Following the onset of the pandemic, companies have turned to remote work to continue operations. It may not have been the best setup for all business types, but fast forward to three years, it currently looks like it could be the only way for them to turn in a profit.
Remote work does not come without its downsides as several reports indicate, especially where teams find it challenging to be motivated, and collaborate on tasks and projects in many dispersed formats and across different time zones.
Nonetheless, it’s possible for your remote working team to maintain the same level of work given this the new normal. For the transition of remote work to be successful, you need to give employees a reason to engage with work aside from clocking in time only their salary.
And you can achieve this by gamifying the workplace.
“Gamification” refers to the incorporation of game elements such as point scoring and friendly competition amongst team members in different areas of work activity. The idea is to turn work into a game to make it more exciting and compelling for remote employees.
Below are some popular ways in which you can implement game mechanics to encourage your remote teams.
Set up Task-specific Leaderboards
Employees new to the remote setup will try their best to produce quality work, even through the hurdles posed by it.
However, remote work is not exempt from performance plateau, demotivation, online fatigue, and eventual burnout. In this situation, it’s important for organisations to go the extra mile to build productive teams and make your employees’ jobs much easier – perhaps through leaderboards.
Setting up gamified leaderboards can help remote employees earn points for every successful task they complete. The more tasks they complete, the higher they climb up the leaderboards. Once the month is over, the employees on top of the leaderboards can receive incentives such rewards, badges, and recognition for a job well done.
The point system’s purpose is to motivate employees to do their best and get visibly acknowledged for it. The incentive doesn’t have to be monetary—celebrating their efforts in this way is an open acknowledgement of the valuable role they play in the company.
The gamification results have proved to be a more effective indicator of how the employees fare over time and whether they are due for a raise or promotion. Take the REA Group, for example, which was having issues managing its sales commissions. By using a tool that streamlines their sales with a touch of gamification, the company improved data accuracy and decreased commission disputes.
offer Training to help Move Up Leaderboards
You can’t keep assigning the same tasks to your employees. While you may be efficiently utilising their skills to succeed, they will soon be looking for growth opportunities outside your company if they don’t feel stretched.
The idea here is to drive up team engagement, by taking the steps to prevent team members from feeling underutilised or a lack of belonging.
It is important to recognise their their need to learn and grow professionally, providing access to training – something most employees request and enjoy — and helping them earn more points on the leaderboards in the process.
As innovative remote employers such as Airbnb and Uber have proven, your training and development approach can expand and pay off by including game mechanics. Gamification positively impacts engagement and productivity – it lowers anxiety, opens minds, and encourages innovation by using ‘play’ as a way to enrich and enhance learning among remote teams.
It also helps to “keep score” of good performance that’s much more comfortable for remote employees than formal performance reviews – an opportunity to replace 360-degree reviews with the leaderboards where the points accumulated by your remote workers are used to then review their work performance.
You can purchase relevant training resources that your employees can take advantage of. From here, you can assign points or badges for every module or course that employees complete.
One of the oldest but the most popular example of gamification in business is the Deloitte Leadership Academy (DLA) in 2013. The organisation made learning fun with leaderboards, among other game mechanics, incorporated into the training. The result was a 37% increase in returning users weekly.
Turn Onboarding into Engaging To-Do Lists
With remote work, one of the things employers must learn quickly is how to integrate new hires into their respective teams effectively.
Typically, the project manager sends over the tasks that new employees must do to get started. This includes setting up accounts, learning about company practices, and others. This tedious and impersonal process makes it difficult for employees to stay with a company, let alone get excited about their new jobs.
And as employers and managers who are looking to create the best experience for your workers, what you really want is to motivate your remote team by showing them that they made the right choice by choosing to work for you.
You can start by creating an engaging to-do list of tasks to complete the onboarding process. There should also be a visible progress bar on the platform you’re using to indicate where they are from finishing the process.
Gamifying your employees’ onboarding can also make taking in all information about your company a fun learning experience. Even if your business isn’t interesting, how you present it to new hires makes a world of difference.
Consider creating learning portals that document your business processes and culture. You can even implement visual storytelling to present your company that engages employees in a far more compelling way. All the completed tasks can become a step towards helping add up to employees’ learning experience about your company.
enhance team building via badges and points
It’s easy to take your co-workers for granted in a remote workspace. Unlike a physical office, your communication with them is limited to what you see on screen and hear on your headset. As a result, you can’t cultivate the same level of relationship as office-based employees.
Despite the limitations of remote working, this shouldn’t prevent your team from building camaraderie with each other. To begin with, you could launch virtual employee team building games, where the winners get points added to the leaderboards, allowing them to move up their positions and help sustain their motivation. While the games have little to do with the work they do for your organisation, they nonetheless learn about working together.
Some employee team building activities don’t have to be games at all. For example, 15-minute online coffee breaks in between work hours, or post work online happy hours allow people just to be themselves and interact with one another – a great way to cultivate work friendships if managed well.
Such activities, although not motivated by gamification, could help your employees build teamwork skills that could translate into a better quality of work all around. For instance. Principia organised a culture building team activity for their remote staff. The company brought in a skill development facilitator to hold a virtual session with the team about building their self-awareness to strengthen relationships with one another. What resulted was a more tight-knit team aligned with the company’s goals and visions.
As you can see, gamification allows remote teams to proactively participate in the workplace. They no longer have to sit down, wait for the manager to assign the tasks, complete them, and call it a day.
With game mechanics, remote employees take the initiative by asking to get involved in the projects they want to work on, and seeing it from start to finish. Whether you are considering organising fun getting-to-know-you activities for work, or are looking at effective employee training strategies, the goal is to begin somewhere.
One of the main reasons for gamification’s success for employees is that it creates stakes to what they’re doing. By doing a good job, they can earn points, badges, and awards that you can use to assess their performance, setting them on a path of success to achieve more.
And gamification doesn’t have to be restricted to remote teams alone. You can implement them company-wide so people working in the office can join in the fun too.
By having more people playing to get more points and badges in the leaderboards, the better your teams perform, the more results it’ll bring your company. As the saying goes, a rising tide lifts all boats!
Author: Nina Petrov – Founder, Coffee Bean Digital.
Photo credit: Pikisuperstar on Freepik