15 January 2021

Six ways to keep your employees engaged and motivated during lockdown

With England now having entered a third indefinite lockdown, employers should think about the steps they can take to ensure their employees remain engaged, motivated and healthy whilst working from home. We have set out some thoughts on how employers can look to achieve this below.

Encourage employees to establish routines

When working remotely, it is harder for employees to maintain a work-life balance and there is a danger that the line between employees' personal and professional lives will become blurred. As employees no longer have the finality created by leaving the office at the end of the day, their work can pervade all aspects of their home life and this runs the risk of causing heightened stress levels.

Employers can help employees minimise stress by encouraging them to:

  • Establish clear routines
  • Keep up non-work commitments
  • Take regular breaks
  • Undertake physical activity
  • Turn off their work computers at the end of each day
  • Have a designated work station at home

Establish effective channels of communication

Where there are good employer-employee communications, employees will feel less isolated, more valued and have a clearer understanding of what is expected of them. If employees are left feeling like they are on their own and unsupported, they are likely to become overwhelmed and this will undoubtedly impact negatively on the work they produce.

  • Ensure your managers communicate effectively with those they supervise
  • Encourage team meetings to take place virtually
  • Provide junior staff with comprehensive feedback and support
  • Communicate long-term plans to staff
  • Publicise available resources and staff support options

Celebrate success

Employees who go above and beyond their duty without being acknowledged for their achievements are likely to become disengaged and unmotivated. It is important that employers continue to praise employees for their work and recognise when an employee has achieved something special.

Employers can celebrate success and create a positive working environment by:

  • Congratulating individuals during virtual team meetings
  • Internally publicising good work, for example, on the intranet
  • Sending a surprise gift in the post (I hope my boss is reading this…)

Offer opportunities for professional development

Whilst employees who feel they are not equipped with the right skills may feel overwhelmed, employees who feel that they are not developing in their career may feel unmotivated.

Employers can fight against both these problems by ensuring that staff benefit from training and know-how:

  • Arrange remote training sessions to be given by senior staff or external providers
  • Ask team members to give a short session on a subject of relevance, for example, an industry update or a recent issue which they resolved
  • Provide mentors to junior staff

Encourage team-bonding

It is important that employers engender a team spirit and encourage their employees to build positive relationships with each other.

Although it is no longer possible for employers to host away-days or in-person events, employers can ensure their employees are happy in their work by:

  • Hosting virtual social events, such as catch-up coffees and quizzes
  • Setting up small group “buddy sessions”

Mental wellbeing

Employers should recognise that the shift to home working has been, and continues to be, a stressful experience for many. Lack of room at home, children interrupting Zoom calls, dogs barking over conference calls, whatever the reason, life at the moment can be hard.

Employers should:

  • Remind staff of any external resources which are available to them (for example, an employee assistance programme) and think about whether other resources could be made available
  • Provide counsellors or trained mental health first-aiders as a friendly ear
  • Be flexible, to the extent that business needs allow, and understanding of individuals’ personal circumstances

If you have any employment or HR law related issues, please contact Joe Beeston, Senior Employment Associate, in our Employment team.


This note reflects our opinion and views as of 10 November 2020 and is a general summary of the legal position in England and Wales. It does not constitute legal advice.

Employment issues on corporate transactions

With corporate activity starting to increase, we thought it would be useful to consider some of the key employment aspects that can arise on a corporate transaction.

Corporate law graphic - people in an office environment

Our Insights

"Forsters has the depth of resources to deal with all matters."
Chambers UK Guide, 2024