10 Actionable Work From Home Employee Engagement Ideas (2023)

10 Actionable Work From Home Employee Engagement Ideas (1)

How to motivate and engage employees working from home?

Wondering how to motivate and engage your employees who are (suddenly) working from home? 🧐

You’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, I’ll share with you 10 actionable ideas you can put in practice right away! They are very easy to implement and cost absolutely nothing.

So let’s dive right into it! 🤿

Remote work: 10 great ideas to engage employees

Here are my favorite ways to motivate and engage remote employees who are working from home:

Employee engagement idea #1: Remote work playbook

Setting clear expectations is the first thing you need to do if you want to ensure high engagement among your employees who are working from home. Do your employees know exactly what is expected of them while they work from home?

To make that clear for all your employees, you should institute a remote work policy or so-called “remote work playbook”. This is a document that explains how your company implements remote work. 📝

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➡️ Remote work playbook should provide clear guidelines for:

  1. Working hours
    Do you have strict working hours or you allow your employees to work whenever they want? At what time of the day should your employees be available online and through which channels?

  2. Regular (online) meetings
    Do you have some regular daily, weekly or monthly meetings your employees should attend?

  3. Communication channels
    What communication channels and tools do you use? Do you use different communication channels and tools for different purposes?

  4. Troubleshooting

Who can your employees turn to for help if they have any difficulties and challenges related to remote work?

💡 Additional useful ideas and examples

Learn from the best! GitLab is the world's largest all-remote company with over 1,300 team members located in more than 65 countries around the world. Check out their “Guide to all-remote”! Zapier is a 100% distributed company with over 300 remote employees in 17 time zones and 28 countries. Check out their “The ultimate guide to remote work”!

Employee engagement idea #2: Regular check-ins

Regular check-ins with your employees are a must when you’re working remotely. Regular check-ins will ensure that your remote teams are on the same page regarding their work duties. However, these meetings have additional value - they will create a sense of togetherness. 🤗

The best practice is to have a daily team or department check-ins, weekly coordination meetings and monthly all-hands meetings. Make sure your team leaders also keep their regular one-on-one meetings as well.

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You can choose to have these meetings via messenger, chat or speaking face-to-face on a video call - whatever works best for your team.

➡️ However, make sure that you have at least some of your check-in meetings via video conferencing tools, with your cameras ON. Nothing can replace the human connection that is formed by looking someone in the eye - even if it is only via video conferencing!

💡 Additional useful ideas and examples

Learn the best tips for short, but efficient check-in meetings!

Employee engagement idea #3: Virtual coffee breaks

At the office, coffee breaks tend to be spontaneous  - people simply swing by  their colleague’s desk and invite them for a quick coffee break. Taking short breaks from work to meet up with colleagues has been proven to be effective for boosting employee engagement and productivity.

This is why you should definitely think about implementing “virtual coffee breaks” when your employees are working remotely. “Virtual coffee breaks” are simply short (usually 15 do 30 minutes long) video calls during which your employees come together for a round of small talk over a cup of coffee. ☕

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(Video) 10 Employee Engagement Activities that Work - Vantage Circle

➡️ Here are some tips to make your “virtual coffee breaks” a success:

  1. Schedule them regularly at predictable times
    Whether you decide to have your company’s “virtual coffee break” once per day or a week, make it predictable. This will make it stick easier.

  2. Establish some ground rules
    Are your “virtual coffee breaks” completely casual and optional? Or do you have some rules (such as: no phones or checking messages, be on time, etc.)?

  3. Keep it up to one to two “tables” max
    If you have larger teams, break your “virtual coffee breaks” into smaller groups so that each person can be heard.

💡 Additional useful ideas and examples

Check out 25 fun ideas for your next “Virtual coffee break”!

Employee engagement idea #4: Fun video meetings

Chances are your employees will have to attend a lot of video calls and meetings while working remotely. That’s understandable because face to face communication is the fastest and easiest way to get all your remote team members on the same page. 📹

However, if you want to keep your employees engaged during your video meetings, make sure not to schedule them too often. Video meetings should be reserved for discussion and urgent issues and they should only involve people who have something to contribute to them.

