Work from home was an inevitable consequence of the covid-19 pandemic. Millions of employees had to work remotely because they were required to as per government regulations.
The shift to a remote working model displayed significant gains in productivity, employee mental health, and increased employee retention. Companies realized that they could function well while prioritizing employee well-being. Furthermore, a study by PwC showed that 83% of employers perceive the change to a remote work model as positive.
As the pandemic restrictions ease, most companies look forward to adopting a hybrid work model to reap the benefits of working from home. It’s fair to assume, that complete or partial work from home is going to be the new norm.
However, that being said, remote working has its challenges. One of them is engaging employees and maintaining company culture. With your team members being physically distant, they miss the opportunity to socialize with coworkers. This could lead to a reduced sense of belonging. Another challenge is maintaining the standard of work as operating from home may not work for everyone.
To help you surpass these challenges, here are a few tips to optimize a remote working model.
It is important to set some guidelines or maybe establish a work policy. This should include all you expect from employees working in a hybrid work model.
The guidelines should effectively communicate the schedule – are they expected to work from 9 to 5 or are the hours flexible. It should also mention the software and technology to rely on in a remote setting.
Details like which apps the team will use to communicate, what their at-home work set-up should consist of, and when the meetings will be conducted, should be made clear.
Security is not as big of a concern during in-office work. The network used by the company is secure and the office equipment comes with a firewall and anti-virus software installed.
However, this changes when an employee works from home. To protect valuable data and client information, security guidelines should be included in your work policy.
The guidelines should specify if the employee is allowed to work on a public network or not and the cyber security requirements for the laptop or computer they intend to work from.
Creating judgment-free zones
Creating a ‘judgment-free zone or safe zone’ essentially, means promoting a company culture that makes employees feel encouraged and supported. This is harder in a remote working environment because of the disengagement.
Mistakes help individuals grow and employees should not feel scared of making mistakes. It is crucial to encourage them to speak up and share new ideas. Furthermore, take into consideration their requests for flexible working hours and approaches to accommodate their personal needs or perhaps some emergencies.
Reconsider how productivity is measured at your company in a remote working model. Measuring it by the number of hours individuals put in, might not be the best approach. Reduced number of distractions and improved work-life balance have allowed some employees to be more productive than they would have been while working in an office.
If an employee working remotely can produce better results, it should not matter if they do it half the time. It is better to switch to an output-based approach, especially for employees working remotely.
Acknowledge contributions and provide feedback
A great way to build a good working relationship with your employees is to show that their efforts matter. Provide feedback and constructive criticism to help them improve and grow. Keep them in the loop regarding any feedback they have provided, so they know opinions matter.
Remote working employees can feel isolated, as they do not get to socialize with the rest of the teams. Keep them updated on new projects, news, and team progress so they can feel connected and a part of the team.
Encourage team connections
Arrange weekly team meetings to encourage communication between the team members. If you have new hires on your team, assign them supervisors, or mentors that they can turn to comfortably to answer questions. If possible, you can plan social activities or retreats to encourage team connections.
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Companies are making the switch to a remote or hybrid working model to harbor its benefits. However, challenges like employee engagement and maintaining company standards remain. With these strategies, you’ll be able to successfully overcome these challenges and embrace the new norm that is working from home.