A recent survey of around 1,000 firms found that 74% of them plan on increasing their investment in home working. Indeed, as many of 44% of their bosses even agreed that their employees were more effective working from home than in the office.
There are certainly some significant benefits to getting involved in the remote working trend but there are also drawbacks. With a significant portion of the UK working population now working from home, support for employees has become more of a challenge than it would have been in the office. One of the main challenges is that it’s difficult to tell how your employees are really doing through a screen.
But there are ways you can support your employees who are working from home and seeing as remote working is likely to become a staple of working life for the foreseeable future, it might be time to examine a few of your options.
Provide the right equipment and resources
A bad work environment or set up is not going to have a positive effect on an employee’s work or their mental health. All remote workers should be set up with adequate office equipment, namely, an ergonomic desk chair, eye-level monitor and suitable hardware.
Regular 1 to 1 or team meetings
Regular meetings are very much an anchor point for many offices and this shouldn’t just be to check in on the latest numbers. Discussion of mental health and how to deal with the stress and isolation of remote working life should be taken into consideration here. Remember, some employees feel inclined to portray a thick-skinned and professional exterior to colleagues and managers, but these can be some of the most vulnerable people. Conversation on topics other than work will allow employees to feel like they can be open about issues of mental health and home working struggles.
Send a little something in the post
It’s always nice to receive something from management to show compassion and feel like you’re just as valued as if you were working in the office. Surprising an employee with personalised chocolate gifts, vouchers or flowers can be a genuine way to boost performance or even just increase employee satisfaction. It will certainly make more of an impact than an email or a thumbs up.
Arrange time for social activities
Relationship building is important in an office so try to allow social bonding by other means. Depending on restrictions, put together regular work meetups that involve your remote workers and if that’s not possible, then maybe consider an online gathering or quiz?
Maintain a consistent routine
Encourage all of your employees, whether they work from the office or from home, to stick to the same routine. A 9-5 might not be possible if you have people working in different countries, but that doesn’t mean they can’t stick to a routine that works for themselves and the team. Consistency creates a sense of belonging and commitment to the organization which can be lacking when working from home.