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➡️ Each of your video meetings has to have a clear purpose and well-defined agenda that is shared in advance before the meeting starts, so everyone can come prepared. It is also a good idea to have a dedicated timekeeper and facilitator. Make sure you rotate these roles and give each of your team members a chance to run a meeting, as this will help keep them engaged.

💡 Additional useful ideas and examples

If you want to additionally spice up your video meetings and make them fun, try with the pet, hat or similar theme. Invite your video meeting attendees to wear a funny hat or show off their pets.

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Employee engagement idea #5: Virtual “water cooler” space

Another thing that’s missing from the virtual office space is the chance for your employees to meet their colleagues by the water coolers and engage in some small talk. “Water cooler talk” is the term used to describe casual discussions between co-workers about non-work-related topics. 🚰

Personal interactions are essential part of each company culture because they make work meaningful and enjoyable. These casual talks provide opportunities for your team members to come to get to know each other better. This is why you should introduce virtual water cooler space!

➡️How to do it? Create a dedicated virtual water cooler space on the Slack or any other messaging chat you use. You can name it simply #watercoolerchat or simply #life. Encourage your employees to share updates, sites, news and fun, non-work related things.

💡 Additional useful ideas and examples

To further engage your employees in this water cooler chat, introduce a daily question, theme or a topic. Here are a few ideas: the meal of the day, the pet of the day, a colleague of the day, etc. Invite your team members to respond with a photo, video or a funny GIF!

Employee engagement idea #6: Online team buildings

While you should always consider organizing onsite team buildings if possible, don’t underestimate the power of online team buildings. Online versions of team buildings can be just as effective! Some people even prefer them because they are more convenient and provide the same sense of togetherness, fun and enjoyment. 🥳

There are many different online activities and games you can use to help your remote employees get to know one another and build stronger connections. What type of team building you should organize should be directed by your company culture and your employees' wishes. Considering suggesting a few options and asking your remote employees to choose the one they prefer.

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➡️Here are just a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  1. Company culture workshop

  2. Hackathon

    (Video) Employee Engagement | Online Engagement Ideas | Engagement ideas for work from home employees

  3. Online board games

  4. Quiz

  5. Gaming session

  6. Karaoke or movie night.

💡 Additional useful ideas and examples

If you’re looking for more ideas, check out these 52 creative virtual team building activities!

Employee engagement idea #7: Online knowledge sharing sessions

According to scientific research, knowledge sharing significantly and positively affects employee engagement. Knowledge sharing among employees enables them to grow at both person and group level, thus driving productivity and innovation. 🤓

Knowledge sharing in the workplace is the process of sharing expertise, information and skills among employees in a company. This process happens relatively spontaneously when employees are working side by side, but when employees are working remotely, you need to put in some effort to structure it.

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➡️ Here are a few good practices that will help you start online knowledge sharing sessions:

  1. Mentoring program

  2. Webinar watching

  3. Book club

  4. Problem-solving workshops

  5. Discussion group

  6. Monthly presentation or a talk.

💡 Additional useful ideas and examples

Check out some more knowledge-sharing best practices!

Employee engagement idea #8: Online recognition ritual

According to Gallup research, recognition not only boosts individual employee engagement, but it also has been found to increase productivity and loyalty to the company, leading to higher retention. Gallup's data reveal that the most effective recognition is honest, authentic and individualized to each employee.

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This is why it is essential that you institute an online recognition system for your remote employees. There are many different ways to do it, but I suggest you start with something very simple and absolutely free.

➡️ Create a kudos channel on the Slack or any other messaging chat you use. Lead by example and start using it to celebrate wins and recognize good work. This online recognition ritual is well accepted by introverts as well, according to Red Shift’s experience.

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💡 Additional useful ideas and examples

(Video) Top 5 Employee Engagement Ideas That Work

Discover additional 20 ideas for employee recognition programs!

