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Remote work is now one of the most popular ways for businesses to retain staff. The pandemic has forced many businesses to move their operations to a less office-centric environment for fear of infection. Now, with the vaccines available, the question has arisen as to whether companies will continue to allow remote working for employees. Unsurprisingly, most companies have found that working remotely makes employees more efficient. Gartner mentions that 80% of companies are considering some form of co-working arrangement with employees still allowed to work from home for part of the week. While this is good news for employees, it raises another concern.
Employee engagement before the pandemic
Quantum Workplace defines employee engagement as the emotional connection employees have to the work they do. Trying to raise employee engagement to a level where workers feel encouraged to do more because they enjoy their jobs has always been a struggle for companies. Yet with this new influx of remote workers, companies need to rethink the way they engage their employees.
Before the pandemic, according to Career Builder, about half of employees saw their work as part of a career, the other half seeing it as just another consumable position. After the pandemic, there is no concrete evidence of how employees see themselves in this new environment. However, with so many employees now operating remotely, their outlook on their work may have changed. Here, we’ll take a look at how companies can work to engage their remote workers in a feasible way.
Highlight the values ââof the company and make them a central element of communication
Company values ââare central to the definition of a business, both internally and externally. It is a relatively new consideration to see the image of the company reflected both in the culture of the company as well as in its marketing, but in this case it can help to engage employees. In order for a worker to feel like they are part of the company and not just another cog in the business machine, they must be made aware of the goals and needs of the business. Making sure an employee knows their contribution to improving the business and growing is essential for them to feel determined.
But why give meaning to employees? Engagement is tied to employee retention. An engaged employee is less likely to look for a new job and more likely to be loyal to the company that supports their ambitions. Engaged employees are at the heart of your business productivity. It is these employees who set an example for their various departments, even when these departments are made up of teleworkers. LinkedIn found that motivated employees were 54% more likely to stay with the company for five years or more and 30% more likely to perform well. An employee who sees their goal in the big picture can’t help but want to contribute more. It is a trait of human behavior that we love to see the fruits of our labor.
Related: Top 10 Employee Engagement Strategies That Matter
Leverage diversity for deeper engagement, not to invent numbers
A diverse workforce has the power to push the boundaries of a business and take it to explore terrain it might not otherwise have crossed. However, diversity is a double-edged sword, and the establishment of quotas is not only insulting. This could affect the efficiency of the business. The Pew Research Center reports on the massive diversity that makes up Gen Z, which means employers should view it alongside new hires. Diversity has already shown that it can help forge social bonds within society. The same can be true for a business.
Yet diversity alone is not enough to retain an employee in a company. He must seek to include employees in what they do. Companies must integrate this inclusion into their corporate culture. New hires will obviously feel out of place at first, and that feeling tends to last longer with remote workers. However, by including these recruits and treating them as if they were company staff for years, the company can encourage them to see themselves as more than just inclusion recruits, but as being part of a team. Being sincere in assessing an employee’s skills is essential for them to feel welcome in the company and, therefore, to build their diversity profile. Remote working environments make it easy to integrate diversity into the workforce because it’s the results that count, not a person’s appearance.
Honestly consider employee well-being
One of the most impressive statistics for teleworkers before the pandemic was their work-life balance compared to office workers. The Safety Mag mentions that 55% of workers working from home due to the pandemic said they had a better work-life balance as a result of the arrangement. It’s no surprise that working from home can lead to better time management at work and relaxation outside of work hours. However, this is something remote workers need to cultivate.
An unfortunate consequence of remote working is losing track of time and not designating solid working hours. Many employees view remote work as just working in familiar surroundings. Without proper limits, working time can quickly erode into free time. Employees, especially those familiar with compartmentalization, may find it more difficult to do when work is done from home. The company must ensure that it takes the well-being of its employees seriously. Set the hours when the office can contact employees and stick to them. By keeping work within working hours, the company guarantees better employee engagement for your agile projects and less unpredictability. There’s also less chance of an employee becoming a workaholic because they don’t set boundaries properly.
Get and use employee feedback
A glaring mistake most businesses make is trying to read the minds of their employees. HR departments and management tend to conspire, review statistics and other information, and then change policies based on data that may not be related to their business. Data-driven decisions can have a significant impact on a business, but only if the data is relevant. How does a business get meaningful data about what its employees think? Feedback is the basic mechanism that companies should introduce to ensure that their employees can communicate with management and its HR department.
Unfortunately, most employees are reluctant to give feedback, especially when they reflect negatively on their direct or indirect superiors. A business intending to use employee feedback as the basis for its improvement should ensure that the feedback is trustworthy. This phenomenon is known as âpsychological safetyâ of employees. Employees who know their honest comments will not be targeted for harassment or abuse in the workplace can speak up freely. Companies need to embed this mindset into their corporate culture if they are to improve their business processes with the help of those who understand them at a fundamental level.
Related: Employee Engagement: How To Get Remote Workers To Care About …
Remote employment is here to stay
While some companies require all of their employees to return to regular work in an office, most companies do not want to force employees to return to an office. Remote working has led to greater efficiency and effectiveness of employees at all levels. Employees are happy too, which means they’re more likely to be engaged. This is what businesses should be focusing on. The measures mentioned above help to increase this level of comfort and ensure that employees remain satisfied with their jobs and contribute to company goals.
Related: 4 Essentials For Employee Engagement In A Distant World