Although the concept of remote working is not exactly new, it is becoming increasingly more widespread as companies are responding to the COVID pandemic and the digitization of workspace.
A year ago, businesses were struggling with the question of whether virtual employees can both receive and give the same benefits that were driving success – but as many of them are now making that decision for themselves, the answer seems to be a positive one. Few organizations feel prepared to implement virtual work on a large scale, but there are steps you can take to make the experience more productive both for your employees and your business.
Preparing for this scenario, or optimizing its effectiveness, should focus on rethinking the necessary operational procedures to ensure business continuity. With a few considerations for your new virtual workspace, your employees will be just as engaged and excited to work for your business.
The unexpected transitions that have impacted both our lives and our work have disrupted our “normal” routines. Employees need to adjust to the new way of working just as much as businesses, so it’s vital to provide the support they need. Modern businesses are becoming increasingly aware that their employees juggle more than one challenge in their lives, both at and outside of work.
To ensure that you are supporting them in any matter, you should look at employee assistance program (EAP) providers that specialize in both personal and work-related problems. And, although this should be on the top of your priority list at any time, looking for certain ways to cherish your employees might be especially useful during new and challenging periods.
Making your employees feel like they are contributing and working as part of the team even though they are not physically present can help you maintain and boost success.
In a remote landscape, where many people are balancing their work with family commitments around the house, giving your employees the freedom to complete their work in the easiest way for them will keep your productivity numbers high.
So, organizations that have solid employee recognition strategies in place and implement employee recognition ideas to create an emotional connection with their workforce during these difficult times, tend to enjoy stronger employee engagement, enhanced employee morale, and lower turnover.
Since you essentially won’t be able to see your employees during the workday, virtual work inherently demands that you trust your employees. If you shift your attention away from the process and towards the outcome, you will likely find that flexibility will translate to more success. Essentially, if you trust your employees, they will show you their appreciation by supporting your goals.
Remote work is vastly different from the office life most people are used to, which is why finding an optimal work process will likely take some time. The best thing you can probably do in such a situation is to suspend your previous conceptions of the workflow and focus on providing a supportive structure. Once the scales balance, you will likely find your success formula.
There is no question that virtual work usually comes with a dose of loneliness. While this may not be true for all of your employees, you should make sure to adopt practices that open the doors for communication, especially for important topics.
Your virtual employees can’t enjoy a mid-day cup of coffee in the break room or after-work get-togethers with their coworkers. So, the culture and atmosphere of the organization will largely depend on what you communicate to them.
Communicating clear goals and expectations will help you reinforce your organization’s culture and ensure everyone is on the same page. And, while it’s not always necessary to overwhelm your employees with regular check-ups and meetings, you should check in every once in a while and encourage them to reach out if they want to discuss any challenge or topic.
Your company culture is a huge determinant of success, and in times when your company is only virtually connected, good communication is vital.
Working remotely – and especially from home – can often blur the lines between work and personal life. For this reason, a lot of virtual employees may overextend themselves by working longer hours, which puts them at risk for unwanted stress and even burnout.
Although working long hours are sometimes associated with increased output – past a certain threshold, the quality of work starts to drop. Not to mention, fatigue and stress can have damaging effects on a person’s well being.
To ensure your employees are happy and well, you should start by setting healthy boundaries at work. Some of these practices may include:
- Signing off at the end of the workday;
- Providing wellness activities;
- Requiring regular screen breaks; and
- Encouraging self-care.
Remote working has undeniably pulled the ropes on companies and managers that were unprepared for the departure from the traditional workspace. However, the past couple of years have demonstrated that virtual work doesn’t threaten success – and might even boost it.
Your new virtual workspace can be just as productive if you adopt practices that will keep your employees happy and engaged. By running these few extra miles, you can lead your virtual teams towards success.