Employee engagement idea #9: Friday close-off meetings

When we work on-site, leaving the office symbolizes the end of the workday and workweek. However, when you are working and chilling at the same place, it isn't so easy to maintain boundaries between working and resting.

Thus it comes as no surprise that a comprehensive State of Remote Work 2020 research conducted by Buffer has found that the third biggest challenge of remote employees is unplugging from work.

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This is a very serious problem because staying plugged in means your employees aren’t able to rest, which will eventually lead to burnout. To prevent it, I suggest instituting company-wide so-called Friday close off meetings.

➡️ At the end of the workday on each Friday, gather your team for a short, half an hour video meeting. Use it to acknowledge the work you have done during the week, celebrate your wins and share plans for the weekend.

💡 Additional useful ideas and examples

Check out our practical Guide for HR Professionals: How to avoid burnout and retain your employees?

Employee engagement idea #10: Engagement surveys

Building and maintaining strong employee engagement can be challenging when you have remote employees - especially if they’re not used to remote work. Your remote employees might be facing different challenges, but you won’t know about them unless you ask.

It is not likely your remote employees will feel your daily stand up meetings are an appropriate place to address their concerns. Since face to face time is relatively rare and valuable in the remote working setting, you won’t have the opportunity to see if your remote employees are dealing with some work-related issues. 🧐

This is why you should conduct periodic engagement surveys regularly! Try sending out these surveys at least once a month. That way, you’ll be able to compare results and see if there are any changes or issues that need to be tackled.

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➡️Here a few engagement questions for remote employees you should definitely include in your survey:

  1. What do you think could help us to improve daily communication?

  2. Do you feel like you can easily reach your colleagues when you need them?

  3. How can we help you improve your work from home experience?

  4. Are you happy with your productivity level?

  5. What is the biggest challenge you are currently facing while working remotely?

The most important part of conducting employee engagement surveys is to act on them! Check in with your remote employee who is experiencing challenges and make a plan to successfully tackle those challenging issues.

💡 Additional useful ideas and examples

To help you get started, we created a sample of great employee engagement survey questions!

Top 3 remote employee engagement secrets

I designed the above remote employee engagement ideas with a clear intention. My intention was not just to introduce cool ideas your employees might like and enjoy. While fun and enjoyment is definitely a cherry on the top, each of these ideas is carefully selected to address a specific issue. 🎯

To successfully engage your remote employees, you need to understand them. You need to dive deep and learn about their struggles. Do you know what are the top 3 challenges for employees who are working from home? 🤔

According to Buffer’s State of Remote Work 2019, the biggest struggles related to remote work are:

(Video) What Are Some Low Cost and No Cost Employee Engagement Ideas

  1. Communication

  2. Loneliness

  3. Unplugging from work.

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Buffer found that 19% of remote workers report loneliness as their top work struggle. This is extremely important because remote employees who feel lonely and isolated can experience performance declines of up to 21%, according to Gallup research. 😲

Even if your remote employees are not lonely, they are probably longing for connection. According to a study by Slack, 85% of workers want to feel closer to their remote colleagues.

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💡 Implementing these ideas will help you improve communication with your remote employees, create opportunities for them to connect as a team and finally, help your employees unplug from work, so they recharge and come back bursting with energy and excitement to start another week.

Why should you put these remote employee engagement ideas in practice ASAP?

If you’re reading this blog post, you probably know just how important it is to have motivated and engaged employees. But just in case you need some help introducing one of these ideas to your C-suite and your team leaders, I’ve prepared a few handy stats to help you out. 😉

But before we jump into statistics that prove just how important employee engagement is, you first need to explain what employee engagement is. 👇

What is employee engagement?

Kevin Kruse, author of an interesting book “Employee engagement for everyone”, defines employee engagement as “the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals”.

