeks. Yet, as time goes on it becomes clear that the workforce will be at home for much longer than anticipated. If home working becomes the new norm, then HR leaders must ensure they are doing everything to get it right.

There is the physical challenge remote working creates. Do employees have the right equipment to do their jobs? Are they in the right environment to work? Home workers face mental challenges too. How do they stay motivated and engaged while they are away from the office and their colleagues?

There are many ways you can increase engagement and help your virtual teams thrive while they are working from home. Here are six of our favourites:

    Phone more, email less

    As humans, we tend to assume the worst when something isn’t clear. Our negative bias may have kept us safe from predators as cavemen, but it isn’t helping us as modern workers. We are more likely to email each other when working at home which increases the opportunity to misinterpret information.

    A simple way around this is to encourage colleagues to pick up the phone and call each other instead of writing an email. In most cases, a call will resolve the query and won’t leave the employee wondering what the other person meant.

      Schedule ‘coffee breaks’

      Informal chatter is a huge part of working life, how many people come into work to sit in silence all day? Working from home should be no different. Yet studies have shown that remote workers struggle with loneliness and find it difficult to mentally switch off after work.

      By introducing virtual ‘coffee breaks’ with other team members, you can encourage staff to take a break from work worries and make time for casual chatter. This will help to reduce stress and increase trust and engagement within teams.

        Don’t be shy

        Do you encourage your teams to use webcams? If you’re only sticking to voice calls, then you’re missing a valuable opportunity to help your employees connect.  The webcam allows people to read colleagues' expressions and body language. It also helps to get extra information we wouldn't have picked up on otherwise. Lead by example and always having your webcam switched on when you’re in a meeting and ask managers to do the same.

          Encourage regular check-ins

          121s between managers and team members are important when home working. Without a visible presence in the office, it can be easy for someone to slip through the cracks. Scheduling weekly check-ins will help managers keep updated on their team’s wellbeing and performance. Again, it’s crucial to encourage openness and trust so employees feel like they can come to their manager with any concerns.

            Increase company communication

            Help employees stay connected to your organisation with virtual company-wide meetings. Invite senior leaders and allow employees to ask questions so they feel appreciated.


              The tech employees use daily has a huge impact on their engagement. If your employees are stuck using outdated and clunky legacy systems, then now is the time to upgrade. By using cloud-based software, you can make sure your staff are working with real-time information in a secure environment. Arming them with the right tools for the job will boost engagement and they’ll thank you for it.

              Learn more about our award-winning cloud-based payroll software here.