Recent discussions have been circulating around making remote work a legal right or default position for workers in the UK.
This has brought increased attention to flexible working policies in businesses, although it hasn’t been confirmed by government officials as of yet. Although remote work might not be a possibility for all job roles and industries, the benefits of doing so where possible have been proven time and time again.
But creating an enriching employee experience for those working at home full-time can be a challenge for businesses and HR departments specifically. How can we ensure that their experience is consistent with the experience of those working in-office? How will they have access to the same training, facilities and tech that those work in-office have access to? Then, once you’ve built a remote employee experience that’s worth shouting about, how do we maintain that strategy and not let it become side-lined?
Here are 6 key strategies to building and maintaining an enriching employee experience for those working from home.
1. Engage remote workers with office activities
Although you might think that remote workers would feel envious or left out seeing in-office activities, it can actually have the opposite effect – reminding them of the community that is your workforce and engaging them socially with others in the office. It can also help to keep them up-to-date with overall business goals and developments which they might otherwise miss out on seeing, and therefore lose touch with the bigger picture, unable to see the growth and progress your business is making.
Example: Here at Youmanage, we have whiteboards in the office that detail recent campaigns and sales plans – we make a point of taking photos of these regularly to share with the rest of the team to ensure they’re informed on all the amazing progress we’re making as a business.
2. Invest in collaboration tools – and maintain them
We’re sure you already have many of these tools in place since the beginning of the pandemic, but keeping them up-to-date for everyone can be a challenge when half your workforce is in-office and the other half is working from home. It can be easy to forget to keep your remote workers up to date with discussions happening in the office, or updating your collaborative tools to reflect tasks completed. As with everything, implementing the tools is only the first step, so ensure you have the dedicated resource to update these tools and ensure everyone is kept in the loop.
3. Arrange regular one-to-ones
One-to-ones are not just there to check up on employees and their workloads – they’re also there to ensure an employee’s needs are being met in terms of wellbeing and development. Likely, they might have a wish to undertake training courses or build upon their experience in order to do their job more successfully. One-to-ones are a perfect opportunity to ask these questions and find out how their employee experience could be improved from a management perspective. It also helps to make them feel valued and respected as part of the wider team.
4. Encourage a culture of trust
We’ve blogged extensively in the past about fostering a culture of trust – and this applies even more so for remote employees. Managers must not only foster this culture but also ensure that employees know they are trusted and valued to be doing their job successfully and to the best of their ability. Communication and praise can go a long way for employees who are working from home, so be sure to provide regular touch points with them throughout the week. Remote work can be at best liberating and at worst isolating, so be sure to check in and see how your employees are feeling throughout.
5. Host virtual meet-ups and tea breaks
It’s not only important for an employee to feel connected with the wider business goals, but also with their colleagues who they are collaborating with. Sometimes the best way to achieve this is to take it out of a work context, but this can be difficult when they’re working from home full-time. We encourage having virtual tea breaks during the week where employees can catch up and engage with one another, or even virtual staff nights out on a Friday night!
6. Ask them what works for them
The biggest mistake businesses can make in terms of building a strong employee experience is looking at other business strategies and expecting it to work with their employees. Your team is unique – each person will have their own ideas on what they would like to see or what would help in terms of increasing engagement and keeping them excited to log on every day. So your best bet is to ask them and find out for yourself. One great way to do this is through Youmanage’s survey feature – you can send out a survey to all employees, or even just select groups (like remote workers) to ask them how their remote experience could be improved, and create actionable insights from that data to drive change.
One of the most important things to remember when building your remote employee experience is that it won’t happen overnight, and it may take a bit of trial and error – with flexible working for all being a relatively new concept, there will likely be some adjustments to be made along the way. But with the right HR tools and tech you can monitor and improve on this strategy year on year until your remote employees are happier than ever, and working to the best of their abilities.
Did you find this article useful? Youmanage is a HR software platform providing embedded guidance, compliance and automation at every step of your day-to-day HR and business activities. Take out a free 30-day trial, or book a free demo with our Support Team for more information.