The remote working culture is growing in popularity. Progress is slow: 16% of companies are currently fully remote. However, over half of the workplace admit they would prefer to work for an employer who offers remote working arrangements. At the peak of the pandemic in 2020, almost a third of employees stated they would prefer to work from home permanently. By the end of 2021, 90% of employees wanted to retain some level of remote work. In other words, companies are slowly adapting and offering hybrid or fully remote positions.
While employees argue for more remote work, it is an unprecedented situation for companies. Taking care of remote teams in a post-pandemic environment is vital to the survival of the business and the work model. Employees are unwilling to go back to the office because they can maximize productivity and reduce stress levels at home. They can also save costs as location becomes irrelevant. However, working at home is a solitary environment that can make employees more vulnerable to mental health issues, loss of creativity, and lack of engagement.
No more out of sight, out of mind
For many employees, working remotely limits the chances of recognition by the team and managers. They are worried their work will go unnoticed when nobody is watching them. The digital workplace can make it hard to track everybody’s input, especially in team projects where only collaborative work happens out of sight. Employees can feel unrecognized for their hard work, which is why it is essential to find ways of showing appreciation. Using employee recognition software solutions can help build patterns of recognition and work evidence as employees and managers can thank someone for their contribution. Using tools such as peer-to-peer recognition ensures that everybody in the company can know about remote workers’ efforts, even when nobody can see them work.
Tackle anxiety and depression at home
Approximately 25% of workers experience anxiety and depression. The pandemic and new work situation have made employees more vulnerable to mood challenges. Unfortunately, in a remote environment, mental health issues can go unnoticed. It is essential for employers to reach out to the remote team and help restore communication.
It takes only one person to start a conversation, such as arranging a one-to-one meeting with members of the team and asking how they are. More often than not, making the first step can provide employees with a first point of contact, someone who will listen to their worries. Team managers and leaders do not need to have a solution ready. Mental health issues are best left to specialists. However, showing empathy, understanding, and a desire to create a flexible environment for people to focus on their health can make a big difference.
Make the business strategy clear and relevant
When you work in an office, the business strategy and culture surround the team, from the choice of decor to posters on the wall with the company’s mission. Things are different at home. With no visual reminder of what the company stands for, it’s easy to get confused and disengaged about the strategy. Additionally, strategic meetings are typically held between decision-makers. In other words, decisions about the business can become invisible to your remote team.
Leaders need to establish clear and transparent communication about the company to keep everyone in the loop:
- Public announcements for everyone on the team
- Large-scale team meetings with the opportunity to ask questions at the end
- A public chat area for people to ask what is going on
- Quarterly reminders of achievements, performance, and employees’ contribution
- Accept criticism and new suggestions and act upon it
Support creative thinking remotely
Creativity is inherent to innovation, productivity, and brand identity. However, being creative can be difficult for remote workers. Working in a home office can be isolating, which makes it tricky to share ideas, brainstorm, and feel inspired. Businesses have a responsibility to create a productive remote work environment. But establishing communication tools and a safe digital workplace will not be sufficient for creative employees.
It’s crucial to consider the collaboration tools and productivity solutions in place. Creativity is not something that can be measured through a productivity tracking device. On the contrary, thinking and planning take time without creating a tangible output. Additionally, Zoom, for all its qualities, could impair creativity. Teams also need organizational idea-tracking tools, such as Trello, messaging and chat tools, and virtual whiteboard solutions. Finally, not all office interactions are meaningful. More often than not, the staff gets together in the kitchen for a chat around coffee. But what appears like an unproductive meeting can inspire new ideas. That’s why day-to-day work should include social interactions, even for remote employees.
Are you ready to build a positive post-pandemic work environment for your remote team? Creating a people-focused platform supports mental health, engagement, and creative thinking.