Usha Dantu, Chief People Officer
September 26, 2022
Upwork’s Future of Workforce Pulse Report estimates that 36.2 million Americans will be working remotely by 2025. This is a striking 87% increase from pre-pandemic levels, which can only mean one thing – remote work is here to stay. Despite some hesitation from more traditional-minded organizations, most executives see remote work as a viable option due to its undeniable benefits, including:
- Higher productivity
- 12% average turnover reduction
- Lower costs
- Increased employee satisfaction
- Employer brand strengthening
- Wider talent pool to recruit from
As more businesses around the world embrace the concept of remote work, management teams must change outdated collaboration models and develop a set of new functional rules and practices. Everything from employee engagement to performance management and corporate culture needs to be rethought to ensure a seamless and efficient remote work experience. After all, any organization can benefit from a happier workforce that is more engaged and productive, and research shows that 70% of people would consider forfeiting benefits like health insurance or PTO to maintain a remote work model (Velocity Global, 2022).
Whether you've transitioned your company to remote work or are just planning the big shift, there are some simple and effective steps you can take to make this experience a success for your team.
4 Practical Tips for Improving Your Employees’ Remote Work Experience
1. Communication is King
Lack of communication is one of the main reasons for the decline in productivity when transitioning to remote work. With teammates no longer working side by side in the office, the ability to collaborate on the spot by simply checking in at each other’s desks disappears. Therefore, in order to stay up to date, teams must maintain continuous and efficient communication that will help them better manage their workload and relationships. Here are some communication channels we can recommend:
- One-on-ones and quick stand-up meetings
- Team catch ups
- Slack channels
- Zoom, Google Meet or Teams
- Project management software (e.g., ClickUp, Trello, Asana)
It is also important to ensure that all corporate communication takes place through secure channels, as no management wants to expose their organization to cybersecurity risks. If you are currently looking for effective solutions to protect your remote workers, reach out to DuskRise and learn more about our cutting-edge platform.
2. Level Setting Expectations
Frustration, confusion, and misalignment are not uncommon in a traditional work setting. When teams shift to remote or hybrid work, these might become more frequent, requiring a lot of attention to setting expectations right.
Being clear about what you expect from your colleagues, direct reports, and managers is the best way to prevent conflict from the start. Here are some points you should set clear expectations around:
- Scheduling and availability
- Performance and feedback
- Goals and mission
3. Less Isn’t More When it Comes to Feedback
A strong feedback culture is the best way to keep your remote team focused and motivated and help them continually improve. The same is true for managers: the more feedback they receive, the better they understand how to support their teams by identifying areas of potential conflict, building mutual trust, and increasing efficiency.
4. Healthy Boundaries are Different from Walls
There is a widespread myth that working from home allows employees to create a clear separation between personal and professional lives. In reality, many find it difficult to keep the two disconnected. Yes, it's true that WFH has eliminated daily commuting, but it's also making workers work longer hours by answering late emails or taking Zoom calls that magically appear on their calendars after 6:00 pm. Here's what you can do to prevent additional stress and burnout:
- Set clear hours of availability and create "no-emails-after-6pm" and "no-work-on-weekends" policies.
- Encourage self-care and wellness breaks (get your team Headspace subscriptions and organize weekly Zoom yoga / meditation sessions).
- Require regular breaks from the screen.
- Normalize not getting immediate responses to your Slack messages, emails, or phone calls during lunch breaks, outside of work hours, and on the weekends.
What About the Culture?
Corporate culture is a living mechanism that is maintained through constant feedback and participation, contributing to the overall work experience of employees. But is it really possible to build a solid culture if your employees mostly work remotely during the week? The following tips will help you approach this issue comprehensively:
1. Survey your Employees
A detailed internal survey will help you understand the state of your current culture and clarify whether it resonates with your employees. The results will give you a better view and insights into what is working and what are the challenges you must overcome to improve your culture-building efforts. Here are some questions we suggest including in the survey:
- Do you believe that your work contributes to the mission of the company?
- Do you support the company’s long-term vision?
- How would you describe the existing corporate culture? Is it in line with our mission and vision?
- What impact does the company leadership have on the corporate culture?
2. Recognize Your Employees' Achievements Publicly
Making your remote employees feel valued by recognizing their achievements during team and company-wide meetings is essential for creating a culture of positive reinforcement and appreciation. Your employees want to know that they matter to you and that their contribution is vital for achieving company goals. Don't let their successes go unnoticed.
A great way to integrate employee recognition into your remote work culture are the town hall meetings. It is the time for the company to reflect on the highlights and lowlights and show appreciation for employees' big and small achievements.
3. Launch Initiatives that Support your Culture and Create a Purpose
Charitable and volunteer initiatives not only have a positive social and environmental impact, but also strengthen the sense of belonging and purpose between employees and the company. That's why it is important to make time for activities other than strictly work-related tasks in order to create a strong company culture where everyone can contribute. Such activities will help employees feel like part of a larger collective force that keeps the wheels of the company in motion (even if they work remotely).
At DuskRise, we launched DuskRiseCares, an initiative created to support our employees' strong commitment to social impact and responsibility. Through DuskRiseCares, DuskRisers can give back and create opportunities for the less privileged, as well as make a positive contribution to the environment.
Bringing Things Together
Creating a better remote work experience doesn't happen overnight, as it is a combination of practices, policies, and attitudes that combine to improve employee communication, trust, and productivity, while promoting a healthy work-life balance. As always, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, so it's best to develop a strategy based on your specific needs, team size, existing corporate culture and values, and keeping all stakeholders in mind.