To create a positive remote worker employee experience, combine these top strategies with data pulled from ActivTrak’s workforce analytics platform.
As the pandemic reconfigured the future of work and our ideas of what a productive work environment looks like, it also challenged ideas about productivity and the remote worker employee experience. The coronavirus crisis caused many organizations to go remote-first, and although studies show that remote work environments can increase employee productivity, the remote work experience does present unique obstacles. Managers must do all they can to prevent employee burnout, foster a sense of belonging, and boost employee engagement across their organization. Where do you start?
In this article, you’ll learn about the inner workings of the remote worker employee experience and why it’s so important for managers to take employee experiences seriously. We’ll also share some ActivTrak approved strategies for building positive employee experiences and explain how remote workforce analytics factors into it all.
Choose where to start:
- What is Remote Work?
- Defining the Remote Employee Experience
- What Impacts Remote Workers?
- Benefits of Improving the Remote Worker Employee Experience
- How to Improve Remote Work Employee Experiences
- Objectively Measure Remote Worker Employee Experiences with ActivTrak’s Data-Driven Insights
What is Remote Work?
Remote work is a working arrangement that allows employees to work outside of a traditional office environment for varying periods of time. Some employees work remotely full-time, while others work in a remote environment only a few days a week. This arrangement varies between organizations and is dependent upon their policies or guidelines around remote and hybrid work.
Defining the Remote Employee Experience
The remote employee experience refers to how remote employees experience their work environment. This includes their employee engagement levels, their sense of belonging, their sentiment towards the tools they’re provided to facilitate remote work, the extent to which they’re involved in the company culture, and much more.
What Impacts Remote Workers?
65% of employees say that they are actually more productive in a remote work environment, with 30% saying that they were able to do more work in less time than in traditional work environments. However, that doesn’t mean that remote work is without its challenges.
Some of the biggest challenges remote workers face are focus and distractions. When working outside of a more traditional workspace, there are more opportunities to get distracted with household chores, childcare needs, or people-watching at a bustling coffee shop. Also, many remote employees find it difficult to maintain a healthy work-life balance, with work hours frequently overlapping with personal time. This overlap creates a perfect recipe for overwork and burnout. Communication issues are another key factor impacting the well-being of remote workers. As email and messaging apps like Slack take the place of a quick conversation with coworkers across the room, and a schedule full of video conferencing cuts into productive time, it can be challenging for remote employees to work efficiently.
Addressing problems like poor work-life balance, employee burnout, and workflow bottlenecks as a result of poor communication are critical for improving the overall remote work experience and creating an all-around more positive work environment.
Benefits of Improving the Remote Worker Employee Experience
Fostering a positive remote employee experience is one of the most important ways a company can boost employee engagement and help remote employees work wiser. When the needs of remote workers are taken seriously and they’re given the tools they need to succeed, remote workers are more productive, more engaged, and mentally and physically healthier.
Improving the remote worker experience is also beneficial from an operational standpoint. Studies show that engaged employees are 38% more productive, and productive employees are more likely to drive revenue for your organization with consistent, focused performance. Satisfied employees are also less likely to leave your company. Since turnover, on average, costs a company 1.5-2 times an employee’s salary, improving the remote employee experience is also beneficial to a company’s revenue.
How to Improve Remote Work Employee Experiences
Here are nine ways to create an inclusive, positive, and productive remote worker employee experience:
1. Help remote workers feel connected to a team
One of the biggest challenges for remote employees is maintaining connections with team members from a distance. Managers looking to foster teamwork should encourage opportunities for healthy collaboration to facilitate building trust and team spirit. Practice a remote-first mindset when scheduling meetings and events to encourage active participation from all team members. Also, ensure remote workers are kept in the loop when it comes to major initiatives or changes to company goals, both short and long-term.
2. Address burnout and promote a healthy work/life balance
Juggling the responsibilities of remote work with the challenges of working from home can directly contribute to employee burnout. Burnt out employees are 61% more likely to take a sick day, 23% more likely to visit the ER, and 2.6x as likely to leave a company in search of a more positive employee experience. It’s challenging for managers to detect, diagnose, and stop burnout before it negatively impacts employee productivity and well-being.
With ActivTrak, you can identify remote employees at high risk or trending towards burnout so you can proactively intervene. Also, the workload balance feature helps you identify over- and under-utilized employees to ensure that tasks are distributed responsibly and no one is overworked.
