December 4, 2019

Sameer B.

5 Ways to Improve Your Remote Team Members’ Work Experience

Working remotely is nothing new, but with increasing numbers of companies moving to that work style, whether due to the pandemic, to save space, or for other reasons, employers and managers must adjust their management styles and priorities. Remote companies are no longer just startups: even before the lockdowns and need for social distancing measures, working from home had grown by 140% since 2005, nearly 10 times faster than the rest of the workforce.

Studies have consistently shown that engagement is the key to a loyal, productive workforce, but now that your workforce is decentralized, this can be more challenging. How can you ensure your employees are the happy, efficient, stress-free respondents in all those studies you see about remote workers? In short: how can you keep your remote employees engaged and satisfied, and how can you tell what's working or not?

How to Make Your Remote Team Member’s Work & Life Better

Migrating to a home office can take some adjustment for you and your employees. It's important to understand and implement actionable ways to improve employee work-from-home experiences to keep them engaged, included, and productive. Here are steps you can take to facilitate a smooth transition and manage a successful remote team.

Encourage communication

This isn't just for the employee. The owners, the managers, and all the team members should have increased communication and feedback capabilities. If something isn't working, or there are issues to discuss, that has to be made known. This is more challenging with remote work because we are often lacking nonverbal cues and mutual knowledge that comes from working in person. Even video conferencing can't necessarily provide that experience. Therefore, making sure you are checking in with team members, and that they're checking in with each other, is one of the most important steps to keeping remote workers productive and feeling appreciated.

Plan events

Even though many of us may dread an additional work video call outside of work hours, loneliness and social isolation are a real issue when most teams are remote, with some never meeting in person. To start, try replicating a "happy hour." Make the event earlier on a Friday, provide a drink stipend you can send to your employees, and make it short. Note: The more people on a virtual event, the tougher it is for anyone to connect. Split up events into teams, have all the managers meet up, or even just encourage employees to engage outside of work hours. You can also split people up by time zone if you have international team members. If you do end up hosting a larger event, be sure to have an agenda and fun items to do. It's tough to start a video conference for people just to chat without any direction or timeline.

Budget for work-from-home expenses

Providing your employees with even a small stipend for remote work office supplies, technology, and software is going to be incredibly supportive. While some individuals may already have their own home office, others are working on their personal laptop to complete their work. Use the money you've budgeted for office parties and other in-person events to help your employees as they adjust to this new remote work reality.

Create boundaries

It's easy for you, your managers, and your workers to think of everyone being on all the time, just because they have access to their email and laptop. However, studies have consistently shown that managing your own boundaries between work and life is beneficial not only for your workers' health, but also productivity. Make sure individuals have clear hour boundaries, note when people in different time zones aren't available, suggest team members turn off notifications when they're not working, and encourage days off. Just because everyone's at home, doesn't mean they don't deserve days and times not online.

Manage well

This seems obvious, but it's all the more important today. Managerial styles have always changed with the times, but this drastic leap has required greater changes. Educate yourself on the best ways to manage remote employees, use the right platforms and systems to make managing easier for you, and provide applications and software to your employees that they can use to increase the communication we discussed earlier.

Help Your Employees Work From Home Successfully

It's important for employers to know and implement actionable ways to improve employee work-from-home experiences to increase communication and keep employees satisfied. This not only creates a more productive workforce, but also happier team members, which is important for low turnover, camaraderie, and improved productivity. Managing remote teams can be challenging, but using these tips to keep your employees who are working from home involved and appreciated is a big step toward ensuring a positive future for your organization.

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