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Adjusting employee engagement

There is no doubt that your working environment has changed. Most of us are working differently today than we were five months ago. Whether those changes required you to work from home, at the workplace with more personal protective equipment, at a workplace with reduced staff and/or schedules, the requirement of face masks, temperature checks, zoom meetings, and physical distancing… or something different; things have changed for everyone. So how do we keep employees engaged and feeling connected? How do we help people feel like they are still a part of a greater organization when we don’t always see the familiar faces every day?

Offer a company wellness challenge!

Burnham had an activity challenge planned that was about to be implemented when the pandemic took a turn and stay at home orders were issued. We had some hesitations about moving forward with the challenge given the circumstances. All of a sudden, a lot of our employees were working from home, and if that’s not enough of a change, their children were home with them. Some were daycare age, some were in school and transitioning to distance learning, and some were in college coming home to finish the semester online. Spouses were also working from home, some lost their jobs, and some were essential employees. Each Burnham employee had their own unique situation, and they were all challenging.

To top it off, Burnham’s activity challenge was called “the Outbreak,” and we wondered, given the current circumstances, if the name was insensitive. The world was and still is a bit surreal. Was it okay to hold the challenge and ask people to do this while doing so many other new things?

After some conversations and conducting an employee survey, we decided to move forward with the challenge, and it turned out to be a really great experience for our employees.

Positive feedback we received:

“Thank you for doing this, it’s a nice distraction during difficult times.”

“I’m loving this challenge; it’s getting me outside more. I have met neighbors I never knew. It’s nice to see faces during this time of social distancing.”

“Everyone on my team is very supportive and encouraging, it’s really refreshing (and not a surprise)! I joined a team that had no one I work with daily and it’s been a fun way to get to know other co-workers.”

“Went on after dinner walks with my wife, spent great quality time together while exercising.  Was great for us to get out.”

“Discovered awesome paths and trails in my neighborhood I never new existed”

“Got my whole family involved and we would do nature scavengers hunts.  My kids loved it.”

“Great alone time to mentally refresh!”

 Our Advice

Offer the challenge! As humans, we crave connection and a sense of accomplishment. A wellness challenge offers this and so much more. Sure, there were some people who decided it was too much and declined to join, and that is alright. For everyone who did participate, we learned that overall they were happy they decided to go for it!

Authored by Cathy Rodriguez and Shannon Thaxton, Burnham Benefits,

For Additional Assistance
Reach out to your Burnham team for any questions on how to best implement a wellness challenge for your workforce, or email us at

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