As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect how Americans live and work, we have been in “pandemic times” for long enough to recognize patterns about how employees stay engaged with their employers and what companies can do to maintain employee engagement.In many parts of the country, employees remain in a predominantly remote work environment. While companies have made adjustments, remote employees are more prone to isolation and organizational silos due to a lack of socialization that's common with virtual workplaces. Add this to the already higher level of stress being felt as we endure a pandemic, and you have a perfect storm for employee disengagement which can diminish not only morale, but productivity too.
We will explore ways to maintain employee engagement through strategic incentives, like gift cards, to keep your workforce engaged and motivated while working remotely.
Remote Work Is Here to Stay
For many organizations, remote work will be with us for the long-term. For some that’s because returning to the office won’t happen until the pandemic risks are significantly reduced, for some organizations that’s because employees, managers and leadership prefer the new setting. According to a June survey done by PwC, 72% of participants would prefer to work away from the office at least two days a week following the pandemic, while 33% preferred not to return to the office at all.
Regardless of the reason, employers need to use this quarter to prepare employee engagement initiatives for 2021. Many organizations, including household names like Google and Amazon are adapting their engagement strategy to support employees in setting up dedicated workspaces at home, with perks like expense allowances for work-from-home equipment. Taking this type of approach aims at reducing work-specific pandemic related stress. As employees build themselves a workspace as home, they feel like they can “step into their office” each day and not only be productive but separate their workspace from their kitchen, dining area or couch.
Gift cards can be used in any denomination to help employees fill the void of the office perks they might be missing. Instead of a catered lunch, provide employees with a DoorDash gift card. Missing the annual flu clinic? Send CVS® gift cards for use on healthy items or incentivize them to get flu shot. Gift cards are budget-friendly , easy to deliver, and can be a great way to re-engage employees and support their work from home environment, without completely losing office perks.
The individual stress of the pandemic, quarantine, lack of child and elder care, or any number of individual factors is enough to burn any employee out on its own. Put them all together and the employee burnout rate is higher than ever before. While professional reasons can range from workload and work/life balance to feedback and managerial support, the bottom line is the same: burnout needs to be addressed and actively managed.
While promoting and supporting time away from work is critical, especially as we head into 2021, sometimes employees can’t or don’t want to simply take time off. Showing employees their employer cares and wants to support them through incentives and rewards that go beyond standard bonuses and compensation can be a great alternative.
Burnout is the antagonist of employee engagement so ensuring your workforce is energized and fresh is the first step toward ensuring long-term employee engagement.
eGift Cards: Engagement Tool for These Times
Employee engagement initiatives will require some physical reward or incentive depending on program goals. eGift Card use is on the rise because delivery is instant and contactless making them easy to send and receive. With nearly all Americans shopping online more frequently this year, why not shop for, purchase, and deliver your employee incentives the same way.
At GiftCard Partners we not only have decades of experience in the employee engagement and incentive market, but we currently work with companies who have kept their workforces engaged throughout the pandemic primarily through eGift Cards. These companies have access to over 300 gift card brands that can easily be distributed through our Engage2Reward™ platform. The platform can support an employee engagement program for remote teams regardless of your goals.
- Brands like Best Buy, Apple, and Staples help employees set up their remote workspace for productivity, focus and a real-office feel.
- Meal and food delivery brands like Home Chef and DoorDash can help maintain morale and the social nature of an office or specific team by emulating office perks as employees remain remote.
- CVS supports wellness and allows you to tailor what they can buy with the CVS Select® Card.
- Streaming brands including Showtime, Hulu, and CBS All Access can offer employees an escape from reality, regardless of travel restrictions.