You may love it, or you may despise it, but remote work is here to stay. After experiencing the benefits of remote work, the modern workforce is reluctant to move back into the office. According to Microsoft’s 2022 Work Trend Index, hybrid work has grown by seven points to 38% year-over-year. And organizations are listening: 32%of all new job postings throughout Q4 2022 were advertised as remote.
Why is remote work crucial to your business and employees? How will it affect the future of what quintessentially represents “work”? How can human capital leaders manage employee expectations and handle the dynamics virtually? We’ve prepared a checklist to help you navigate this territory and empower your business to be on the right side of history when adapting to the newest normal.
Why has remote work worked?
GetApp reports that the number of remotely working employees has soared 400% since 2010. High-speed internet and cloud computing, supported by mobile and computer technology advancements, allowed access to work anywhere and anytime - no offices needed. More importantly, businesses that had the foresight, technology, and infrastructure required to support remote work when it became an absolute necessity during the pandemic. The organizations that did not have the technological or logistical support had to acquire it to sustain their business.
What started as an experiment in the 1980s has now been cemented in modern work culture. And, since employees and employers tasted the benefits of working remotely, there has been no looking back. As part of their post-COVID plans, 74% of businesses intend to move their staff to remote employment, says a Gartner survey. Why?
As for expenses: The average stipend as reimbursement for home-office expenses was about$66 per month.
Employees save on travel-related expenses.
Employees are free to relocate away from the heart of the business district, which is usually more expensive, saving on rent.
Childcare could potentially be another area of saving
Remote working has several tax-saving advantages, depending on where the employee is working.
However, there is an increased expense on high-speed internet, gadgets, and home-office furniture or workspace.
Global, always-on businesses can function across time zones increasing business revenue and growth.
In the United States alone, workers have ‘gained’ 60 million hours per day, to be exact, as reported by Bloomberg.
Employees no longer have to commute long distances or during peak traffic hours to reach the office. At the same time can be used more effectively at home or work.
In Stanford University’s two-year remote work productivity study, the remote working group results showed a work productivity boost equal to a full day’s work, fewer sick days, and a 50% decrease in employee attrition. In short, when employees don’t have to “go for a coffee break”, they tend to focus on their work more productively.
77% of remotely working employees increased productivity, with 30% getting more work done in lesser time survey by ConnectSolutions.
Buffer reports that remote workers are happier and have a better work-life balance compared to those who work in a traditional office environment.
Watch this video to discover how using an AI-powered and research-backed HR solution such as Amber empowered an organization to engage better with employees during COVID-19.
Adapting to foster a vibrant remote work culture
The pandemic made us pause and rethink our lives. Our priorities have shifted for good and the better. In fact, according to Microsoft’s study. Gen Z shows no signs of returning as flexibility, mobility, and entrepreneurial freedom become non-negotiable. LinkedIn data says Gen Z is the most mobile generation on the platform.
The desire for flexibility extends both ways, as 47% of leaders may consider opportunities that aren’t close to home in 2023.
At this inflection point, Human Capital and Human Resource leaders need to create a strategy that keeps these core values at the center of their strategy. The office space’s changing dynamics” must be integrated into an employee’s life cycle. It begins with a remote-work-friendly hiring process and continues across your workforce lifecycle: seamless virtual onboarding, maintaining a high level of employee wellness and a positive employee experience during their tenure, a hassle-free remote offboarding experience, and building a thriving network of employee alums after retirement or off-boarding.
Here’s a 21- point checklist to help your organization build a thriving, state-of-the-art, and employee-first remote workplace culture:
Make collaboration easier
“We don’t call it hybrid or remote. We call it intentionally flexible,”says Nickie LaMoreauz, Senior VP and Chief HRO at IBM. “It’s about people coming together as a team and intentionally deciding what works for them. The focus is on teams developing their schedule and work around life commitments”
Invest in the right wfh tools for collaboration, often across time zones)
Encourage cross-functional teams to have enough facetime
Align team calendars for company-wide meets including townhalls
Ensure your managers are aligned with their remote teams on reporting and progress of work
Take continuous actionable employee feedback
Show your employees that you’re listening to them and acting on their feedback. Stay away from unidirectional and long surveys or questionnaires. Instead, leverage AI-powered HR chatbots to gather real-time insights from your workforce. For example, 38% of hybrid workers say their biggest challenge is knowing when to work remotely and when to work in person. Your HR team can take this as an action item to initiate dialogue between teams and their managers.
