16 ways to boost remote employee engagement

February 23, 2024 By Kit Germeroth

Teams with high levels of employee engagement are happier and more productive, and experience lower levels of staff attrition — but when your employees are remote, engagement can be a challenge. In response to a 2023 Gallup survey, just 28% of remote employees said they felt connected to their organizational mission and purpose. This is down from 36% in 2021.

As remote employees work in isolation, there isn’t always a strong sense of company culture and, because workers can’t simply pop by a co-worker’s desk, there are communication barriers to overcome. That makes engagement trickier than it is for office-based teams. 

Luckily, though, there are lots of ways you can make a real difference to the wellbeing and performance of your WFH teams. It’s just a case of being more intentional and inventive when it comes to engagement ideas. Here, we look at 16 great employee engagement activities for remote workers.

16 remote employee engagement activities

Ready to boost engagement at your organization? Try weaving these remote employee engagement activities into your work days.

1. Virtual coffee breaks or team lunches

Remote workers miss out on the water cooler conversation that is vital for building strong workplace relationships. Give them the opportunity for informal chat by scheduling virtual coffee breaks and shared team lunches. There are even virtual water cooler tools that you can integrate with Slack.

2. Virtual icebreakers

Remote employee engagement activities are particularly important for new hires. You want them to feel part of the team as soon as possible. One of the ways you can improve the employee onboarding process for remote workers is by running virtual icebreakers.  

3. Virtual mentoring

Employees who have mentors are more confident and engaged. So make mentorship part of your company culture for all employees. Assign mentors to mentees, then use online communication channels for regular 1-1s, goal setting, and accountability sessions.

4. Game nights and quizzes

Another way to build a stronger team dynamic? Game nights, virtual escape rooms, and quizzes help teams to get to know each other better. Plus, they’re a lot of fun too.

5. Shout-out channels

Using a dedicated channel or a dedicated hashtag, employees can shout-out the great work or effort of their co-workers. Giving or receiving recognition is great for engagement and it gives everyone a little extra incentive to bring their A-game.

Check out different employee recognition software options to incorporate it into your company culture even more.

6. Virtual town hall meetings

Quarterly town hall meetings with someone from senior leadership are a great way to realign and engage your workforce. For remote teams, run your town hall virtually. Give teams an update on successes, goals, and current strategy to get everyone pulling in the same direction.

7. TED-style talks

Set up a regular online discussion using the TED Talks format. Pick thought-provoking topics related to your industry or employee development, then let employees take to the (virtual) stage to share their thoughts and insights.

8. Book clubs

Whether you pick fiction or nonfiction, topics related to their interests or your industry, a book club is a great way to bring teams together. Get willing employees to read and then discuss a book on a monthly or bi-weekly basis.

9. Buddy calls

Remote teams can end up working in silos, but you can help them feel more connected to the wider organization by setting up buddy calls. Randomly pair employees who don’t usually work together, then get them to share a 15-minute virtual coffee break. Work chat optional.

10. Provide remote working perks

Remote employees don’t get the little daily pick-me-ups that come from office-based perks. So consider sending perks to their homes, like snacks, a subscription for a popular streaming service, a membership of a gym close to home, or a workstation upgrade.

11. Virtual birthdays and anniversaries

Don’t let the birthdays and work anniversaries of your remote team fall below the radar. Celebrate the occasion by sending well wishes in the team chat so their co-workers can join in on the celebration. If it’s within your budget, consider sending something special like an e-gift certificate. 

12. Fitness challenges

Get everyone moving with a fitness-focused remote employee engagement activity. A fitness goal — like reaching a certain number of steps or attending a virtual fitness class — will introduce some healthy competition and bring wellbeing benefits for your team, too.

13. Bring foodies together

Humans have always bonded through sharing food. Ask your team to share their favorite recipes, then have others share photo results and reviews after attempting the recipes.

At Moodle, our team updates a company cookbook throughout the year. Being a global team, it’s a great way for us to learn more about each other’s cultures through food, and a great excuse to try new recipes.

14. Employee engagement surveys

When employees work remotely, they sometimes struggle to make their voice heard — but this is key to employee engagement. Send out surveys to gauge the mood and gain the opinions of your team. Letting your employees give anonymous responses is a good way to get honest and useful insight.

15. Mindfulness sessions

When remote workers spend so much time at home, they can end up with an always-on mentality. Give employees the chance to switch off and reset with a virtual mindfulness or meditation session. You’ll improve their wellbeing and help energize them for the week ahead.  

16. Online training and development opportunities

Remote employees shouldn’t miss out on L&D opportunities, particularly because this is a key driver of employee engagement. Use an online training and development platform to help them develop skills and progress in their careers.  

Keep remote employees engaged with the right LMS

If you incorporate just a few of these employee engagement activities for remote employees, be sure to include online training and development. Employees say that a vibrant learning and development culture is key to their workplace engagement — but remote employees aren’t getting their fair share of L&D opportunities.

They currently spend a quarter less time learning than their office-based counterparts. So there’s a responsibility on managers and business leaders to make training more accessible to all employee groups — including those who work from home.

That’s where the right learning management system (LMS) can make all the difference.

An LMS — like Moodle Workplace — is available to your employees whether they’re based at home or in the office. With personalized learning pathways, engaging lessons, and mobile learning features, it’s a surefire way to boost remote employee engagement.

Learn more about using an LMS for remote employee engagement

Explore Moodle Workplace’s features to learn more about how it can help boost remote employee engagement.