Continually changing technology has paved the way for many opportunities. One of those opportunities is the ability to allow your employees to work remotely or hire remote-only positions. Many companies are taking advantage of the added benefits working remotely offers both to the employee and the organization. A recent study performed by Upwork predicts that in ten years more than one-third of US workers will be working from home.
Why are so many companies shifting to allow employees to work off-site? Employees are looking for more flexibility as work-life balance grows in importance. According to a 2016 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) benefits survey, 60% of companies offer their employees telecommuting opportunities, a threefold increase from 1996. 51% say they would change jobs for one that offered them flextime, and 37% would do the same for a job that offered them the ability to work where they want at least part of the time. Remote workers potentially save the company money in lower overhead and in some studies they’ve even charted higher levels of engagement and productivity than onsite workers.
While there are many positives around the idea of remote workers, employees who work from home are not without challenges. Leaders struggle to stay connected with and engage remote workers on a deeper level. When remote members of a team encountered common workplace challenges, 84% said the concern dragged on for a few days or more, while 47% admitted to letting it drag on for weeks or more. It’s important to try out several tactics when looking to improve remote workers’ overall employee experience. To stay ahead of the game, make sure to apply the feedback your employees give you as well as to match all of your initiatives to your company culture. Ensuring remote employees remain engaged, committed, productive and connected takes some extra care. Keep reading to see our 7 Ways to Improve the Employee Experience for your Remote Workers!
1. Recognize and praise for good work
Recognition is an integral part of the employee experience. When employees work off-site, consistent recognition is a great tool to keep your employees connected and engaged. According to the 2017 State of the American Workplace report, only 3 out of 10 US employees strongly agree that in the last 7 days they have received recognition or praise for doing work. Employees who do not feel adequately recognized are twice as likely to say they’ll quit in the next year. Social recognition is one way to help make distance between employees feel a bit smaller. There are other benefits as well: inclusion, team collaboration, alignment, and helping remote employees be included in the company culture.
2. Assist in career development
Remote employees need to feel that you’re on their side now more than ever. Recognizing the skills and advancement opportunities for your employees helps establish trust and increase company loyalty. A Gallup study showed that only 4 in 10 US employees strongly agree that their supervisor or someone at work, seems to care about them as a person. Sending employees to a learning conference or training off-site can be another form of employee engagement that’s mutually beneficial. Added bonus: celebrate completed training, new certifications or licenses as a part of your employee recognition program too!
3. Provide feedback on work and ask for their input
One of the most valuable tasks a manager can provide their team is to show they’re listening and continually shaping an employee for the better. In fact, an Ultimate Software report showed that over half of employees surveyed said they’d turn down a 10% pay raise to stay with a manager they trust and respect. The Gallup study* shows that full-time remote workers are 29% less likely to agree that they have reviewed their greatest successes with their manager in the past six months.
4. Set clear expectations and a plan to measure progress
Be sure to communicate in precise detail when corresponding with remote employees. Employees like to know how they can improve as well as the things they are doing well. Gallup says that only 3 in 10 US employees strongly agree that in the last six months someone at work has talked to them about their progress. Continual and consistent feedback helps set a good foundation for a positive employee experience.
5. Show trust
Employees need to know that you trust them to get their work done and that they have the time and materials that are necessary. Autonomy is an active engagement driver for employees, empowering them to manage themselves efficiently, to feel confident in their abilities and to perform at a higher degree.
6. Resolve conflicts quickly
One challenge that can arise when employees work off-site is miscommunication during a perceived conflict. If there is little to no personal connection between the off-site and the on-site worker, it can be more difficult for each person to understand the other’s perspective. Work quickly to clear up any communication issues. This is often best achieved through a simple phone call or a video conference.
7. Provide tools needed to do the job
According to a Gallup study, only 3 out of 10 of US employees agree they have the right materials and equipment to do their work. With several challenges to overcome having what is needed to perform the job is crucial to remote worker performance which can affect the satisfaction level the worker has with their overall employee experience.
Keeping these seven items in mind will help cultivate a positive remote employee experience for your workforce! What are some other ways you see organizations working to ensure remote employees are engaged and feel connected with their co-workers and company? Tell us!