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The pandemic has and will continue to have an effect on our lives at home and at work. Employees' needs are changing with the working climate and evolving restrictions, both physically and mentally. This calls for a heightened sensitivity around any anxieties that employees may have around returning back to the office or continuing to work from home. 

In order to overcome these challenges and ensure the safety and comfort of employees, employee engagement should be considered as a heightened priority for corporate teams.

While the physical restraints of not attending an office remain (due to logistical challenges; proximity to others, lift usage and impact on public transport systems), the government has provided some helpful advice for working from home and highlighted some psychosocial hazards that may impact employee's mental health (and in turn - employee engagement). 

It’s important to check the current and most up to date information on restrictions based on each individual state or territory. 

What we know is the changing working patterns have had an effect on employee engagement - in both positive and negative ways. The key to sustaining the engagement is to create an environment that’s agile enough for employees to design their own journey within the business, and support them.

We’re encouraged to continue thinking creatively, using any benefits from this time and leveraging them to create a better than ever environment. This might look like rotating in-office schedules (also practically helpful to reduce the risk of spread/social distancing), putting in extra hygiene measures (temperature checks, hand sanitiser and hand washing) and encouraging employees to use outdoor space to recharge. All these efforts should have a focus on driving positive employee morale and comfort and have a lasting and long term benefit to the business.

For our team, we have been focusing efforts towards helping brands navigate through the situation. One of the suggestions is creating a playlist so guests/employees can simultaneously listen to the same music, much like you may be doing when in the office, together. 

Recently a few of our team members even volunteered some of their time at Acre Pocket Farm to connect and give back in a socially distant, COVIDSafe way. 

Additional ideas could be remote yoga or pilates, providing access to mental health apps, or even hosting virtual social drinks and trivia nights. We’ve also created a COVID-19 Events & Brand Experience Hub where you can find more resources to help your brand navigate through the current climate.

We often look to major/global tech companies as examples for best in class. Twitter has announced that if employees can work from home, they can continue to do so forever. There is a momentum towards expanding work from home policies and many look to see how larger conglomerates such as Google and Facebook will adjust their long term policies (currently working from home until the end of 2020). 

Without physical connection - the balance between online/digital and in person is a difficult one to get right. Some things that work in the office don’t quite resonate online and vice versa. Having the same access to people all around the world is great opportunities however finding an organic connection online needs to be more considered. At Atlassian, this looks like a Disney music marathon or a Star Wars Hackathon. 

As experienced organisers, it is essential to help maintain these structures while working at home. All while having the leniency to take more risk to create space for fun and try things we wouldn't usually. This is because audiences have grown a tolerance for things that may not have traditionally been seen as opportunities.

Investing in digital employee engagement strategy can have a larger impact as the reach for the effort is much broader than the number of attendees physically attending. The metrics now revolve around factors such as employee stress and anxiety levels.

Looking forward, conceptualisation and development of your employee engagement strategy can be carried out with precision and detail so reach out and we can help you investigate new formats, processes and designs to help you and your employees to navigate through this change

Get in touch with us to arrange a workshop to discuss alternative ways to engage your employees. In the meantime, our team have pulled together a COVID hub for more information.