Are You Ready for the Remote Work Revolution?

10 tips to ensure a happier, healthier, and more productive workforce

Revolution: A sudden, radical, or complete change; e.g. a fundamental change in the way of thinking about or visualizing something (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

Who’d have thought just a mere couple of years ago that remote working would become de rigueur

Perhaps we can go so far as to say that it’s graduated to the status of the new norm.

The revolution, in fact, has already happened.

Covid has demolished the traditional workplace

Let’s admit it: in the past, remote working held a certain nuance of stigma. If you weren’t in the office, so the thinking went, how could you work effectively? Not only that, what exactly were you up to if you were out of sight? And what about the team – how were you supposed to maintain strong relationships with them? 

Then along came Covid.

The pandemic forced a sensational shift in the way office-based workers around the world had to get their job done. With virtually no warning, a lot of rabbits had to be skittishly yanked out of a lot of hats. The business world had no choice but to rapidly adapt to survive – at a distance. 

While technology has rightly been given a prime position in the line of kudos for all this, organizations would have imploded fairly rapidly without the skill and will of their people.

Whether they liked it or not, companies had to anxiously trust that employees would get their jobs done without being under physical scrutiny. 

The (un)surprising escalation in productivity

Over the months that followed, it became pretty clear that people were in fact capable of doing their jobs properly while working remotely. In many cases, they were actually more productive. 

While pandemic-related research is still in its infancy, studies so far suggest that the average remote employee has been up to 77% more productive during the health crisis. Which is quite staggering in anyone’s book.

It seems that when staff are better able to balance their work and life commitments, without being micro-managed, and while taking out time saps such as the daily commute or distractions by fellow employees (we’re talking about you, Chatty Fred), they’re happier. In fact, 75% happier according to a study by Huawei in the UK. 

So it comes as no surprise that people are pushing back against employers who are now planning a mass return to the office.

Sensing which way the bee is buzzing, 83% of companies surveyed by HR consultancy Mercer said they intend to put more flexible work policies in place after the pandemic, including remote working.

Whether you opt for a fully remote post-pandemic workforce, or a more flexible approach, it seems that there’s no going back to the way it was. 

If a recent survey is a sign of things to come, 39% of US workers would consider quitting if their employers weren’t flexible about remote work.

If maintaining a cohesive team that stays for the long term is the aim, then we need to start thinking about how to make the people side of remote working as positive as possible for all sides.

How to ensure people are happier, healthier and more productive

If you’re here now, you’re probably trying to figure out how to make this work for the long term. Because it’s not just about technology or productivity (although that’s pretty awesome). What it comes down to is people.

As HR gurus and remote work cheerleaders, Skreenbe has put together 10 tips to help your employees stay engaged, motivated, and heard while working remotely: 

  1. Give people the tools to do their job. It might seem obvious, but if they’re struggling to balance their work on the home computer with the needs of kids or other adults to consider, step in to see what the company can lend them.
  2. Help people use the tools to do their job. Although we live in a high-tech world, we’re not all equally tech-savvy on every device and platform. Ask IT to call each employee if feasible to check if there are any issues or training needed, so they can be resolved directly.
  3. Schedule regular video calls individually and as a team to touch base with how everyone’s doing (not just during official meetings). Focus on the people, not the figures.
  4. Do they really need to work 9-5 or whatever the standard office hours are? Consider flexible hours to enable them to work remotely around their other commitments.
  5. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. This doesn’t mean micro-manage or hassling them with daily status update requests. This means checking in regularly, letting them know about any company announcements, and sharing employee news through an online newsletter or communique.
  6. Surprise employees with a paid day (or even week!) off away from the screen. Companies such as Bumble have begun experimenting with this idea to reduce burn-out, increase productivity, and boost retention.
  7. Praise their work. Recognize accomplishments. Be their cheerleader.
  8. If a dog or child (or both, what fun!) wanders into a virtual meeting, encourage an atmosphere of it being totally OK instead of a faux pas. Better still, invite an animal to a meeting. Just don’t let those filters turn you into one.
  9. Make time for fun. Whether it’s Friday Zoom drinks, virtual coffee breaks, or online games, seek out ideas from the team and implement a regular schedule for fun together.
  10. Communicate your support of anyone who chooses to work remotely. There can be feelings of guilt or stigma attached to working away from an office long-term. So long as they’re delivering, the organization is 150% behind them.

There you have it. By embracing these tips and taking a positive approach to the remote work revolution, you’ll ensure that the transition is a breeze for your company and its people.

Interested in learning more about new approaches to traditional workplace practices? Our content bees recommend you check out Gen Z and the Interview Experience.

Skreenbe. Built by recruiters, for recruiters.

Article: © Skreenbe 2021

 

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