The pandemic of 2020 drove many companies to seek remote solutions to work once conducted in person. Even those brands going back to the office are now adopting a hybrid approach, where employees work from home at least a few days a week.
Owl Labs and Global Workplace Analytics conducted a State of Remote Work report by tapping into the thoughts of 2,025 full-time workers in the United States. They found approximately 69% of those surveyed worked from home during COVID. The sudden shift means remote work is seen as the new normal, with around 70% of workers stating they’d be less happy if they had to return to the office.
With people in the groove of working from home, they may also start to realize some of the drawbacks of remote work. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to support your remote team in 2022 and make them feel part of the company culture. Not everyone loves the isolation of working from home, so these tips will help you ensure everyone feels valued and involved.
1. Offer Flexibility
One of the biggest perks of working from home is the ability to jump up and throw in a load of laundry, pick a sick child up from school at a moment’s notice or adjust your schedule to accommodate unexpected events.
When possible, offer some flexibility to the daily schedule. Look at what projects must be completed by a set time and what can be put off. Will you gain productivity if you let a working mom split her day, taking time off for lunch with her kids during parents day and then working a bit later in the evening or after the kids go to bed?
Some things are on a timeline and may not be flexible, so pay careful attention to what tasks can wait and what is on a tight deadline.
2. Localize Pay
With remote teams, you can hire talent from all over the country. However, the cost of living in New York City far exceeds the cost of living in rural Alabama. By localizing pay, you save your company money but still meet the needs of your employees where they live.
You may wish to seek workers who don’t live in tech hubs, such as Silicon Valley, where the cost of housing is an average of $2,341 per month, making it one of the world’s costliest cities. On the other hand, a rural Indiana three-bedroom rental runs around $1,200 per month, around half the cost.
3. Improve Communication
In an office setting, your co-worker can pop into your office and share ideas or brainstorm a problem. It isn’t quite as easy to communicate when everyone works from different offices all over the country. Fortunately, you can start a stream of communication on projects quite easily with some of the conversation software on the market.
Decide whether you want a running stream of chit-chat or something more project based. Sites such as Slack, ClickUp, Monday and Basecamp offer both options, allowing you to follow a project’s progress and communicate with fellow team members by tagging them.
4. Give One-on-One Attention
It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle of getting work turned in and not communicate well with your remote workers. Many feel isolated throughout the day and may wonder if you value or even notice their work.
Combat the isolation of remote work by touching base with your employees at least once a week. Drop them a note to let them know you appreciate their effort on a project, or have a quick video meeting to see if they have any concerns.
It does require more effort to develop relationships from a distance, but if you put in the extra work, your employees will trust you have their best interests at heart.
5. Improve Software and Technology
The Becker Friedman Institute for Economics surveyed 10,000 workers about remote work versus office work. Around 30% of respondents said they were not only more productive working from home, but also more engaged.
One reason could be the increase in how people interact from a distance. Workers can focus on each task in a digital to-do list instead of hopping from one topic to the next. If you want to support your remote team in 2022, invest in the best software and technology available.
Offer an internet stipend, so your staff can afford high speed connectivity. Pay for the third-party project management software based in the cloud. Your employees can access their work from anywhere at any time. Think about what makes their life easier, more secure and efficient and provide those tools.
6. Offer Social Interaction
Even the most die-hard introvert occasionally needs some social interaction. Offer online meetups for fun. Hand out some door prizes to those who attend, such as digital gift cards or mailed items.
Host a contest for your employees where they show off their pets, hobbies and other outside interests. Start discussions about personal things as well as business things. The more your staff engages with you and others in the company, the more likely they’ll feel a connection to your brand and want to stay.
With so many more companies offering remote opportunities now, you risk a high employee turnover rate if you don’t carefully guard your company culture.
One of the best ways to support your remote team in 2022 is by asking what they need from you. Employees might have concerns or needs you haven’t thought of. They do the work daily and can pinpoint ways you might improve the process or how you’re failing to live up to what they need to do an excellent job.
Get organized with your communication and project management. Your workers should be able to seamlessly jump into the workday without a lot of thought about what comes next. The clearer you are on your processes and what you need from the team, the better they’ll deliver. A team hitting all the high notes feels resourceful and productive. They’ll be satisfied with their work and you’ll be happy with the results.