The COVID-19 pandemic has taught businesses a lot about what is possible, what works, and how they can do things differently. Top of that list is remote working, an activity that was once thought to be detrimental to productivity.
If there’s one thing business has learned in the five months of lockdown, it’s that this is just not true at all. If anything, remote work has resulted in more productivity than before, with workers working longer hours and increasing their individual output in the process.
It’s fair to say, then, that working from home is here to stay. While it may not continue in its current form, it will likely stick around in other ways, whether that’s more flexible working hours, bosses having a more understanding perspective on the importance of family time, or a dedicated WFH policy that allows for X number of working from home days a week.
That’s not to say working from home doesn’t raise new challenges, because it does. One of the biggest is maintaining morale and building company culture, all while making remote workers feel included in their respective teams.
Fortunately, there are solutions to these challenges. While this is not an exhaustive list, what follows is four tips that could help organisations keep their remote workers feeling motivated, interested, and included.
This one’s obvious, but worth re-stating: Include them. Remote workers are prone to feeling separation anxiety when physically away from their colleagues, so it’s important to find ways to include them in day-to-day business activities. This is where online meetings can really help, because everyone can join them no matter where they are. Even if some employees are in the office at the time of the meetings, it will make teams feel like everyone is on the same page and provide an opportunity for all voices to be heard.
Equip them properly
Working in an office often provides the best way for employees to access business IT resources, while working remotely can feel like being at a bit of a disadvantage. The best way to combat this is to ensure that in-office employees have the same equipment and programs as their remote working counterparts; having equivalent equipment in their respective toolkits will help remote workers to feel they’re contributing equally to the business’s success.
Recognise the ‘team’ in teamwork
For a lot of workers, being recognised for their contributions is as important – if not more so – than monetary compensation. In a remote work situation, it’s important to recognise that people who don’t work in the office can and do manage to contribute in excellent ways. By acknowledging their achievements and hard work, and sharing email updates on what the team achieved on a regular basis, they will feel included and appreciated.
Plan for their future
It’s very important to let remote workers know that they are included in future plans for your workforce. With so many workers working at home, it’s vital that management develops new ways of evaluating and rewarding remote talent, so that they’re not left out when it comes to things like promotions or incentives. Knowing that the business is keeping them in mind makes a big difference to any remote worker’s mindset.
Adapting to the new remote working normal has shown that there is a viable alternative to the traditional ways businesses have been working up to this point. Maintaining that and finding new ways of keeping remote workers happy and included is the key to future success.