Category All, Best Practices Remote Work: What Employees Expect from Their Employers During COVID-19 Remote work is more present than ever. Find out what is expected from employers to facilitate good quality remote work. May 8, 2020 By Sara Ana Cemazar Although remote work has been popular for a while, the COVID-19 pandemic made remote work a reality for many employees. With the circumstances being changed, many employees are struggling to keep their productivity levels the same. In this article, you will find out how to enable your employees to do their best work while being physically out of the office during the COVID-19 outbreak. After all, your employees expect you to ensure they have same or similar working conditions as usual. 💬 You can find out how your employees are coping with the pandemic and a change in their daily routines with these employee surveys to send out during COVID-19. The Rise of Remote Work The nature of work has changed immensely in the last decade. Technology has made it possible for many types of work to be done remotely, so many companies have started adopting it. In 2018, 56% of global companies allowed remote work, with some being fully remote. We see this trend booming for safety reasons during COVID-19. In the US alone, the percentage of employees working remote increased from 33 to 61%. Hopefully, this unprecedented situation will shed some light on many positive aspects of remote work. For employees, benefits of remote work include organizing their own time to achieve better work-life balance, not spending time commuting and freedom to work from different places. On the other hand, employers benefit from saving office space and other expenses needed to run a physical office. Moreover, environmental effects include lowering carbon footprint because of less time spent in traffic. However, during COVID-19 pandemic, many employees were compelled to start remote work. This left little to no time to prepare for the challenges that come with it. Usually, most prominent struggles related to remote work include lack of communication and teamwork. However, during pandemic, many employers are struggling to keep their productivity afloat because their children are home, too. How to Improve Your Employees’ Remote Work Experience Since remote work is a trend we will see more of in the following years, you should know how to help your team to work remotely. Remember, your employee experience has a profound effect on your business results as well. Therefore, you should enable your employees do their best work during the pandemic. Let’s list a couple of ways you can improve your employees’ remote work experience. Listening to your employees You are probably aware that communication is the #1 issue related to remote work. This is even more accentuated during COVID-19 outbreak, because there was little time to prepare for changing the way communication is conducted among coworkers. Therefore, ask your employees how they are handling their new experience of working remote. Use these employee survey questions to get an insight into your employees’ opinion. Ask your employees what they need from you and encourage managers to listen to their team’s concerns and issues. 💬 Employee surveys allow you to check your employees pulse and make decisions based on real data. Check out our employee survey solution, SurveyRocks, and see how it can help you actively listen to your employees. Consult with HR professionals Your employees’ wellbeing and enabling them to do their best work should be your priority during COVID-19 outbreak. Also, remote work is a big challenge in your employees’ daily routines. Therefore, you should consult your HR to assist you plan ahead and facilitate your employees’ smooth transition to remote work. 💬 Usually, an HR Business Partner is a person that can help you connect HR insights with business goals. Make HR your strategic partner in dealing with such large disruptions to your employees’ work routines. Communicate with your remote team As mentioned before, communication is one of the main struggles of remote work. You need to facilitate easy communication for your employees, as well as ensure that they are aware of new policies and procedures during COVID-19. For such purposes, it’s vital that you have a company-wide communication solution that allows you to segment your audience and send appropriate announcements. After all, targeting your audience and avoiding overcrowding your employees’ inbox will result in more engagement with your internal content. 💬 See how your employees can stay informed, connected and aligned to your company’s values during COVID-19 with Nurture. Keep your workplace informed with Nurture. Read more Appreciate your remote employees Did you know that employee appreciation is main driver of employee productivity, engagement and motivation? This is as evident as ever when working remote, because your employees may be struggling to adapt to different working conditions. In fact, employees have said it themselves. According to recent survey on how employees want their employers to engage them during remote work, 74% said it is important to receive rewards from their employer. Giving recognition when it’s due is a key element in building a successful business. Why? Because ratio of positive and negative feedback in highly productive teams is 6:1. Just imagine how much room to enhance your remote team’s performance this gives you! Recognizing your remote colleague’s hard work cultivates a sense of pride and belonging, and it sets out the motivation for your next project. What’s great about it is that showing appreciation to your remote workers is easier than ever before with recognition and rewards solutions such as JobPts. 