How to Improve your Team Building and Engagement

Ways to Keep your Remote Team Engaged

There is no doubt that COVID-19 has changed the working environment during 2020 in pest control and lawn care. Because of the pandemic, the way we interact with others has changed and businesses of all industries around the world are taking preventative measures. These measures include providing hand sanitizer and face masks to employees who have to work on site, scheduling flexible hours, and staggered shifts, redesigning work spaces for 6 feet of social distancing between employees, encouraging personal hygiene such as washing your hands, and minimizing business-related travel. 

In the pest control industry, companies have continued to run their businesses, incorporating social distancing into their technicians’ regular routes. We have also seen a decrease in regular in-person meetings between management and employees. In addition, companies are limiting when technicians can come pick up supplies in the office. All of these practices are great, however, how do you overcome the drawbacks of working remotely, especially low productivity and the lack of community that comes with remote work? The key is engagement. Employee engagement is key to company success because it promotes retention, productivity, and profitability. When employees are engaged they are more likely to invest in the work they do, which leads to a higher quality of work produced.

Although, as of 2020, working remotely and social distancing are new concepts to most people, it is the new norm. Like anything, businesses must weigh the good and the bad parts of working remotely to successfully serve their employees and push forward in an efficient, effective, professional manner. Working remotely can make employees difficult to manage, have more distractions, and make communication harder. However, by implementing ideas for team building and team bonding in these times you can see results in your engagement, such as increased productivity and better retention rates. You can also combat feelings of disconnect and isolation with a few fun activities per week with your employees.

Whether your team is working remotely or distanced, in a big team or small team, try these fun ideas to keep them engaged:

Games:

  • Make a Company Crossword:
    • Test the knowledge of your team by creating a crossword puzzle full of random company trivia prompts. Use crosswordlabs.com to easily start creating your puzzle.
    •  
  • Host a trivia night:
    • Gather your employees for a socially distanced trivia night over Zoom and have them take a guess at random company trivia questions. We recommend using Kahoot.com for easy question setup and fun multiplayer gaming.
    •  
  • Someone say game night?
    • There are tons of virtual multiplayer games out there, including spin offs of classics. Here are some of our favorite virtual games to play over Zoom:
      • Head’s up
      • Pictionary
    • Check out more fun online team building games.

Food:

  • Treat yo’ employees:
    • Our friends at Blades of Green had lasagna’s for their team to pick up so they had an easy family dinner.
    •  
  • Support local restaurants:
    • Purchase a GrubHub credit and buy from a local restaurant for the next distanced meeting. To ensure social distancing you can even offer curbside pickup to show your appreciation for employees.
    •  
  • Themed Meals:
    • This one is for those who miss eating lunch with everyone in the office. Hop on Zoom for your lunch break or after work hours and spice them up with themes. These are some of our favorites:
    •    •  Taco Tuesday
    •    •  Bring your pet to lunch
    •    •  Happy Hour
      •  
  • Tiny Campfire:
    • Bring your favorite outdoor activity inside and over a Zoom call and enjoy making S’mores together. Give your team members a tiny campfire kit:
    •    •  Graham Cracker
    •    •  Hershey’s Chocolate
    •    •  Mini Marshmallow
    •    •  Toothpick
    •    •  Match
    •    •  Candle

Fun Activities:

  • Crafternoon:
    • Get crafty! Search Pinterest for some fun bug-related crafts. We love all the ideas from Adam’s Pest Control in their weekly Thursday craft day posts.
    •  
  • Host a Talent Show:
    • Allow individual employee interests to shine and have a time of show and tell over a Zoom call. This can happen after hours or over lunch! Make it interesting and have employees guess each other’s hidden talents by releasing a list of what everyone plans to do in the talent show prior to the performances.
    •  
  • Themed Meetings:
    • Although everyday might seem to be pajama day right now – yes we know you have on PJ bottoms when you are on zoom – mix it up with some fun themed meetings. Here are some of our favorite ideas:
    •    •  Mission Impossible Monday
    •    •  Marvel Monday
    •    •  Tie dye Tuesday
    •    •  Wild West Wednesday
    •    •  Wacky Wednesday
    •    •  Throwback Thursday
    •    •  Flannel Friday
    •    •  Spirit Week
    •    •  Christmas in July Day
    •    •  Celebrity look-alike day
    •    •  Crazy hat day

Engage Employees By:

  • Asking for feedback:
    • Make employees feel valued and heard by asking for their feedback on current business processes. Surveys are a great way to gather this information. Bonus if you provide an incentive to take the survey.
    •  
  • Establishing a mentorship program:
    • Engaged employees who work remotely need to feel a sense of community in the workplace. Onboarding new employees and retaining employees especially proves to be difficult while working remotely too. In order to combat this, try implementing a mentorship program in order to promote mental health and allow employees to get to know each other more.
    •  
  • Giving shoutouts: 
    • By shouting out different employees on social media, you make them feel valued and appreciated, but also gain more engaging social media content at the same time. This idea serves as a win-win. We think Arkadia has done a great job in this over the quarantine period.
    •  
  • Encouraging peer to peer recognition: 
    • Use internal communication software, such as slack to your advantage here. Create a new channel (#highfive or #youareawesome) where anyone can give a short and clear shoutout to another team member and tag that person. Everyone else watching the channel can celebrate with emojis and praises.

Get to Know your Employees:

  • Personality assessments:
    • More and more companies are implementing company-wide career personality assessments to learn about how and where employees excel in their role as well as how to best communicate with one another. Your results might surprise you! Below is a list of our favorite personality tests:
    •    •  16 Personalities (aka Myers Briggs Test)
    •    •  Enneagram
    •    •  Communication styles
      •  
  • Get to know you surveys:
    • Create a survey of random questions, preferences, etc. that you can share with your employees. Gather your data and share the results internally with all employees to find commonalities and fun facts about others.
    •  
  • Icebreaker questions:
    • When in doubt a good icebreaker question always helps get to know your employees. Check out this list of virtual team building ice breaker questions.

 

Looking into the future, as a result of the pandemic, the working environment and landscape could drastically change. Experts believe that businesses could start reevaluating which jobs could transition to a virtual setting full time in the future. Based on the way the pandemic has progressed, remote work might stick around longer than you think. A pandemic might be present, but your community and family of employees is strong enough to withstand it. The question is, are you prepared with ideas to keep your remote team engaged? Be sure to try out some of these ideas and have fun doing them!