5 Tips for Maximizing the Remote Work Experience
Remote work enhances employee satisfaction. In a recent survey conducted by Owl Labs in collaboration with Global Workplace Analytics, 77 percent of full-time workers said they’d be happier working from home after the pandemic. Some of the top reasons include avoiding the commute (79 percent), reducing stress (74 percent), improving work-life balance (72 percent) and increasing productivity (70 percent).
Despite these overwhelmingly positive statistics, the success of remote work isn’t a forgone conclusion. Organizations should take steps to promote a good remote work experience, just as they would with employees in the office. With remote work or a hybrid workplace strategy likely to become the norm, organizations should assess their HR policies and management practices to ensure that remote work delivers the anticipated benefits.
Here are some areas to focus on:
Choose the right individuals and roles. Some jobs cannot be remote. But the fact that it’s possible for someone to do a job remotely doesn’t mean they’re necessarily a good candidate. Research shows that the happiest remote workers are those who have a lot of autonomy and minimal work-family conflict. They also tend to be happy in their jobs to begin with — in other words, remote work isn’t necessarily going to change an unhappy worker’s attitude.
Set clear work expectations. A lot of dissatisfaction among remote works stems from unclear expectations. Some of the top benefits of remote work are flexibility and work-life balance. That goes out the window if employees feel they are expected to jump on conference calls or respond to emails outside of regular work hours. Clarifying work expectations can help to avoid misunderstandings that often lead to job dissatisfaction.
Optimize the onboarding process. Many organizations are moving to a “remote first” model by preferring remote workers for new openings. There are many benefits to this approach, but it’s important to ensure that the onboarding process is smooth and welcoming. Additionally, new remote hires don’t have coworkers or supervisors to acquaint them with company culture and the hierarchy of responsibilities and roles. Good communications channels involving leadership across the organization are critical for employee engagement.
Invest in the right technology. Employees need the right tools to do their jobs remotely. Most organizations have implemented some kind of conferencing and collaboration solution by now, and are utilizing cloud services to enable access to applications and data. But in many cases these tools were implemented hurriedly when the pandemic began, and may not live up to long-term expectations. If remote work is going to be a long-term strategy, it may be time to reevaluate technology tools and ensure they are effective.
Provide prompt IT support. Technology issues are going to arise and remote workers need to know where to turn for support. Otherwise, they could waste valuable time trying to fix the problem (and potentially make it worse). In-house IT teams need tools for tracking and managing help desk tickets and remotely troubleshooting end-user equipment. A managed services provider such as SSD can help relieve the burden on IT staff while ensuring that end-users get the prompt support they need.
The most important thing is not to make assumptions. Organizations should not assume remote workers are happy just because they aren’t saying anything negative. Ongoing feedback mechanisms are essential. Remote workers may have suggestions that can create a better experience across the organization.