💬 Read all about how JobPts helped our customers see improvements in their company culture and after implementing an employee recognition program. Moreover, 52% of employees want more recognition. During remote work period, appreciating your employees gives them the moral support they need, as well as helps them feel the team spirit. You can use these short messages and emails to thank your coworkers for their efforts. Facilitate easy collaboration Even though while working remote coworkers are physically apart, they still need to cooperate on projects and ideas. Your employees expect you to provide them a platform for collaboration that will make it easy to track each other’s work. Try enabling collaboration with tools like BoardFlo. It’s easy to use, Kanban-style solution that your customers can customize to work according to their needs. Foster a team culture Positive team culture drives employee engagement, and your employees lack the informal gatherings during remote work. Therefore, make room for less formal gatherings in which team spirit can thrive. For example, you can organize short online gaming sessions for your employees, encouraging them to team up and solve problems. Other than that, you can encourage positive team culture by implementing appreciation practices or wellbeing initiatives. Wellbeing platforms such as Healthain have built-in gamification modules that can help your employees feel the team spirit while apart, and work on their fitness at the same time. Discuss remote work specific problems As you already know, there are a lot of challenges related to remote work, and especially during COVID-19. If remote work is a new experience for your employees, make room for Q&A sessions addressing remote work struggles and help your employees tackle them. Encourage managers to connect with their teams It’s important to make the collaboration, communication or survey technology available. Besides implementing them, you should encourage managers and team leaders to use them. After all, they are the ones that your employees respond to directly. Managers can make all the difference when it comes to your employees’ engagement and productivity. Therefore, support your managers in being good leaders and taking care of their teams. How Remote Work is Disrupting Workplaces Remote work is more present than ever in companies worldwide. In a way, it is disrupting traditional workplaces by replacing the physical office with a location of employee’s choice. Although there are challenges to overcome, it is important to note that remote work is here to stay. According to research from 2019, 95% of U.S. knowledge workers want to work remotely, and 74% would be willing to quit a job to do so. Therefore, it would be best to adapt your company’s policies to accommodate remote work. After all, employees will be seeking the flexible working arrangements more in the years to come. Lack of team culture Since remote work is done away from the office, your employees may be missing the informal interactions that significantly improve team culture. Instead, try including your team in various group activities such as gaming, joint fitness goals etc. Once the pandemic is over, you should assemble your remote work employees for an awesome team building at least once per year. Lack of teamwork Because of lack of interaction, your employees may feel isolated and less prone to actively participate in team projects. Since communicating with your remote coworkers is often harder than in the office, teamwork tends to happen more rarely. Different communication channels Communication in a traditional, face-to-face way, is surely disrupted by remote work. Employees do not have a chance to walk over their colleague’s desk and start the conversation whenever they want. That’s why it is crucial to ensure your employees have the right communication technology. Various chat, collaboration and video solutions facilitate easier communication online. Staying motivated Some people might miss their colleagues and office atmosphere, especially during COVID-19. Lack of team spirit can keep your employees from staying motivated as they would be in the office. On the positive note, some employees may be more motivated and productive because their home offers them quieter working conditions. 💬 Find out how world renowned companies are taking care of their employees during COVID-19. The Biggest Remote Work Challenges Employers are Facing Remote work has many upsides, but its downsides don’t worry only employees. Sometimes, employers estimate that remote work would cause too much disturbances in their employees’ work lives so they are completely prohibiting it. However, remote work is here to stay. Remote work is becoming more in-demand among employees, and in case of COVID-19, it will be implemented as a safety measure nobody wants to ignore. 💬 Here are some of the workplace management tools companies are using during COVID-19 to adapt to remote work. Here are some of the biggest remote work challenges employers are facing. Communication Employers are well aware of the fact that communication is more challenging online. Also, they know which consequences it could have for their business. When employees don’t communicate adequately, they lack alignment needed for their common projects. As we mentioned before, communication is #1 remote work struggle employees are facing. 📘 Also check out this great Remote Work Playbook! Team culture Similar to the first point, companies may hesitate implementing remote work policies because it affects the established company culture. Company culture often relies on teamwork and informal activities employees participate in. Furthermore, team culture contributes to better business results because of tighter networks among employees and better collaboration practices. Lack of passive knowledge-sharing A lot of passive knowledge-sharing in organizations happens in informal sessions around the office. Employers know that remote work is not conducive to casual meetups and must find out ways to overcome this challenge. For example, they can encourage employees to take part in online social activities. Lack of control Some organizations are set in their traditional ways of working. They are afraid of losing control over their employees if they switch to remote work. However, COVID-19 has shown companies worldwide that they have to adapt their policies and traditional ways of functioning to overcome the present difficulties. Burnout As one of common struggles of remote work is working overtime, employers are afraid of burnout. Employees sometimes have difficulties switching off and work longer hours than in the office. As a consequence, burnout results in higher employee disengagement and burnout.