Why is it important that your employees are emotionally invested in their job and the company? 🔍

Simon Sinek, the author of a great book “Start With Why,” describes in a simple way why employee engagement is so important: “When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.” ❤️

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In other words, engaged employees are those who are not working just to collect their paycheck at the end of the month. Instead, they show up at the work every day excited and ready to go the extra mile. 💪

Employee engagement stats you need to know

📊 Now that you have your storytelling in place, it’s time to back it up with the numbers:

  • Only 15% of employees are engaged in the workplace, according to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace research.

  • Disengaged employees are 12 times more likely to leave their jobs over a one-year period than highly engaged employees, as found by Glint's study.

  • Engaged employees are 21% more productive, according to Gallup research.

  • Companies with engaged employees report 22% higher profitability, according to Gallup.

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A meta-analysis confirmed that there is a well-established connection between employee engagement and profitability, productivity, turnover and absenteeism.

Pretty convincing, huh? 😉


10 Actionable Work From Home Employee Engagement Ideas? ›

Engaging Employees Using 5C's: Care, Connect, Coach, Contribute & Congratulate.

How do you keep employees engaged during work from home? ›

Ways to keep remote employees engaged
  1. Encourage health and wellness. Your workers' health should be your priority. ...
  2. Host virtual meetings and casual hangouts. ...
  3. Make sure employees feel heard and valued. ...
  4. Foster personal connections. ...
  5. Keep the lines of communication open. ...
  6. Gamify your teamwork.
Feb 21, 2023

What are the 5 C's of employee engagement? ›

Engaging Employees Using 5C's: Care, Connect, Coach, Contribute & Congratulate.

How can you motivate employees while working from home? ›

Some ways you can keep your employees engaged and motivated are: Foster a Sense of belonging in employees during this epidemic. Improve the overall communication with your teams to encourage conversation and collaboration. Build a visual scoreboard to promote team collaboration and share their progress.

Which employee engagement initiatives can be launched during work from home? ›

Aside from that, here are some unique ideas that you could consider implementing:
  • Virtual Coffee Breaks. ...
  • Introduce Them to Your In-House Employees. ...
  • Home Tours. ...
  • Show-and-Tell. ...
  • One-On-One Video Calls With the Founder(s) ...
  • Offering Online Training and Career Advancement Opportunities. ...
  • Ask for Their Feedback.

What are the 4 E's of employee engagement? ›

In this white paper, learn the four essential components of engagement: enablement, energy, empowerment, and encouragement. To create a workplace of truly engaged employees, each of these four elements must be alive and thriving in an organization.

What are the 3 E's of employee engagement? ›

To willingly commit themselves to this extra work, your employees must be energized, emotionally invested, and motivated.

What are the 4 pillars of employee engagement? ›

The study lists four “key pillars” of employee engagement: Connection, meaning, impact and appreciation. Employees want to feel connected to their colleagues and managers, to feel their work has meaning and impact on the company, and to be appreciated for the work they do.

What are the 6 elements of employee engagement? ›

It researched the relationship between employee experience and its employee experience index (EX), which is comprised of six elements–authenticity, engagement, optimism, purpose and meaning, social connection, and belonging.

What are 3 things companies can do to increase employee engagement? ›

10 Powerful Steps To Improve Employee Engagement
  • Improve Efficiency in the Workplace. ...
  • Improve Communication. ...
  • Give Recognition. ...
  • Encourage Interaction. ...
  • Invest in Your Employees, Invest in Your Company. ...
  • Focus on Employee Wellbeing. ...
  • Encourage Feedback. ...
  • Emphasise Your Company Culture.
May 2, 2023

What are the seven components of employee engagement? ›

The seven factors of employee engagement are strong leadership, a caring culture, meaningful work, regular feedback (including recognition), professional growth opportunities, the autonomy to work independently, and an inclusive work environment where employees feel free to be their authentic selves.

How do you bond with coworkers virtually? ›

4 tips for connecting with coworkers when you're working remotely
  1. Schedule virtual coffee chats. ...
  2. Attend after-work events. ...
  3. Chat about hobbies or interests. ...
  4. Join an Employee Resource or Affinity Group.

