10 Effective Ways to Ensure Remote Worker Happiness
Remote working is now more popular than ever, with more employers recognising the benefits it can bring both the employee and the organisation. Remote workers often enjoy a better work life balance and are able to work more productively. Employers who offer remote working options have much better employee retention and also save money on overheads.
Even with these benefits, remote working does have some downsides. Remote workers may be more prone to burnout working from home, they can feel more isolated and lonely, and they can feel disconnected from their work and the rest of the team. Fortunately, there are many steps that employers can take to make sure their remote workers are happy and engaged.
Use Communication Tools
Communication is paramount for keeping a happy and engaged team, for both remote workers and workers in the office.
Messaging apps can be used for work matters and also more informal chat – most apps will enable you to set up different message threads so you can keep a defined boundary between work and social conversations. You can also set up different channels for various teams, departments, and projects. Video calls are also good for keeping remote workers connected and can also be more personal than an email or phone call. You might want to schedule a weekly team video call for people to have a catch-up about work, voice any concerns, and ask for help if needed.
By giving remote workers the opportunity to always be in contact with other team members, you can help them to feel happier, less isolated, and more involved in what’s going on.
But Avoid Unnecessary Communication
Regular meetings are a great way of keeping all your team members connected. But if you frequently have meetings with nothing to say, it can lead workers to feel frustrated and knock their productivity.
Make sure all your meetings have a clear agenda so they’re useful for everyone who is taking the time to attend them. Try to make sure meetings are kept to the point – you’ll want to allow everyone to voice their opinion and contribute, but make sure what’s shared is relevant to everyone. If you have a meeting scheduled but there’s nothing to say, it’s more beneficial to postpone to another time when there’s more information to share.
Remote workers especially may need to put more effort into their time management, so by making sure no time is wasted with unnecessary meetings, you can help them to stay focused and productive.
Encourage Boundaries Between Home and Work
Remote workers might find it more difficult to separate their work life from their personal life, and so might be more prone to burnout symptoms like feeling overwhelmed, feeling helpless, and working from home fatigue. As part of your employer duty of care, you should watch for signs of burnout and encourage remote workers to set clear boundaries between home and work, so they don’t overwork themselves.
You should encourage remote workers to take regular breaks away from their workstation. You should make sure that they’re not always ‘on’, with clear working hours and times when they won’t be working so shouldn’t be checking their emails or available for phone calls. You should make sure this is communicated with the rest of the team so there is a defined culture and separation of work life and personal lives.
Set Clear Working Goals
You should make sure that remote workers have clear goals, so they know exactly what’s expected of them. It can be easy for remote workers to be left to their own devices when working, but by making sure they have a clear direction of what they need to do, you can make sure they’re able to keep in line with the rest of the team.
You should also aim to regularly provide feedback for remote workers, so they know what they’re doing right and what they might need to improve on. By using the right communication tools and keeping in regular contact, you can make sure your remote workers can work more effectively by knowing what they should be doing. This will keep them happier and more productive, as well as ensuring their work is relevant and valuable.
As well as setting clear working goals, you should recognise when workers achieve goals and produce outstanding work. It can be easy to do this with workers in the office, but more difficult to do so with remote workers.
If you have a regular meeting, you should make time to recognise workers’ recent achievements. As well as rewarding the worker, you’ll also motivate other team members who will want the same type of recognition for their own work. You could also look into an employee reward scheme or send care packages, so remote workers don’t miss out on any rewards that might otherwise be presented in the office.
Use Project Management Tools
By using the right project management tools, you can ensure all your team members are able to collaborate effectively and keep on top of their tasks. Many project management tools allow teams to work together with messaging and editing documents, sometimes even allowing multiple people to work on a document at one time.
As well as offering remote workers an opportunity to feel connected to the team and manage their time, these tools can also give the employer a clear idea of what work is being produced. This can help alleviate any concerns some might have about remote workers’ productivity when they’re not able to be observed in an office.
Offer More Responsibilities
A great way of making sure remote workers are happy and engaged is to make sure there are plenty of opportunities for them to take on more responsibility if they want to. You should make sure remote workers are offered roles to organise and chair regular meetings or take the lead in certain projects.
By ensuring they have plenty of scope to take extra roles within the team, you can make sure remote workers feel valued and are also kept informed and in the loop. It can also help strengthen their place within the team, so they feel more connected by having more opportunities to communicate with others.
Schedule Social Time
You should try to give remote workers opportunities to speak with the rest of the team on a more informal basis. This could be by scheduling a monthly video call meeting to give everyone a chance to speak socially, or by organising a weekly quiz with different team members taking the lead every week.
You could also organise in-person meet-ups, whether that be a team building weekend or a social gathering to celebrate a birthday or Christmas. By meeting in person every now and then, remote workers can strengthen social bonds and give everyone a chance to get to know each other, which can also improve working relationships.
Find Flexible Working Hours That Work for Everyone
One of the main benefits of remote working is that it gives the employee an opportunity to work flexible hours. This can be great for workers who have children, pets, or other commitments that might need to be attended to in the usual working hours.
The employer can also benefit from flexitime working, as it lets people work at the hours that they’re most productive – so early birds can start earlier and those that work best in the evening can work later. It can also mean that there will be someone available for clients outside the usual working hours.
The team should work together to make sure everyone’s hours are appropriate and suit the team’s working practices.
Let Workers Personalise Their Home Office
A great way of ensuring remote worker happiness is to let them choose their own office working tools, rather than going for a ‘one size fits all’ approach. By letting remote workers find office equipment that fits their own home interior, they can create a comforting and productive working environment for themselves.
The Leitz WOW and Leitz Cosy ranges are perfect to equip your home office with colour co-ordinated products designed to look aesthetically pleasing in anyone’s interior, so you can create a working environment for your own personal tastes.
At Leitz, we understand that happiness is vital to staying healthy working from home. Our WorkLeitzBalance resources include many articles about how the employer and the employee can help to ensure people are happy and engaged whilst remote working.