According to data predictions, 25% of all professional jobs in North America will be remote by the end of 2022. As more companies provide virtual work opportunities and work from home is accepted as a new routine, many are discovering the advantages of remote work. Some of the main benefits include employees seeing improved work-life balance, as well as finding more time for family, hobbies, and travel.
Remote work is here to stay. However, just like with any job, some challenges follow. Employers must think strategically about their remote work policies and how permanent virtual work will affect their employees in the long run. Managing a virtual workforce isn’t easy, but the long-term commitment to your team will ultimately benefit your business. Read along and discover how employers can help ease the transition to full remote work.
Provide a Productive Work Environment
Set Employees Up For Success
When working in-office, many employers would stock the refrigerator and provide comfortable workstations for employees. With people transitioning to full-time remote work, now’s the time to start encouraging employees to design their creative workspace, allowing them to hone in on their work and maximize productivity. Bringing your office home requires workers to have the necessary remote working tools and equipment to perform their jobs successfully. Many companies have started offering home office stipends to reimburse employees for office-related costs, whether used to pay for equipment, like a monitor or desk, or the internet bill.
According to the American Psychological Association, 65% of Americans noted finances as a source of stress. To make prioritizing your employees’ well-being and offering them resources a step further, you can truly invest in their personal development. Offering financial and mental wellness resources may help employees feel more fulfilled inside and outside work. Resources may include budgeting, stress management, and relocation tips. For example, if an employee is looking to take advantage of remote work in terms of location flexibility, providing financial wellness resources can help alleviate their stress by helping them understand what they can afford in terms of housing during the relocation process. Other development opportunities include health and life insurance, competitive paid time off, and company-matched 401k plans.
Prioritize Employee’s Mental Health
Moving from an office full of people to working from home in a calm environment alone can be difficult for some. Although remote work has many benefits, working from home comes with challenges. Companies have been adding virtual social activities like happy hours to combat employee isolation to their calendars. Although these can be fun ways to connect with your team, personal check-ins are a way to make employees feel supported and heard by leadership. Managers who check in with their employees via video call once a week for a short interaction can help employees feel less forgotten about and serve as a way for workers to stay on track with their work. Your employees are your greatest asset, so addressing their needs shows you care and that they’re of value to the company.
Showing your employees empathy goes beyond lending them an ear and being accommodating to individual situations. You can also show empathy as an employer by recommending the use of company-sponsored programs and benefits. If your company offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), advise employees to utilize this service to help with any personal hardships they may face. Along with offering an EAP program, companies can look into offering a wellness stipend, which employees can use for fitness classes, or provide employees with free online fitness resources.
Hone in on Training Programs
Provide Remote Working Tools
As an employer, starting by teaching your remote employees how to work better from home is essential. Besides training on how to do the daily job, educate your workforce on time management and how to handle distractions. Not all employees can hold the same discipline at home as opposed to in-office. At home, it can be challenging to separate work and your personal life. As an employer, share knowledge and tools on avoiding distractions – like using noise-canceling headphones, muting alerts on your phones, and following deep work strategies. Remote working tools are essential to assisting your employees through transitioning into your company or to an at-home work environment.
Acknowledge All Learning Styles
Remote work is not one-size-fits-all. Some employees retain information differently than others, so different training approaches will help cover all learning styles. Real-time learning allows everyone to connect via video calls or cloud-based linked sessions. Self-directed learning gives remote employees the freedom to learn on their own time, while blended learning is a mix of the two.
Some companies may use apps their employees have never used before to communicate, so train your employees on communication etiquette and basic operations. Guidelines may include appropriate hours to send messages and what channels to use. Employees can easily reach out to colleagues for technology help when working in-office. However, employees will likely need to contact IT or troubleshoot at home. Giving employees tip sheets on the company’s databases and how to navigate them will help set them up for success.
As the workforce evolves and industries adapt to working from home, employers need to care for their employees and support them through this transition. Remote work is rising, bringing new challenges and opportunities to companies. Learning a new way to work isn’t always easy, but the long-term results are worth the effort.