With remote work coming to the forefront of society since COVID 19 became a global pandemic, it’s safe to say remote work is here to stay.
While it may have been initially seen as a temporary measure, more and more companies are offering hybrid work options as well as fully remote jobs. Adobe, Amazon, Facebook, and Hubspot are just a few of the world’s top companies looking at going either fully remote or increasingly hybrid.
In fact, according to Future Workforce Report, 32 million Americans will be working remotely by 2025. Glassdoor agrees, reporting that searches for remote positions increased by as much as 360% from June 2019 to June 2021.
That’s no surprise given the benefits attached to remote work. Increased productivity, schedule flexibility, reduced costs of commute and the near erasure of unnecessary meetings are all almost immediate benefits of remote work.
HRs today need to not only take into account these trends but figure out the best way to go about managing their remote team’s employee experience in order to fully benefit from this. Remote Employee Experience: The Best Tips For HRs (2022)
As both small and big businesses develop their capacity for remote work, structuring and organizing your remote team is a crucial factor. For tips on how you can go about doing this and making a great remote work experience for both you and your employees, read ahead.
1. Hire people who fit
Covid 19 has seen more and more companies make the shift to offering remote and hybrid work opportunities. Choosing the right people for the job is one of the most important parts of being an HR. If the wrong people are hired, you’ll have wasted your company’s time and resources as you cycle through the wrong candidates to find the right employees.
This is more important than ever when it comes to remote employees as they have to be self-sufficient or risk feeling overwhelmed and ruining their experience with your company.
Experience and qualifications are important but they’re not the be-all and end-all when it comes to hiring. Hiring smart, versatile employees with good potential and employee work ethic that are the right fit for your company is just as important as skills. Especially when it comes to remote employees.
Using a project management test during your hiring process is a fantastic and easy way to ensure that your remote workforce is properly-suited to working independently for the jobs you need them to perform.
The last thing anyone wants is to have an employee feel overwhelmed because while their degrees and experience make them seem qualified, they don’t have quite the right skill sets to be remote workers.
2. Create a healthy work culture
Creating a positive work culture that melds your company’s work values with that of its employee values is a recipe for success. Millennials and Gen Z employees ( who make up an increasing part of the US workforce) are heavily aware of the impact of work culture and want a balanced work-life balance.
Remote work offers this in spades. To ensure a healthy work-life balance, encourage your employees to set an internet timer and track their working hours.
In addition to this, diversity, inclusion, and social change are all at the top of both groups’ priorities in terms of what they want from a company. Having work-based policies that focus on these policies is incredibly important. Clear reward policies that match recognition for great work and listening to their opinions also matters.
Work culture is increasingly important to Gen Z and Millennials in today’s “Great Resignation” era who are focused on employment that’s best for both their pockets and mental health.
3. Ensure employees are engaged
Employee engagement is always a major focus of HR Managers and HR teams and is often seen as a key to boosting productivity as well as retaining employees. This is backed up by several studies.
The Workplace Research Foundation says that highly engaged employees are 38% more likely to have “above-average” productivity
Actively disengaged employees cost their businesses $483 to %605 billion per year
Employees today want and need to feel enthusiastic about the work they’re doing, and the places they work for as well as feel a sense of belonging and be given flexible work schedules and locations in order to feel satisfied. This can be done by focusing on things that matter to employees, for example, listening to employee feedback, setting and tracking measurable goals as well as recognizing employees when they do well.
For forward-thinking HR Managers, there are various employee management software programs to measure and monitor employee engagement. If you happen to be one of those brilliant, modern HR Managers or HR teams ( nudge, nudge, wink, wink) click here to find some easy-to-use examples.
4. Stop, collaborate and listen
Vanilla Ice references aside, remote employment thrives off good communication and collaboration.
Communication is the hallmark of an effective team and helps to build good relationships in a team, especially a remote one. Since you don’t see each other every day and aren’t necessarily able to collaborate face to face, having a way to collaborate can go a long way.
Investing in developing lines of communication and creating an environment to give feedback can go a long way towards developing trust among their employees which leads to an increase in productivity and boost morale as well. Failure to do so can lead to unmotivated, confused, isolated feeling employees who may go on to question the competency of the organization as a whole and potentially even lead them to want to leave.
Thankfully, there are a few great work communication apps and programs that act as a 1 on 1 meeting platform as well as allow HR Managers to perform performance reviews, employee onboarding, and create feedback and praise mechanisms to create healthy and productive employee experiences.
Just bear in mind the difference between good communication to enhance employee experience and pedantic micro-management!
5. Protect workers from feeling isolated or lonely
Many people associate working remotely with working separately from your colleagues. While this can be true and lead employees to feel disconnected not only from their colleagues but from people as a whole.
It’s important as someone in HR, to identify what employees feel, when and if employees are feeling isolated or lonely and to know the difference between them.
Isolation is to do with access and relates to being separated from resources and opportunities. To a large extent, providing these employees with the right tools, technologies and information can go a long way toward nullifying feelings of isolation. Access to these tools can help reduce feelings of frustration, demotivation, and dissatisfaction.
Employees who are lonely have more to do with being separated and feeling disconnected from their colleagues.
Both are issues for HRs trying to improve their remote employee experiences. Staying in contact and having open lines of communication can help you identify if and when employees are experiencing problems.
While employees may not be 100% open with you about their experiences, it’s important to try to break down that barrier so you can help employees who are struggling. Be sincere, empathetic, and attentive in how you listen and ask questions about what they think can be done to make them succeed at their jobs.
Being a good people-orientated company is more and more important these days and employees who feel listened to, respected, and connected to their companies are more likely to be satisfied. And as a rule of employment thumb, satisfied employees stay.
Covid-19 has seen a dramatic increase in the demand and importance of remote working. It’s also increased the number of people quitting their jobs in search of better, more convenient work and has created an employee shortage in the US.
Remote work has quickly brought various benefits to both employees and employers for businesses that can adapt and create great employee experiences for remote employees. A survey by Owl Labs had some insightful stats to back this up:
23% of those surveyed would take a 10% pay cut to work from home permanently
People are saving around 500 dollars per month being at home during COVID-19. This allows them to save up to $6000 per year
59% of people said they would prefer an employer who offered remote work compared to those who didn’t.
From increased employee engagement, greater productivity, reduced employee turnover, lower overhead costs for employers, and a much wider talent pool to recruit from, remote work has more than enough benefits to make sure you get it right.
In order to compete in today’s world for employee talent, making sure you’ve got a great remote employee experience setup can go a long way towards retaining the talent you have and attracting more employees.
When it’s done right, remote work has the potential for incredible long term benefits for both employers and employees. By focusing on creating great, healthy remote employee experiences good HR Managers can ensure that businesses reap the full extent of rewards remote work has to offer.