There was a time when remote working was a concept that was unheard of in most parts of the world. Both employers and employees preferred working from office as it was an optimized manner of engaging with colleagues in a quality environment with minimal distractions.
Cut to 2021 – the tables have turned. Remote working culture has now taken over, as individuals stay safe at home, and shield themselves from COVID infection. While restrictions slowly ease up, it is clear that more businesses are opting for the ‘Work From Home’ model to ensure the health and safety of their employees.
Surveys conducted by media houses suggest that as the situation improves and vaccination drives are completed, companies might consider operating in a hybrid model – a combination of in-office and work from home models for employees on a rotational basis, as a new-age work model.
How Effective Is Remote Working?
A decade ago, there might have been serious second thoughts on the idea of enabling employees to work remotely. However, with the advancement in technology and infrastructure, the idea doesn’t seem so far-fetched today.
To better understand the effectiveness of remote working, Airtasker surveyed 1,004 full-time employees across the United States, out of which 505 respondents were remote employees. The survey primarily focused on their work habits and productivity. The key findings of the survey suggest the following:
- Remote employees work longer hours. On average, remote employees work 1.4 days more every month than their office worker counterparts.
- Office workers are unproductive for an average of 37 minutes a day, whereas remote employees are unproductive for only 27 minutes.
- On average, remote employees (22 minutes) take longer breaks than office employees (18 minutes). But they also work 10 minutes longer than office workers.
- 22% of office workers claimed that their boss distracted them from work while only 15% of remote employees said so.
All of this data suggests that remote working is actually an effective mode of working. Moreover, with a remote working model, companies and employees have saved up on workstation rentals and commuting fares respectively.
Challenges Faced In A Remote Working Environment
One cannot say that remote working does not have any disadvantages. This setup comes with its own challenges that organizations should take note of, and it’s crucial for employers to come up with work policies that will help overcome the following challenges:
1. Lines Between Personal & Professional Life Blur
This is the most commonly-stated critique of remote working. Since a person’s home also becomes their workspace, it generally results in work spilling into family-time, or employees having to answer calls at odd-hours. If not regulated, this can sour an employee’s work experience.
2. Communication & Coordination Issues
Remote working involves constant connectivity via the phone, via emails, and other applications and platforms. To plan a short meeting, one must consider every attendee’s schedule to finalize a suitable time – which increases coordination issues between teams
3. Lack of Human Connection
We are used to living in a community. The lack of human connection, in-person, can cause social isolation that eventually takes a toll on one’s physical and mental health. Working in office facilitated real-life interactions, which are now limited as people work from their homes.
All of these challenges can, at times, really dampen the spirit of work for employees. But this can be changed.
5 Ways To Keep Your Remote Team Engaged & Motivated
Engaged and happy team members will yield a steady flow of productivity. Ensuring that one’s employees are engaged remotely through a plethora of activities prevents health issues and burn-out. Managers and team leaders have an important role to play in boosting employee engagement and maintaining a healthy work culture. Here are a few ways through which that can be implemented –
1. Cater To The Overall Wellness of Employees
It is an obvious fact that healthy employees are far more efficient than unhealthy employees. Consider conducting weekly activities that promote occupational, physical and mental well-being of employees. From a mandated, daily, 15-minute meditation session to weekly workout sessions – organize virtual events to engage your employees and foster healthy habits.
2. Host A Casual Team Catch-Up
Casual team catch-ups are a great way to maintain employee morale. After all, human beings crave connection and conversation. When working in a remote setup, it is possible that employees may feel distant and ‘cut-off’ from their team members. Organize a tea-time catch-up that let employees unwind and connect with one another, or some exciting weekend activities such as bake-offs and treasure hunts!
Webinars that promote learning within teams are another excellent way to connect employees. Use the engagement features of Nunify such as polls, live Q&A, and breakout rooms to create an engaging experience for your employees.
3. Appreciate And Celebrate All Employees
Everyone wants their work to be recognized and valued. Showing appreciation for your team’s hard work builds a bond of trust and respect. They will feel praised for their efforts and motivated to keep up the good performance.
That also means that if an employee is struggling with their work or facing a challenge, then they must know that you are there to help resolve the issue. A good bond is only nurtured when there is a two-way communication happening. And in remote working scenarios, it’s important to establish that kind of good communication.
Sessions on mindfulness conducted by professionals can provide an additional benefit for your employees’ morale. These can be pre-recorded sessions, which can be accessed by your workforce at any time via a content library, to be streamed on Nunify.
4. Gamify Activities & Meetings For A Fresh Approach
Gamification is increasingly used by marketers to attract audiences for their events and sessions. How about using the same tactic to boost team morale?
Encouraging team-based activities and dishing out rewards can be a fun way to ensure the engagement of all your employees. Getting work done doesn’t have to be boring anymore. Bringing an interesting twist to the traditional form of working and goal-setting, which will also help boost team spirit among individuals. So what are you waiting for?
5. Foster 1-on-1 Connections
Positive work culture at organizations will always be a product of a healthy relationship between employers and employees. As an employer, one must not allow the limitations of remote work to cause poor connection with, and between one’s employees.
While a professional environment is to be respected during work hours, it doesn’t do any harm in getting to know your employees outside of work. After all, they are humans too with hobbies and interests beyond work! Solidifying this personal bond is a way to ensure a healthy channel of work and productivity. As a leader, this helps you understand your team better and harness individual strength optimally. Regular, fun activities such as talent shows, karaoke, photo contests and more, help foster a healthy and positive work culture at your organization.
A good organization is one that keeps the interests and happiness of its employees on the top. And values their contribution. Through the above-mentioned points, you can ensure a motivated team even while they work remotely.