ActivTrak’s Workforce Analytics software analyzes employee productivity to highlight changes in workforce output during the day so you can help employees identify when they’re most and least productive. This helps managers and remote workers alike optimize schedules, identify pain points at different times during their workday, and ensure everyone has what they need to work effectively.
3. Create a positive company culture
It can be challenging to build a strong and cohesive company culture in the era of remote work since email and Slack communication often leave remote teams feeling disconnected from each other and the company. Still, building a positive company culture is absolutely possible in a work-from-home setting! Managers should emphasize openness and transparency, reaffirm positive company values, and make concerted efforts to foster a diverse and inclusive environment.
4. Create an easy, straightforward, and memorable onboarding experience
Welcoming new team members into the company with an intuitive and helpful onboarding process can increase employee engagement from the start by clarifying a company’s values and culture while making new employees feel supported. Start with a warm virtual welcome that emphasizes your company’s commitment to prioritizing the remote worker employee experience, use video calls to set up some valuable face time between new hires and seasoned employees, and create detailed onboarding docs or tutorials for the online tools your teams use. Also, be sure to frequently follow up on your onboarding efforts!
5. Show appreciation for remote work
Working from home leaves many remote employees feeling unappreciated because no one can see or recognize their hard work. Managers should make sure to consistently offer praise for a job well done. Remote workers also miss out on in-office perks like free lunch on Fridays or wellness activities. Offering remote workers stipends for some of the amenities that come along with an office environment is an excellent way to make remote work feel like teamwork.
6. Focus on mental health
Remote work can blur lines between work life and home life, which can lead to symptoms more serious than burnout. Train team leaders and managers to recognize symptoms of an employee experiencing mental health challenges. Some common indicators include irritability, low employee engagement, cynicism, remote work anxiety, self-isolation, and insomnia. Develop plans for supporting employees who may be struggling and encourage teams to take mental health days whenever necessary.
7. Keep lines of communication open
Identifying burnout and other remote work challenges is much easier for companies that keep lines of communication open between remote workers, teams, and management. Pairing remote workers with appropriate mentors for their roles and setting up regular feedback sessions about the digital experience can help companies better understand what support remote workers need to remain productive and engaged with their work.
Managers should hold regular 1x1s with each remote team member to facilitate supportive conversations centered on the status of project deliverables, possible sources of frustration, employee well-being, and any coaching opportunities. This can help ensure employees prioritize general wellness and create a healthy work-life balance.
Also, managers should place as much emphasis on listening as they do on talking. Make sure remote employees know that their concerns will fall on compassionate, attentive, and understanding ears when they bring an issue to their manager. Don’t rush to judgment and don’t take action until you’ve heard the entire story to make employees feel heard and understood.
8. Develop programs for professional development
Professional development can be overlooked when employees are working from home, but remote employees shouldn’t be left out simply because they’re not in a traditional office. Encourage employees to attend professional development events, either in-person or virtual, and try to make sure all events are recorded or have a webinar component so remote teams can tune in from wherever they are.
With ActivTrak Coach, you can use a remote employee’s own productivity data to help them move forward in their career. This feature analyzes employee productivity data and provides personalized recommendations you can use to have constructive discussions with your team members, make targeted interventions, and highlight opportunities for improvement that are unique to each employee. ActivTrak also lets you track and review week-over-week progress to assess the impact of your coaching.
9. Ensure remote employees have the right tools
While most companies have adopted centralized communication tools like Zoom and Slack, working from home involves using more technology than one might use in a traditional office setting, and all-too-often, remote employees are not confident in the use of those tools. In fact, a 2018 study by Igloo found that 41% of employees, both in-office and remote, were using apps that were not approved by their companies because they simply found these tools easier to use. Providing employees with the tools and apps they need to not just communicate with each other, but to manage their own technology usage and productivity, and offering plenty of training around using these tools is one of the best ways that employers can support workers remotely.
Objectively Measure Remote Worker Employee Experiences with ActivTrak's Data-Driven Insights
A positive remote worker employee experience is about so much more than office perks. Creating an environment for remote workers that focuses on work/life balance and mental health, provides access to the right technology, and prioritizes team-building means creating a space for workers to thrive, rather than simply get the job done.
With ActivTrak’s burnout, workload management, and productivity coaching solutions, you have the data needed to objectively measure employee engagement and the quality of your organization’s remote employee experience right at your fingertips.
- Remember that remote employees encounter different challenges than in-office employees and may need different kinds of support.
- Get creative and explore opportunities to make remote teams feel appreciated.
- Use ActivTrak’s workforce analytics software to support remote employees and prevent burnout.