How do you engage an employee online? ›

How to Engage Remote Employees
  1. Hold Regular Check-In Meetings. Frequent check-ins are vital to employee engagement. ...
  2. Recognize Employee Contributions. ...
  3. Engage in Collaborative Goal-Setting. ...
  4. Solicit Input and Encourage Participation. ...
  5. Create Opportunities for Personal Connection.
Apr 7, 2020

How do you create a positive work environment virtually? ›

FAQ on Positive Work Environments
  1. Communicate expectations and goals clearly.
  2. Provide constructive feedback that is consistent with the goals and expectations.
  3. Supply the tools and platform necessary to meet expectations.
  4. Host virtual events to bring a sense of fun and positivity to the workplace.

How do you train employees from home? ›

10 Best Practices for Effective Remote Training for Your Employees
  1. Set realistic and clear goals. ...
  2. Provide an orientation session. ...
  3. Use a variety of training formats. ...
  4. Provide engaging learning material. ...
  5. Leverage technology. ...
  6. Create mobile-first courses. ...
  7. Enable microlearning. ...
  8. Make remote learning self-paced.
Nov 25, 2022

How do you increase engagement in a virtual world? ›

You can quickly increase engagement in any virtual meeting by including icebreaker questions like “tea or coffee?” and “where is your dream location to work from?” Check out our list of virtual icebreaker questions for more inspiration, plus recommendations on how to effectively use these prompts in a virtual meeting.

What is a good example of employee engagement? ›

Good examples of employee engagement include employees showing up to work with a sense of purpose, a deep commitment to the organization, dedication to performing well, a collaborative attitude, good communication with co-workers and leaders, and the ability to give and receive feedback positively.

What are the 4 C's for employees? ›

How to Onboard New Employees Successfully: According to Dr. Talya Bauer from the SHRM Foundation, successful onboarding involves proactively covering The Four C's. This stands for compliance, clarification, culture, and connection.

What are the 5 types of engagement? ›

This article provides practical teaching and learning considerations for online educators based on these five factors.
  • Social engagement.
  • Cognitive engagement.
  • Behavioural engagement.
  • Collaborative engagement.
  • Emotional engagement.
Dec 7, 2022

What are the 3 C's of engagement? ›

The proposed 3 C's of employee engagement are career, competence and care.

What drives high employee engagement? ›

People want purpose and meaning from their work. They want to be known for what makes them unique. This is what drives employee engagement. And they want relationships, particularly with a manager who can coach them to the next level.

What great managers do to engage employees? ›

Here are four things great managers do to engage their employees.
  • Great managers foster a culture that celebrates career development and let their employees learn new skills during working hours. ...
  • Great managers let their employees own proof of their learning. ...
  • Great managers encourage feedback from their employees.

What are the 7 motivators for work? ›

The Seven Motivators

These 7 motivators are: Aesthetic, Economic, Individualistic, Political, Altruistic, Regulatory, Theoretical.

How do you build social connection in a remote team? ›

From it all, here are the most commonly cited — and reportedly most effective ways — that remote teams stay connected:
  1. Ditch dull icebreakers for dynamic ones. ...
  2. Over-emphasize onboarding. ...
  3. Build a buddy system. ...
  4. Set scheduled video chats. ...
  5. Carve out a dedicated non-work chat channel. ...
  6. Invest in company retreats — and do 'em right.
Jul 24, 2019

How to do employee appreciation virtually? ›

What are the Best Virtual Employee Appreciation Ideas for Teams?
  1. Write a Feature Story About Team Wins and Successes. ...
  2. Plan a Virtual Escape Room Party. ...
  3. Record a Loom Shout-Out. ...
  4. Host a Virtual Happy Hour. ...
  5. Send DoorDash or UberEats Gift Cards, Have a Celebratory Team Lunch. ...
  6. Plan a Virtual Scavenger Hunt.

