Skip to main content

As the situation in Ukraine evolves, businesses should be mindful of potential risks to their people, assets, operations, or supply chains in the region and globally. Marsh, as part of the Marsh McLennan family of companies, has created a page with information, tools, and resources related to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Please visit the page for the latest information.

January 13 2021

How Do You Keep Employees Engaged During The Pandemic?

An optional subtitle goes here aenean eu leo quam ornare sem lacinia. Quam venenatis vestibulum.

Courtney Patt




  • Clarity is essential - setting clear expectations is especially crucial when most of us are working from home.
  • Schedule shorter, more frequent meetings and make them less formal.
  • Personal conversations can help build connection and create a balance between work and home life.

The Harvard Extension School did a study on remote management and discovered that “managing a virtual team requires managers to double down on the fundamentals of good management, including establishing clear goals, running great meetings, communicating clearly, and leveraging team members' individual and collective strengths.”

Optional caption here

But in order to accomplish all of that, managers need to keep employees engaged and empowered. And, because many, if not most, of any company’s employees are working remotely, that goal has become more difficult than ever.

For example, the Harvard study found that, without the clear boundaries that office life provides, many of the most productive employees can find themselves spinning their wheels, with workdays that never end. All this does is set them up for becoming exhausted and resentful.

Keeping motivation high is also difficult. Situations like working from home because of the pandemic can begin with excitement and energy but eventually grind down as the situation drags on.

But a remote team that can feel organically part of a strong company culture will find it easier to remain engaged, motivated and productive.

Managing remotely isn’t the same as managing in-person — except it is

Managing remotely because of the pandemic is pretty much like managing in-person — emphasis on the “pretty much.” The fundamentals and best practices of good management are still applicable, but they need to be used and presented in a much different way.

You need to adjust to and make the best use of technologies and communication techniques you might not be accustomed to using...and you definitely need to pay more attention to the “who” as well as the “what.” It’s tough to do a managerial “walk around” to see how people are doing, engage in small talk and just be present (in a good way).

Managing remotely can be complicated. Add a dash of national emergency, and it becomes even more challenging to engage employees. As organizations across the world transition to a partial or fully work-from-home environment in response to COVID-19, understanding what managers need to lead remotely is a must.

"While some managers are busy decorating their home office and celebrating not having to commute, others will resent forced isolation and feeling disconnected from their people"

Of course, not all managers view remote work the same way, especially when it's driven by circumstance rather than choice. Some managers will embrace a little separation from their teams -- they may even see it as an opportunity to get some uninterrupted work in. Others get energy and focus from their people and will feel isolated and less in a position to help their teams and their organization when they aren't in the office every day.

So while some managers are busy decorating their home office and celebrating not having to commute, others will resent forced isolation and feeling disconnected from their people. And, according to Gallup, because 70% of an individual's engagement is driven by their manager, it's crucial that leaders individualize to best support them.

This pandemic lockdown has been hard on everyone, but particularly hard on younger employees. They’re often the ones just starting a career; they have young children; and they are possibly more social.

Remote supervisors who demonstrate confidence as well as find ways to empower their employees are getting better results.