Talk about a second wave of COVID-19 has refocused attention in some quarters about the future and consequences of allowing employees to work remotely. The good news is that those employers who permitted their staff to work from home during the pandemic received high ratings.
A recent survey of more than 800 employees in various industries by internal communications and leadership development firm The Grossman Group revealed that 88% said their satisfaction level increased or remained the same because of working remotely.
As importantly, 90% reported that their trust in the organization rose or remained the same while 78% believed their company leaders held true to company values during the pandemic. The other critical question dealt with whether workers’ supervisors supplied them with the information they needed. 80% agreed.
Whether there’s another pandemic or not, Global Workplace Analytics estimates that as much as 30% of the country’s workforce could be working from home several days a week by the end of next year. The future for remote work is high. The firm also estimated that 56% of the U.S. workforce have jobs that may be compatible for remote work. Here are some tips for companies planning on remote workers.
Nurturing a good company culture is paramount as both employer and worker need to have high levels of trust and confidence for remote work to succeed. Employees need to know their company cares and listens to them. Employers need to respond quickly to concerns and needs while being clear about their expectations.
Everyone’s different and the same is true for employee habits and preferences. Trust that if they work remotely they’ll do it in a place that works best for themselves and the company.
Newbies Need Attention
New hires working remotely haven’t had the benefit of in-person orientation. Consider assigning them mentors or guides who can answer questions and make the journey easier.
What’s most important? What can wait? Being clear on priorities is even more important with a remote workforce. It’s also crucial to re-examine performance goals and adjust them where necessary.
Reset the Culture
Taking editorial liberties with a somewhat similar saying, American businessman Michael Bonney once said, “Different times call for different skills from citizens.” Since the pandemic and the resulting increase in remote workers, this is also a good time to consider if management needs to change some of its expectations and values in acknowledgment of this shift.
As a reminder to remote workers that they’re important parts of a team, regular virtual meetings should replace the in-person ones. This will remind everyone of their roles as well as foster camaraderie. Encourage open discussion and questions. Important comments, suggestions and findings should be written down and shared with all. So, too, is sharing success stories.
In large companies, supervisors will likely need help and support managing their remote workers. Training and examples of best practices will arm them to work more confidently and effectively with their teams.
Foster trust and confidence by not following what the media reports some companies have done, which was to require remote workers to have their webcams on whenever they were working. This will destroy any efforts to instill trust and be counterproductive. Being clear about employee goals and discussing them regularly are a lot more effective.