Five Ways To Improve Employees' Work-From-Home Experience
Every company is different, and employee experiences should look different, too. When developing programs for work-from-home support, make sure to solicit and listen to feedback from employees about their pain points and suggested helpful actions. You'll build a more effective program if your strategy addresses your company's unique culture and its employees' particular needs. That said, here are a few broad recommendations that any company looking to set up work-from-home support should consider.
Check in with employees more frequently: Frequent and effective communication supports healthier, more productive remote work environments. It's especially important to Gen Z employees who may have just entered the workforce and are still learning office norms. You may not be able to stop by each employee's desk like you could when you were all in the office, but digital solutions like videoconferencing and messaging platforms can help bridge the communications gap. Just don't overdo it — some employees love frequent team check-ins, but others might find too many meetings distracting. Be sensitive to your employees' needs and feedback when determining the communication frequency for your team, and don't hesitate to adjust meeting cadences that aren't working.
Organize virtual happy hours and networking events: One advantage of working remotely is that it collapses physical distance. If your company's offices are spread across multiple states, countries or even continents, this is a perfect opportunity to bring employees together for virtual events. Informal happy hours and "lunch and learns" encourage workers to connect with each other across geographical boundaries. Even if your employees usually all occupy the same physical space, they'll likely appreciate the opportunity to connect and socialize informally while they're remote.
Encourage boundary setting: Having a set routine minimizes stress and reduces burnout, but those routines should be flexible according to the employee's needs. For example, a working parent may prefer to go online early in the morning, then take time during the day to be with their kids, returning to work in the evening. Encourage your employees to set these expectations clearly, so their teammates can adapt workflows to their schedules.
Bolster professional development: There's no reason why the shift to remote work should slow down an employee's career progression — in fact, it could accelerate it. Many industry certifications and trainings are already available online. Direct your employees to these resources and, if possible, offer to cover any fees. Your company can offer internal trainings virtually, too. Scale the effort by recording the sessions for future on-demand use.
Ensuring Employee Loyalty: As the economic outlook remains uncertain, many companies are asking more of their employees. That should come with assurances that companies will support employees in return. Organizations that make their employees' mental and physical well-being and career development a priority during the pandemic will earn lasting loyalty long after daily life returns to normal. They'll also set themselves up for success in a world where remote work is a more common feature of work life.
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