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How to gamify the remote work experience to keep employees engaged

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Now that so many employees are working from home, the line between personal life and work-life has blurred irrevocably. For some employees, productivity is going up. For others, it’s hard to focus and burnout is up, especially for those with young children at home. The truth is that even before the outbreak of coronavirus, disengagement was at an all-time high of 87%, according to the Gallup report, “State of the Global Workplace.”

How do we keep employees engaged and maintain a sense of work culture while working remotely?

Interestingly enough, the answer is the same whether we’re in the office or not: get to know your employees. That might feel even harder now, but it doesn’t have to be. All you need are the right tools.

Make gathering data fun
Create a fun way to learn more about your employees — to the extent that it would be appropriate and they would feel comfortable to share. No one wants to fill out a survey that feels cold and impersonal. But, when you turn the experience into a game with a real reward — gaining insight into themselves — you have greater buy in. In designing the experience, be creative and give it the time and depth it deserves. It’s far more than a simple ice breaker or get to know you activity. Keeping threads of connection strong and vibrant during the current working environment is more important than ever.

Put the plan in action
Whether via a lightly produced website, email or SMS, you can employ the latest in personality type research to help your employees see themselves with greater clarity. Another route is to gamify the experience, because why shouldn’t it be fun? We often rely on a false delineation that what is serious is meaningful and what is fun is frivolous, but that kind of black-and-white thinking simply doesn’t match reality. This could look like a card-sorting activity where employees select qualities they would use to describe themselves as a way to create a comprehensive picture of who they are both in and out of the workplace.

As such, you need to think about output. What will your employees receive as a result of this activity? A canvas that brings this comprehensive picture to life? A text description of their personality? Not only should the experience be fun, but the result should be fun, too, as well as meaningful and engaging. What’s more, the fun doesn’t need to end there. You can create personalized tracks that match your employers’ profiles — people who are more health-minded could follow a wellness track while those who are more concerned with finances could follow an investment-related track, or whatever would suit them best.

Keep track of analytics
What’s so powerful about these activities is not only what your employees learn about themselves, but also what you learn about them. That’s why it’s important to have analytics baked into these personalized tracks — so you can learn and so they can measure the progress they’re making. How will you motivate them to keep making progress? That’s up to you. Perhaps there’s a financial incentive. If you want to stick with gamification, employees could receive badges as they work through the program, or perhaps calls could revolve around these activities so that they’re brought into the day-to-day.

No matter how you decide to go about this, the result is likely to be rich and varied. Not only will you learn about your employees values and objectives, but you’ll likely reflect on them yourself. Employees will feel more motivated to take part if you’ve got skin in the game.

As you glean these insights, you should incorporate your findings into the workplace. How can your work culture better match the values of your employees? How can personal goals be achieved alongside professional ones? These are the questions of the 21st century and it’s time we answered them.

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