Initiate periodic touchpoint with your workforce to understand enterprise-wide sentiment.
In a message to employees, Amazon CEO Andy Jassysaid, “We’re intentionally not prescribing how many days or which days—this is for Directors to determine with their senior leaders and teams.”
“Should have been an email instead of a meeting” is a frequent challenge. On the flip side, adequate face-time fosters a sense of community.
Enable your enterprise’s managers to set clear employee expectations for the frequency, means, and ideal timing of communication for their teams.
Assist team managers to develop a healthy balance between face-time and time off.
Provide insights into the number of meetings your employees attended over weeks to analyze where teams could function more effectively
Employee engagement and wellbeing is a top priority
In a McKinsey study, 49% of employees working remotely reported....that they feel at least somewhat burnt out, and this number may be an underestimate since burnt-out employees are also less likely to respond to surveys.
Prioritize work from office scheduling from employees suffering from isolation. If your employees function better around their peers, making sure they get more office time than employees who are more comfortable working remotely
Go beyond basic company policies (of flexible hours and unlimited vacation days)
Teach your enterprise’s leaders to comprehend cues from burnt-out employees
Identify at-risk employees before it is too late using personalized chat conversations triggered by your HRM solution.
Create a safe space for your employees
Employees who do not have clear communication from top management are more anxious and 2.9 times more likely to be burnt out. Identifying isolation, burnout, and loneliness are critical to creating a thriving remote workplace atmosphere and building healthy channels of communication will take your organization a long way.
Engage in regular pulse and sentiment analysis triggered by your HRM solution. Ensure your feedback is not a survey but a dialogue.
HR teams and managers must encourage open discussions where your workforce feels secure enough to start dialogue even when they aren’t prompted.
Remote work is empowering, but it can be hard to know if you're doing it right. Discover the highlights & lowlights of your remote work culture with Amber’s customized pulse survey for remote workplaces. Request a demo to get first hand experience.
Set clear expectations
The then CEO of Twitter, Parag Agarwal, tweeted: “Wherever you feel most productive and creative is where you will work, and that includes working from home full-time forever. Office every day? That works too. Some days in the office, some days from home? Of course.”
Productivity increases with remote workplace, but it should never come at the cost of your employees’ physical or mental health.
Outreach messages should ideally be customized for employees with different designations, responsibilities, and tenure. Why? For example, 55% of 18- to 34-year-olds working remotely are concerned about the impact of mental health issues on their ability to perform effectively, and only 17%
of 55 to 64-year-old people said the same.
Remote engagement beyond just work
When your team has the chance to work flexibly, 87% of them will take it, according to McKinsey.
Train your managers, and explain the benefits of setting aside time during daily or weekly check-ins. The team can engage in non-work related conversation together, making it one of the simplest ways to gauge how the team is doing outside work.
For a more detailed insight into how you can run a successful remote workplace with a culture that boosts remote work experience, download our checklist! Map where you currently stand, learn how you can do better, and discover how your remote work culture can transform your enterprise.
Remote Workplace: What Lies Ahead?
According to a 2021 survey by Gartner, 82% of companies plan to permanently allow remote work in some capacity. The future of work will be a combination of the pros and cons of remote workplaces, and how organizations achieve a healthy balance. Businesses will invest in technology that supports remote workplaces, such as virtual communities, work-life balance assistance, mental health resources, and AI-powered software. Remote workplaces will influence how “the culture of work” develops in the future – and your human capital team will be at the center of this inflection.
The first step to a more human-centered enterprise: people-led change