The global business landscape is rapidly moving toward a work-from-home environment, with increasing numbers of companies allowing and encouraging remote work. According to the 2019 State of Remote Work report from Global workspace analytics, as much as 66% of the workforce holds a job compatible with at least partial telework and could be done remotely for some portion of the week. Additionally, more than half (56%) of employees say they would like to do some or all of their work remotely regularly.
The shift to a more remote workplace has been driven by many factors, including cost savings, improved employee productivity and morale, increased employee engagement, access to talent across global markets, and reduced environmental impact. A 2017 study conducted by Stanford University found that working from home resulted in a 13% performance increase, which was attributed to fewer distractions in the home office environment. Furthermore, businesses that have adopted flexible working policies reported an average of 24% higher retention rates than those without such policies.
However, one significant disadvantage to remote work is the lack of face-to-face interaction, which is essential to creating a sense of company culture and team spirit. So how can employers create a positive, productive workplace culture in an environment where employees do not physically come together regularly? Here are a few tips.
Flexible Work Arrangements
Flexible work arrangements are critical for employees who are working from home. Not only do flexible work arrangements offer greater convenience and autonomy, but they also allow employees to manage their personal and professional responsibilities better. Flexible work can come in many forms, including part-time, job sharing, compressed hours, and telecommuting. According to a study conducted by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, organizations that use flexible work arrangements have seen benefits such as increased employee productivity (14%), improved job satisfaction (12%), reduced stress levels (9%), and increased employee morale (11%).
In addition to providing workers with more control over their day-to-day schedule, employers offering flexible work arrangements may also be able to attract and retain highly skilled talent who would otherwise have been unavailable due to location or family commitments. Flexible work also enables employees to focus on their health and well-being. Studies have shown that workers with some degree of flexibility in their schedules tend to be healthier overall than those without such options.
Offering Workers’ Compensation Alternatives
Employees in offices enjoy a more traditional form of workers’ compensation, wherein they are covered for work-related injuries resulting from their job duties. However, employees do not have access to the same level of coverage when working from home. Employers can provide alternative forms of workers’ compensation, such as insurance or additional benefits packages that cover medical costs in the event of an injury while working from home.
However, injuries might not happen at home, and other parties might get involved. Employers should consider providing legal assistance and risk management services to help their employees navigate any potential disputes arising from an injury while working from home. A personal injury lawyer can advise and represent injured employees and help them understand their rights and options.
Employee Engagement Platforms
Employee engagement platforms are a great way for remote teams to interact with one another in a virtual environment. These platforms allow team members to communicate, collaborate, and stay connected without having to be in the same physical space. Popular employee engagement tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Asana offer features such as video conferencing, online chat rooms, shared documents, and task lists. They also provide data that can help employers track the performance levels of their remote team members. Additionally, many of these platforms have mobile apps which allow workers to access the platform from anywhere or on the go.
Regular Team Meetings
While employee engagement platforms are great for communicating day-to-day tasks, it’s essential to have regular team meetings as well. You can use team meetings to discuss project progress, provide updates on company news and policies, and create a sense of unity among remote employees. Video conferencing tools such as Zoom or Skype make it easy to conduct team meetings virtually. Additionally, virtual happy hours or coffee breaks are fun for employees to connect with their colleagues while working from home.
While there are challenges that come with managing a distributed workforce, there are also many benefits to be gained by offering flexible work arrangements. Employers should consider providing remote employees with the right tools and resources to ensure success in their roles. From providing alternative forms of workers’ compensation to investing in employee engagement platforms, employers can ensure that their remote teams have all the support they need to thrive while working from home.
By implementing these strategies, companies can keep their teams connected and ensure they remain productive and engaged while working remotely. Ultimately, this will help create an influential work-from-home culture that boosts team morale and helps the company reach its organizational objectives.