How can I feel less isolated working from home? ›

How to tackle WFH loneliness
  1. Make plans. You might prefer sitting at home instead of commuting, but changing things won't hurt. ...
  2. Reach out. It's too easy to cut yourself off when working from home. ...
  3. Exercise. ...
  4. Coworking space. ...
  5. Get a pet. ...
  6. Connect online. ...
  7. Chat to coworkers. ...
  8. Meditate.

What an amazing remote work culture feels like? ›

The surest sign of a strong remote work culture is a sense of belonging. Employees will feel a sense of connection to coworkers and the company mission, despite not sharing a physical workspace. Happy employees form friendships with coworkers and share positive sentiments about the company.

How do you build a strong remote team? ›

Here are a few tried-and-true best practices for getting your remote team engaged.
  1. Gather around the virtual watercooler. ...
  2. Promote face-to-face communication with video conferencing. ...
  3. Offer volunteer opportunities outside the office. ...
  4. Offer peer-to-peer learning opportunities. ...
  5. Budget for in-person meet-ups.

How do you motivate yourself in a remote work environment? ›

Seven ways to keep motivated when working from home
  1. Create a working environment at home. ...
  2. Dress for work. ...
  3. Organise your day. ...
  4. Manage your workload. ...
  5. Check in with your colleagues. ...
  6. Give yourself breaks. ...
  7. Reward yourself.

What are the 5 dimensions of engagement? ›

The five dimensions of employee engagement are: employee satisfaction, employee identification, employee commitment, employee loyalty and employee performance. Employee satisfaction is the positive reaction employees have to their overall job circumstances, including their supervisors, pay and coworkers.

What are the 5 C's of performance management? ›

These five elements; Create, Comprehend, Communicate, Collaborate and Confront, form the basis of an effective people management approach.

What are the 6 requirements of good engagement? ›

Thus expectation, recognition, encouragement, environment, feedback and development are the six basic requirements for employee engagement in an organization.

What are the 6 elements of engagement? ›

6 elements of an effective community engagement strategy
  • A clear purpose. Community engagement doesn't have to be hard, but it does have to be intentional. ...
  • Smooth internal organization. ...
  • An inclusive approach. ...
  • Clear and continuous communication. ...
  • Action, please! ...
  • A continuity mindset.
Sep 22, 2021

What is 4C in teamwork? ›

If you want to establish a team identity, you have to give your team an opportunity to openly discuss the 4 C's of a Team Identity: clarity, commitment, contribution, and concerns.

What is a catalyst in HR? ›

A catalyst, by definition, is something or someone that encourages change to happen, which I believe to be an excellent term for HR professionals. We can be catalysts for workplace culture by acting as gatekeepers, cheerleaders, and superstars.

What is 4C in leadership? ›

The 4C Leadership Capabilities Model suggests that there are four core capabilities that are always needed to be an effective leader – connecting, confidence, cognizance and compelling – each with a range of supporting skills.

What are the 3 R's of performance management? ›

Part of that accountability involves ensuring that the employee has put in the time for research, reflection and review. Making the three Rs part of your consistent performance process will lay the foundation for continued success.

What are the 4 principles of good management? ›

Originally identified by Henri Fayol as five elements, there are now four commonly accepted functions of management that encompass these necessary skills: planning, organizing, leading, and controlling.1 Consider what each of these functions entails, as well as how each may look in action.

What are the 4 pillars of managing performance? ›

The cycle of performance is based on 4 key pillars: planning, monitoring, reviewing and rewarding.

What is the golden rule of engagement? ›

In other words, the Golden Rule requires us to empathize with others, including those who may be very different from us, to understand, respect and ultimately meet their expectations. The best practices for engagement are derived from the basic sociological truism embodied in the Golden Rule.


1. Employee Engagement Best Practices for 2022
2. How To Improve Employee Engagement | We! Engage Cards
(Chad Littlefield)
3. Employee Engagement Ideas That Work | Ideas for Employee Engagement | eLearning for Staff Engagement
4. Employee Engagement Ideas
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5. Employee Engagement | How to Keep Remote Employees Engaged?
6. How to keep your remote employees engaged
(Zoho People)


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