The idea of a remote work experience wasn’t on most company radars until 2019.
These companies may have had a few freelancers on the books who occasionally submitted content or designs, but the majority of work was still done in the office.
COVID-19 flipped that structure upside down.
Fast forward to a new survey from the freelance platform Upwork estimating that 36.2 million Americans will be working remotely by the year 2025. That’s an 87% increase from the days before COVID-19.
Remote work and freelancing opportunities are growing. Some companies have experienced the benefits of letting employees work at home, while others are desperate to fill positions emptied during the quarantine.
As job expectations shift, human resources professionals can work with their companies to enhance the employee experience for those working from home.
Below we have listed a few strategies to get started improving the remote employee experience, and at the end of the day enhancing company-wide efficiency.
Work With Managers To Set Clear Expectations For Employees
Clear expectations are integral in the office, yet there’s no room for interpretation when remote work is involved.
Trust is needed for remote work and some leaders are worried about managing remote teams. But, this problem can be solved with clear expectations and communication.
According to the Harvard Business Review, managers can support their employees by:
Scheduling regular and predictable check-ins with remote individuals or teams.
Setting clear expectations for how workers will communicate, how often, and what time of day.
Implementing new productivity tools to be used by all employees.
Being open and accessible for remote workers to discuss questions or concerns.
By setting these expectations early and keeping on top of them, managers can avoid drops in productivity, employee frustration, or feelings of loneliness.
Implement Company-Wide Productivity Software
Don’t expect your in-person management structure to transfer to overseeing remote work from home.
Productivity tools were mentioned in the last section and they are necessary to stay organized, prioritize specific projects, and monitor employee workload.
Managers worried about their remote workers “slacking off” will be able to set deadlines and check on progress.
The good news is there are so many productivity tools to choose from. The challenge isn’t finding one, it’s picking the right system for your needs.
Here are just a few examples to consider for your remote teams:
- Asana: this app simplifies team-based work management.
- Airtable: this app is a spreadsheet-database hybrid.
- Basecamp: this app helps you organize everything in one place.
- com: this app helps you build, run, and scale your dream workflows.
- Smartsheet: this app is a dynamic workspace to manage projects.
- Not sure which one is the best for your company?
Most productivity tools offer free trials. The best thing to do is read about all of their unique features and try one out for a week or two.
Find Ways To Keep All Employees Engaged
Although half of workers at home surveyed by Flexjobs reported being more productive in 2020, the potential exists for these employees to feel disconnected or lonely.
HR professionals can collaborate with their companies to find creative ways to keep all employees engaged, whether they’re in the office or at home.
Many companies started organizing “Zoom Happy Hours” after work where all staff could get together, mix a cocktail at home, and unwind.
Other remote organizations have built schedules of virtual classes for their remote employees. Not all of these are work-related. They offer baking classes, Yoga, or even how to do simple magic tracks.
Marketing companies have been known to send “swag packs” to their remote workers with t-shirts, mugs, or neat promotional items.
There are so many engagement opportunities you could offer to remote workers, and new technology has made it easier than ever to stay connected.
Building the right culture is the most important thing for your company.
Start Including Your Remote Workers
The fact is remote workers aren’t going away anytime soon. If anything, the hybrid model will continue to expand among most companies.
HR departments can work with managers to ensure all employees are included in their daily operations.
Companies will be surprised to learn that the initiatives described above improve the work experience for all employees.