In March 2020 the world entered a pandemic, making employees all over the world leave the traditional office space to work safely at home. Fast forward to the present day, and remote work still shows no signs of stopping. Many companies have even gone as far as making the shift to working from home permanently.
For many employees, working from home offers various benefits like lower transportation costs, the ability to work from any location, and a more flexible work environment. However, working remotely has also caused many challenges that workers may have never experienced before. To help ensure the success of your employees, it’s important to combat the challenges remote jobs pose and support those who work from home as best we can.
Provide Secure Technology
For security and productivity purposes, supply your employees with the proper technology and tools they need to carry out their tasks.
You can support your remote employee by providing them with a work laptop and other essential equipment, such as secure internet, VPNs, and malware software to help protect employee and business data. Data breaches have gone up since the transition to work-from-home jobs. Supplying remote workers with essential tech will allow IT to monitor suspicious activity, embed extra security in the device, and act quickly against cyber threats. This will help reduce cybersecurity risks and protect employees from common scams, like identity theft.
If you aren’t able to provide employees working from home with the proper technology, offer monthly WFH stipends so that employees can buy the equipment they need without the financial burden.
For many, working from home was a luxury that businesses rarely ever gave. People wanted the flexibility that work-from-home opportunities could offer. But working from home doesn’t automatically mean flexible work. Remote work creates many challenges that make it hard to achieve a work-life balance. To create flexible jobs, businesses must adapt beyond the benefit of being able to work from home. A great way to implement more flexible work arrangements is by offering flextime.
According to a recent Gartner survey, 43% of digital workers see flexible work hours as the main driver of their higher production levels. Rather than having a rigid 9-5 work schedule, allow employees to choose when and where they work. This gives them the freedom of choice and allows them to foster a work-life balance that best suits their needs. Take the time to properly implement your flexible work arrangements. Set boundaries to avoid common pitfalls, establish proactive communication channels, and provide standard work schedule options for those who thrive with more structure.
Offer Financial Support
COVID-19 and recent events have created financial obstacles for workers. From being laid off and facing pay cuts, to high inflation rates, money is tight for many right now. This can create financial stress, which negatively affects the wellness of employees and can inhibit their ability to work.
An easy, but costly, solution is to give an inflation bonus. However, if you’re a small business or aren’t able to financially provide a raise for all your workers, there are less expensive options to financially support your remote team.
A long-term way you can do this is by creating a financial wellness program. Financial wellness programs allow employees to make the most out of their paychecks and give them the proper skills to better manage their money and reach financial goals. For instance, if a remote employee is looking to move to a less expensive city, a financial wellness program can help them identify how much house they can afford and assist them in creating an action plan to reach this milestone. Offering financial wellness opportunities will help alleviate financial stress and equip employees with the skill sets they need to make better money decisions.
Advocate Mental Health
Along with financial stress, remote workers are facing new and difficult mental health challenges. Working remotely can be an isolating experience, and having your home as your office can make it hard to separate your personal and professional life.
Support employees by being an advocate for mental health. Being a strong advocate will make it easier for employees to open up to managers about what they may be experiencing. For a more private approach, communicate mental health resources to remote teams. Reminding employees of the tools and resources available will allow them to seek the help they need, without having to disclose information they don’t feel comfortable speaking up about.
To help promote a wellness culture, encourage employees to take breaks during the workday, and remind workers to shut down their laptops after the workday is over. Go the extra mile by providing mental health workshops to inform workers on how to positively cope with their emotions and better manage their stress.
Recognize & Appreciate
Recognizing and showing appreciation for workers is always important, but is even more so in a remote workplace.
Oftentimes, workers leave jobs because they don’t understand their worth to the company or feel their hard work goes unnoticed. This can be amplified by working from home because of the lack of social interaction with each other. Because of this, managers should take the initiative to recognize and appreciate their employees to help boost morale and employee fulfillment.
This can be done by acknowledging the hard work of an employee on business communication channels or by rewarding employees with a small gift. Remember, hard work isn’t always exemplified through conversion metrics and it’s equally important to take the time to recognize an employee’s efforts. Rather than privately messaging employees your gratitude, showcase it during meetings with a personal shout-out. This will help remote workers feel part of a community and get team members more familiar with each other.
Promote Professional & Personal Growth
Support your remote workers by investing in their growth. Providing resources and opportunities for your employees to grow professionally and personally will create a deeper connection between employees and the company.
Investing in employee development creates various benefits for both the business and employees. To help workers obtain skills in their area of interest, offer virtual learning opportunities. Provide employees with free access to educational videos, data camps, and certification training. For a hands-on experience, implement a shadowing or mentorship program. Through this program, employees can increase their personal value and get the help they need to prepare for higher roles within the company.