How to take care of employee experience during remote work?

Employee ExperienceRemote work

2020-04-15 – 8 min read

The current situation caused by a worldwide pandemic has changed the very basics of our everyday life. Many of us are expected to stay home and work remotely. Working remotely means breaking the old habits of how we work. Employees have more autonomy and flexibility, but they might also struggle with communication and collaboration, loneliness, and overworking.

As an employer, it's understandable to feel concerned about your employee's engagement, productivity, and overall wellbeing. But, instead of just waiting for the world to return to its normal state, you can proactively enhance the employee experience remotely. Read on to find out how!

1. Understand how employees feel 💛

Improving employee experience is about shifting organisation-focused mindset into an employee-centered one. This mindset should also apply during remote work. The first step is to be genuinely interested in how employees feel in order to pinpoint their challenges in remote work.

A good way to gather understanding about employees’ experiences is…*drumroll*….asking from them! That’s right. This can happen casually in everyday remote meetings or to be more organized, conduct a survey.

Asking how your employees are doing shows empathy and willingness to care. Make sure you are able to provide real solutions to tackle the possible pain points. Even small acts are valuable if they show employees that they are taken care of, especially during these times when many of us feel uncertain about the future.

Topics you can ask:

  • Remote collaboration and/or communication
  • Tools and technologies for remote working
  • Overworking or difficulties with work-life-balance
  • Distractions impacting work efficiency and focus
  • Staying motivated and managing own work
  • Bad work ergonomics or health habits

2. Ensure open and honest communication 💬

In the State of Remote Work Report from 2019, remote workers told they struggle the most with collaboration and/or communication, loneliness and unplugging after work. Especially now when many companies are not only operating remotely but facing a difficult economic situation, it’s even more essential to keep internal communications open and honest. Transparency diminishes the feeling of uncertainty, builds trust and increases the sense of togetherness amongst employees.

To ensure open communication and collaboration, establish shared communicational practices and make sure everyone understands them. Encourage open information sharing in all parts of the organization. Arrange enough virtual company-wide gatherings as well as team meetings and one-on-ones with well-functioning remote tools and channels.

Tips for internal communication:

  • Establish open and honest communication practices and structures. Think where to share information, how and when.
  • If your company isn't using Slack or any other communication tools, now's the time!
  • Prefer virtual face-to-face interaction over written messages.
  • Use video in online meetings! Non-verbal communication is a very important part of the interaction. Plus, it’s nice to see your colleagues!

3. Maintain team culture ⭐️

It’s understandable that the social factors of work suffer in remote work. Employees face a lack of human interaction and a possible feeling of loneliness. In the worst-case scenario, this impacts negatively your company culture and consequently, team performance.

As an employer, you should pay extra attention to maintaining an unique company culture. You might need to get creative and have more social touchpoints to ensure employees feel a connection with you and each other. Remind people that you are still stronger as a whole even though you’re not physically working together. Some people are naturally boosting the team spirit so recognize them to highlight the meaning of your community.

Tips for maintaining good vibes:

  • Continue the normal routines virtually and have a daily dose of small talks. Arrange online lunch and coffee breaks with colleagues.
  • Celebrate small (or big) wins and successes and make them visible. At Motley, we have a separate ”Motley celebrations” channel on Slack to recognize everyone for their hard work!
  • Start a new routine and ask everyone to shortly describe their daily tasks in meetings. Do this frequently to maintain meaningful conversations. 
  • Encourage people to share pictures of their everyday life, e.g. pets, workstations, and lunches. 
  • Get to know each other and create shared playlists or share music tips.
  • Don’t forget the power of humor and share funny (coronavirus) memes.

4. Work-life balance and wellbeing 🙏

When work and life are happening in the same place, it can be difficult to draw the line between the two. This might lead to working too much, which, in the long term, has negative outcomes. Remind your employees to pay attention to their working hours, and if possible, help them to manage their own work and plan different tasks well in advance.

Another issue with remote work might be bad working ergonomics. It’s common not to have office-level tables and displays at home. As an employer, you can still encourage employees to focus on ergonomics and give tips on small break exercises or how to set up a good workstation.

At its best, remote work can even boost employee experience as employees have more flexibility to structure their personal wellness routines. Promote the importance of this to help everyone take accountability for their own work-life balance and wellness.

Tips for wellbeing:

  • Help employees to plan and manage their work and different tasks.
  • Share tips for exercising and for overall wellbeing.
  • Remind your employees about occupational health services. Crisis situations truly affect our welfare and mental health.
  • Have 5 to 10 minutes of online wellness-breaks together with a team.
  • Set up a channel e.g. on Slack where everyone can share their remote tips about ergonomics, tools, and other related topics.
  • Tip from Motley team: walking to work! Go for a quick walk before you start working – the mind is clear after fresh air.

The challenges of remote work shouldn’t prevent employers from investing in better employee experience. Like everything else, remote work needs to be taken care of proactively, which starts by understanding the remote employee experience. This enables employees to feel efficient and motivated and to be a part of a community.

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Examples of how we can help with the employee experience in your company:

  • Review remote tools and tech
  • Spar with the remote working practices
  • Arrange online workshop about collaboration and communication remotely
  • Help in organizing a survey and in analyzing the results with suggestions.

Drop us a line and let's talk more how we could help you in employee experience. We promise to get back to you as soon as possible:

info@motley.fi

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Written by

Maija Mäenpää

Maija is a Service Designer at Motley

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Jens KrogellCEO, Co-founder+358 40 742 6062 jens@motley.fi
Miikka VartiainenCommercial Director +358 50 447 9605miikka.vartiainen@motley.fi