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Dear Work Therapist, how do you increase engagement and excitement?

Dear Work Therapist,

I feel like I've been in a bit of a black hole lately thinking about engagement and excitement. You know, when we're in the office - especially at Atlassian - there are things like the ShipIt candy cart! Or if you want to encourage people to participate in the Atlympics, maybe you can run around the office carrying a torch! Or, if you're thinking about deploying security tokens, perhaps the right thing to do is to become a giant security token and walk around the office helping people sign up. But in this remote world, it's hard to encourage your teammates and peers to feel the excitement of you being there in person and doing these funny things.

What should you do to increase engagement and excitement now that we're all working from anywhere?

A fan


Dear Fan,

Do you happen to know if Community gives out creativity points? Regardless, consider yourself earning FOUR official Christine thumbs-up points.

What I find so relatable to your question, is the loss of shared energy shared when there are people working from the same space. While subtle physical cues, combined audible cheer, and sense of touch may not be replicable from a remote setting, I concur that there are ways to bring excitement and engagement outside of a shared office.

Here are tactical options I've heard work from a handful of companies:

  • Surprise - in the office, sometimes we brought shock and awe through physical surprises. While distributed, can we unbox things from the mail at different times? Our Trello team for example unboxed a gift at the same time that kicked off their Trello Together annual retreat. Positive announcements provided without notice can do something similar. Or a secret group of advocates/champions might collectively DM staff to pump everyone up for an event. As long as folks don't expect it, the element of surprise can turn up the energy dial. 
  • Live, group notice - Few things are critical in learning about sooner than later. So when there are team or company announcements like that (e.g. compensation and benefit perk updates, reaching milestones, events that have short notice), utilize the timeliness. Milk this news by promoting the messages in multiple places. As a marketer, I know that the more you see the same message within a concentrated amount of time, the more credibility, respect, etc you give that message.  
  • One-time shared experiences - Having a shared experience can go a long way. Sometimes, groups concoct unique shared experiences for the sake of team bonding (talk to my offline about my friend's experience rushing for Greek life in college). Examples include themed meetings (e.g. appearing in costumes, eating something with a key ingredient). From past lives, I've seen Slack, Google Hangout, and YouTube comments flood with comments during All Hands meetings so that you know everyone is experiencing news and jokes in the moment. Even unexpectedly listening to a guest speaker without a recording can help everyone be present to something only those present can witness.

But if I were to share what I personally believe, more as a philosophy, I'd say that staff engagement comes from connecting the dots between what workers are doing and meaningful impact. How do you reinforce that what staff are doing actually matter? For starters, through leadership acknowledgment of work, through individual recognition of going above and beyond, through micro-feedback of appreciation, or through documentation where not just the work from a select few teams are included in company activities. This relationship between individual/team and organization-level priorities is what I believe provides a steady drumbeat of motivation and long-term engagement.

Just my $1.99 ;)

Like # people like this

This article is funny and motivating, I'd like to add a few Britta creativity points.

You get a massive creativity points!  I really enjoyed the video... show it on big screens in the office and you're sure to get people engaged

Like Bridget likes this
Kishan Sharma Community Leader Aug 05, 2021

That was so creative @Daniel Eads I enjoyed your video too, you have a great potential for becoming a YouTuber! 

chucktalk Atlassian Team Aug 05, 2021

Great video @Daniel Eads  - still want to know how you pulled off the Yubikey with no visible legs. Intriguing.

Jack Brickey Community Leader Aug 06, 2021

Thank you for making me smile and contemplate things this morning Daniel!!

Like Stephanie Grice likes this
nina_schmidt Community Leader Aug 10, 2021

Simply awesome, @Daniel Eads - as always! 

Always refreshing to see your humour man!

I wish I had my token delivered by Tokenized Daniel.

My two cents? Maybe companies need to start thinking like game creators to induce engagement! 

What an engaging and exciting way of talking about the topic :) Thanks! @Daniel Eads 

Fadoua Community Leader Sep 14, 2021

hahah very funny and clever @Daniel Eads ! 


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