Remote working was considered a modern perk that only a few employers offered until the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the pandemic, remote working became the new normal, and employers who couldn’t have imagined transitioning into this model were left with no option but to accept it.
However, as good as the remote working model seems, it poses several challenges for both employers and employees. Sure, the model offers benefits to both parties, but it’s the downsides it brings that are of utmost concern to employers. The lack of face-to-face communication, absence of a formal work environment, and overly-relaxed attitude of remote workers are all contributing to decreasing efficiency.
How is Remote Working Affecting the Employees?
As fun and exciting as working from the comfort of your home sounds, it comes with its own set of challenges. Most remote employees have been happy with the way things are, but now that we’re almost two years into the pandemic, some problems have started to surface.
One of the biggest problems is a poor or fairly non-existent work-life balance. A 9 to 5 job meant that you could wrap up your tasks at work and be done with it once you’ve reached home, but remote working has changed this for everyone. Although you aren’t leaving home for work now, the day doesn’t really end on time. The fine line between your work and personal life has started to fade. It has started to feel like you’re always working. This is building frustration, and there is a high chance that it’ll soon be reflected in your productivity and efficiency.
Another major issue of remote working is the constant distractions at home. Not everyone has a dedicated home office or a room to themselves where they can work in silence. Distractions affect efficiency big time. Employees are failing to deliver work on time which is affecting their performance. As a result, work-related stress is on the rise, and with that, the temperament of remote workers is also shifting towards being edgier.
All of these factors are making remote employees more stressed and unhappy with how things are progressing. If the employees aren’t happy, can you expect them to work to the best of their capabilities? Certainly not! This is where the real challenge for employers lies – to ensure that their remote employees are happy and satisfied, and there’s nothing that stands in the way of 100% efficiency and productivity.
How to Ensure Your Remote Employees are Happy?
The happier your employees are, the more dedicated they’ll be to their job, and the better will be the results. Though it takes a little bit of extra effort from your end, it’ll be all worth it. We’ve listed down some solid tips that’ll help you ensure that your remote employees are happy remote workers.
1. Provide Your Employees with Everything They Need
You’ve got to accept the fact that working from home isn’t easy. The employees don’t have everything that they’ll need to work efficiently from home. Many employers don’t provide employees with anything more than their laptops. Employees have access to everything they need when they’re working from the office, including stationery and tech supplies, but that’s not the case when they’re working from home, which is bound to make them unhappy and frustrated. The least you can do to ensure your employees are happy and putting their heart into their work is by providing everything they need from stationary like notepads, staplers, etc., to tech supplies like headphones and internet devices.
You can also offer your help setting up workstations for your employees at home. You can also set up a portal where the employees can request any supplies. Also, try to arrange ergonomic equipment for your employees’ home offices to make sure their health doesn’t get affected while they work from home. Ergonomic furniture like the Sit2Go 2-in-1 Fitness Chair will ensure your employees are sitting comfortably in the correct posture and working without tiring themselves out. Make sure you’re arranging the things your employees are requesting promptly for the highest level of satisfaction.
2. Offer Flexibility
Thanks to COVID-19, it’s not just the parents who’re working from home, but the kids are attending online classes from home. Do you know what that means? The kids are always around, and one can’t possibly focus with so many distractions. Someone who was able to complete a task in an hour may require 3 or even 4 hours to complete it. If you don’t offer flexibility and a bit of relaxation, it won’t be long before your employees start to feel frustrated and over the edge. Keep timelines flexible wherever possible and allow your employees to take time off when they want. Just because they aren’t coming to the office doesn’t mean they don’t need a break from work.
3. Communicate Actively
Don’t expect your employees to deliver work on time if you aren’t available to answer their queries timely. If that’s the case, trust us when we say – your employees are already unhappy with their job. One way to ensure maximum employee engagement and satisfaction is effective communication. Set up communication channels and invest in communication tools that will help all of your employees to stay connected with each other and with you at all times.
4. Plan Team Building Activities
Working from the office has its own charm. You can interact and socialize with your fellow teammates, have lunch together, share a laugh, and diffuse some of the work stress. Remote working has isolated everyone, and there’s a serious lack of team spirit. Employees have started to feel like robots, making them feel frustrated and unhappy. You should plan team-building activities that enable the employees to interact on an unofficial level. You can arrange video calls or an off-site meet-up or a sports game; or anything that you think the employees will enjoy.
5. Appreciate Your Employees Often
It’s human nature to feel unhappy if their efforts go unrecognized. They won’t feel like working at all. Considering how hard one must be working on getting their work done on time with all the distractions and shortcomings of the remote working model, it’s only fair to let them know that you really appreciate their hard work. You could give out cash prizes, gift vouchers, or official gift hampers to the best-performing employees every month. If you don’t have a budget for any of these options, you can always send out company-wide emails appreciating your employees' names by name and letting everyone know about their contributions. This will uplift your employees’ spirits and make them want to do even better
6. Adapt a Result-Oriented Approach
It’s no hidden fact that timelines do get affected when employees are working from home. Expecting that the employees will be able to deliver all the work within the same timeframe as they did when they were working from the office is outright unfair. It’s only going to put undue stress on the remote workers. Some individuals may be able to work better at night when their kids are asleep, and there’s no distraction, while others would prefer working during the day. So, instead of taking a timeline-oriented approach, adopt a results-oriented approach. Focus on what’s delivered rather than beating the bull over when. It’ll enable the employees to work when they think their productivity is at the maximum without stressing over the timeline. In fact, rushing things when there are distractions around will only increase the probability of errors in the work.
7. Help Your Employees Manage Time
It’s important to provide remote workers with flexibility and adopt a results-oriented approach but managing time is still important. If the employees aren’t time-bound (even if it’s a significantly broad window), they’ll naturally feel complacent, and as a result, the work will get affected. While it’s not wise to impose timelines, you should look for other ways you can help your employees manage time more effectively. You can make use of collaborative project management tools like Trello and have all your employees use them. It’ll assist them in managing tasks efficiently. You can also conduct training to further help your employees learn to manage time without stressing themselves out. This way, they’ll be happier and will be able to work stress-free. And all of these factors will result in error-free results!
8. Arrange One-on-One Meetings
Communication channels can help bridge the professional communication gap to a certain extent, but there will always be a lack of personal communication. When you’re working in a physical office, you can tell how a person’s mood is. However, that’s not possible when working remotely, and something you do or say may worsen your employee’s mood, which will eventually affect their efficiency. It’s important for employers to understand how their employees are feeling. For this, make sure you’re arranging one-on-one meetings at a club, restaurant, or a café; anywhere that’s not the office, and just talk. This will help break the ice and allow you to better understand your employees on a personal level and get to know what it is that they feel is missing.
Making remote workers happy is a challenge, but it’s not something you can’t find a way around. You just have to first acknowledge the challenges and struggles of your employees and then get down to their level to help them. When your employees feel like they’re heard and understood, they’ll automatically want to work their best and make you happy!