A 2019 survey revealed that 99% of respondents would be happy to work remotely, at least occasionally. Whether remote work is the new protocol for your workplace or an opportunity you make available to employees when needed, there are numerous benefits, for example:
- Flexible schedules.
- More time with family and loved ones.
- Fewer carbon emissions from daily commutes.
- More control over the workspace environment.
The remote working model isn’t without its challenges, however. 19% of remote workers struggle with loneliness, while 8% have trouble staying motivated, and 22% just can't seem to unplug after work. Organisational leaders should be offering the necessary support and guidance to remote employees, particularly if the remote working model is something that will be embraced more and more in the future.
We are, by nature, social beings, many of us are accustomed to the more traditional office scene and the familiarity of the routine that comes with this. However, there are many initiatives and tools you can use to keep employees engaged with your company culture and motivated to make the most of the opportunities offered by a remote work setup. By helping your team to stay positive and energised, as well as continuing to show recognition for their efforts, you can enjoy a happier, more connected team, regardless of their location.
1. Take care of their health and wellness
"Healthy employees are happier and show higher rates of job satisfaction."
Offering a healthcare scheme or a wellness programme is a commitment to your employees' well-being, something that is of significant value to most individuals. Companies that support well-being initiatives are recommended as a good place to work by 89% of their workers. But the buck shouldn't stop at simply making the programmes available; leadership should take an active step towards promoting healthy work-life balance and encouraging employees to take the opportunities offered to them. Allow workers to go for regular eyesight or physical check-ups, help them to make use of mental health support schemes, and encourage healthy lifestyle choices.
2. Promote lunchtime workouts
We've all heard about the benefits of endorphins and how exercise helps us to release those mood-boosting hormones along with serotonin. It can, however, be easy to forget the perks of exercise if you've been cooped up at home in your pyjamas, deeply devoted to your laptop and the long list of tasks that need completing.
Help your workers get out of bad routines by encouraging them to commit to a lunchtime workout. It's not only great for correcting any musculoskeletal tensions that have built up, but it also helps to lower cortisol and reduce stress. According to a Harvard study, endorphins are " the body's natural painkillers and mood elevators."
3. Give recognition where it's due
Employees need to know that their efforts don't go unnoticed. The digital age has provided us with useful technologies to keep workers and team leaders connected, making it easy to acknowledge top performers publically, albeit on a digital platform.
With Incentivesmart, you can create an "Employee of the Week" scheme or provide workers with the opportunities to earn rewards through a points-based system, accompanied by a leaderboard for added healthy competition. Sometimes, a simple shout out at the start of a meeting or a personalised message to say thank you to an individual can make all the difference to someone who may be feeling a little isolated.
According to research by Gallup, lack of recognition is still one of the top reasons for employees leaving an organisation. So, make sure you hold on to those top performers by giving them due recognition.
4. Help them invest in a better workspace
The great advantage of working from home is having a say in the furniture, layout, and decor of your workspace. Making sure that employees are comfortable and happy when working from home will boost productivity and set the right tone for getting into the right mindset.
If possible, employees should have a private corner to themselves where they can work free from household distractions. Most companies will provide employees with laptops or desktops, but if you have the budget, you should also look into offering employees ergonomic chairs and suitable desks to help prevent any repetitive strain injuries.
To personalise the space, employees can select pot plants, scented candles, inspiring prints and other features that help to put them in the zone and create a calm environment to do work in.
5. Promote employee growth and learning
Professional growth and development should be a continuous undertaking, regardless of where employees are working from. Give your workers a sense of purpose by providing access to online courses or company resources to improve their product and service knowledge.
Create milestones and set learning targets so that employees can feel a sense of accomplishment when they complete an educational task. Where possible, lay out the path towards promotion and offer rewards that will encourage employees to keep bettering themselves professionally and personally.
6. Improve your management and leadership skills
Learning to lead remote teams can be challenging for managers. The old school of thought that employees must be overseen at all times is often ineffective. When workers are put in charge of their own schedule and given the responsibility to manage their workload, there is an increase in accountability and more incentive to perform better.
It's essential for leaders to treat employees as individuals, responding empathically to any concerns, communicating effectively and providing constructive feedback. Avoid micromanaging or making unreasonable demands on remote workers; encourage flexible working hours, and set realistic expectations for the completion of tasks.
HR can support managers by offering adequate training and guidance. Reward and recognition platforms like Incentivesmart will align with your established company culture and help leaders to communicate with employees and give recognition via the platform.
7. Virtual meet-ups
When in the office, it’s easy to pop out for lunch together or organise after-work socials, but for remote or out-of-town workers, these events aren’t always something they can participate in. Hosting a virtual meet-up once a month (or more regularly) is a great way to include everyone on the team and help them to take part in the fun.
There are small but significant steps that all organisations with remote teams should be taking to ensure that workers feel connected to their colleagues, recognised by their managers and encouraged to lead well-balanced lives.
Inevitably, we all experience personal and professional highs and lows, but when businesses make an effort to create inclusive company cultures that support and encourage healthy habits and a good work-life balance, they reap the benefits of a more engaged and productive workforce, irrespective of where employees are located.