Humans, not resources

Over 14.6 million people are still working from home; missing their colleagues and the hum of office hubbub. We are too and we know just how hard it can be sometimes. But in a time when we’ve never been more apart, we want to know how you have been bringing your people closer together.

Share your story with our community of how you have been bringing your people closer together.
Latest Message: 1 year, 6 months ago
  • Amy Buckley : Time in the diary for cuppa and non work chat has worked well, feels more personal and less forced than a quiz etc. 😊
  • Melissa Gauge : Prioritise and plan. When you know what you need to do and allocate when you’re going to do it, the rest falls into place. Follow the 80/20 rule. You can’t be perfect 100% of the time. If you get distracted, you get distracted. Don’t be too harsh on yourself. Tomorrow is another day.
  • Carlyn McNamara : Group webinars with an educational component, but something that allows for relationship building and engagement with remote workers
  • Trever Rappleye : We began to have a "Big win Monday" on Zoom video each week. It has paid off so great - everyone goes around for 2 minutes and tells the rest of the team their big win! There are so many tasks to do from home - that I want to make sure my team feels appreciated.
  • Cassandra Kalunga : Have regular catch ups / Keeping in Touch meetings with your line manager regarding workloads and well-being. Be open with any adjustments to your usual working contractual arrangements which may need to be considered. Partner with your line manager and HR if flexible working arrangements are required.
  • Chris Bowen : I wake up at 7am everyday and get myself up out the door for a walk or a run, it really helps me feel like I've just done my morning commute I then grab a shower, coffee and breakfast ready to start my day right. In the evening after work I do a nice walk with my wife and our little dog to make myself feel like I've left the office, it really does break up my work day.
  • Amanda Byrne : We did breakout sessions in zoom. So we let zoom select who was in which room, about 4 people and gave them a positive question to discuss to help break the ice, ie, name one positive thing you’ve experienced during the pandemic. We’ve had great feedback with people talking to others who they haven’t seen since we left the office in March.
  • Laura Timmis : Using emojis in informal emails between team members can help soften a message and relay tone, but be careful whom you send emojis. Only use in informal communication with people you know will not mind.
  • Kathrine Thorgaard : "We have a social meeting each week where we have a game, quiz or the like prepared. Purpose is to have a good time together and also share concerns and challenges during working from home. We also short coffee meetings where we drink a cup of coffee together and some Fridays we call each other and drink a virtual beer together. We would love to do more and it also considering other activities like virtual walks."
  • Jessica Gatliff : "One of the most challenging things is to separate your private life from your professional life. The most important advice I can give you is to maintain a separate phone number that you only use for business purposes. This can be a VOIP number from Google (called Google Voice). This will help you set work-life boundaries."
  • Paul Kidd : I would say my number one tip for working from home is to start the day off with A WALK. I find going for a brisk walk in the morning not helps me get fit but importantly declutters my mind.

Uncover the ever-changing landscape of employee engagement, highlighting how to utilise the remote environment to bring your workforce closer than ever

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Impact of COVID-19 on employee connectivity

The Changing Landscape: Employee Engagement

Of employees are not engaged in their workforce
Of companies with highly engaged workforces are more profitable
Of employees who feel their voice is heard are more likely to perform their best
Of UK managers believe their workers are more at risk of burnout due to the pandemic

As far as buzzwords go, employee engagement will always be on the tip of the HR community’s tongue, with initiatives proving to make employees more productive, customer-focused and loyal. This is also demonstrated within our own research, ‘HR in 2021: trends, challenges and priorities’, with 63% of HR leaders making employee engagement their number one priority this year, a 4% increase from 2020.

However, the current state of employee engagement is in serious limbo. Since the arrival of COVID-19 and the introduction of national lockdowns, even the most positive and productive people are experiencing stress and anxiety levels that have never been felt before.

Four tips to help bring your employees closer than ever before

Employee Engagement Techniques

Lead with direction and compassion

Taking into account the unfortunate length of time COVID-19 has been around, by now, HR should have a transparent plan of action. It’s important that you communicate stages or processes to your staff, ensuring they understand what strategies are in place to make work easier.

However, you can also be creative in how you direct this communication. Now more than ever, employees need leaders to show empathy and a sound level of understanding, so why not create an informal video message to help boost engagement levels from the get go.

Continue to share regular updates, host virtual Q&As, have weekly informal chats between colleagues and monthly Town Hall sessions where employees are kept in the loop, while having a chance to voice their own opinion.

Involve your team

Now your employees are operating remotely; there are going to be a number of distractions that can cause disruption. Coupled with further elements such as disengagement and loneliness, it’s never been more important than to make your employees feel like humans, not resources.

Samantha, a Field Trainer found that rotating the planning and hosting of weekly/monthly meetings while adding ice breakers to tactical meetings can help involve the workforce.

“Make it clear to everyone that engagement is a goal for the team and be consistent about hosting team building meetings. I’ve done team quizzes to help get to know one another, this or that PowerPoints to lead discussions around team commonalities, or just pose a random question to the group like what’s your favourite show to binge on Netflix – that can get people really excited!”

Share your appreciation

According to a study, 40% of employees who do not feel meaningfully recognised would not go above their formal responsibilities to get their job done. From an HR perspective, there will have been many shining examples of colleagues going the extra mile to help the organisation, so it’s only fair these superstars get rewarded.

  • Host a virtual awards night
  • Use your HR system’s social recognition feature to praise staff for their efforts 
  • Post a thank you card with a unique appreciation note
  • Pay for company-branded treats such as cupcakes
  • Allow employees to nominate their heroes behind the screen
  • Praise your workforce with personalised video messages
Integrate technology

Tools that incorporate virtual technology, social networking, and online portals make employee engagement limitless. While we are trapped indoors, the expansion of business technology can elevate communication by allowing information to be interchanged through multiple channels simultaneously.

Jennifer, a Program Manager, had this to say about intertwining engagement and technology.

“I’ve participated in a few calls with great companies lately, who all integrate Slack into their workplace for engagement. There are some tools within the platform to pair employees for random coffee dates and discussion boards. If that’s not possible, I’ve also heard of success with standing Zoom times for employees to connect with each other!”

Exploring connectivity stories from our very own

Natural HR Family’s Working From Home Tips

Stephen Holdnall, Implementation & Training Specialist

I like to separate work and home out on my computer by using two separate web browsers. Chrome for work and Firefox for personal use. That way my bookmarks and site notifications don’t draw my attention away from what I’m doing.

Natalie Davies, Senior Marketing Executive

Getting up at a reasonable time (not in a panic at 8:45am!), taking a shower and getting ready as if I was going into the office really helps me to get into ‘work mode’ and sets me up for the day ahead.

Mike Rennison, Developer

The best trick I know is to put on a pair of shoes when you’re working. It puts your brain into the mindset that you’re not at home.

Chris Bourne, Head of Marketing

Always set clear working and home patterns so that your time balance is similar to working away from home. While working from home, grab yourself a second screen and a good chair – your eyes and back will thank you later!

Chris Bowen, Product Manager

I wake up at 7 am everyday and get myself up out the door for a walk or a run. In the evening after work, I do a nice walk with my wife and our little dog; it really does break up my work day.

Reece Baggott, Marketing Executive

I like to start each day by making my bed. Despite being a small matter, it helps create a sense of accomplishment and sets the tone perfectly, enhancing my productivity and mindset from minute one of the working day.

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How Natural HR can help you to bring your people closer together

Employee Pulse

Gauge the feelings of an employee on a given day, presenting the perfect opportunity to act on their wellness.

Employee Recognition

Reward high-performing employees, promote success and provide the recognition your workforce deserves.

Engagement Surveys

Monitor happiness, satisfaction and progress levels, all in a remote environment.

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