What is remote employee experience? 2021's latest buzzword, after "pandemic", "vaccines" and "unprecedented". The remote employee experience roughly translates to the experience that an employee goes through while working remotely, from their first to their last day at a company. To improve the employee experience of employees in general and right now with a focus on those working from home, organizations have been trying to develop employee policies or remote working policies. A remote working policy is not about do’s and don’ts, it is about awareness of how employees feel and what they need while being away from the office. And rightly so – employees with positive experience are 28% more productive and 46% more engaged. As follows from that, companies that provide high employee experience have 25% higherprofitand 37% lower turnover.
Before we make this sound unrealistically optimistic: those outcomes are achieved ONLY when the remote employee experience is made a priority. That happens when an organization focuses on providing the training, tools and support that remote employees need.
There is a lot of information on how to execute remotework successfully. But, if it doesn’t have the well-being of your employees at the center of it – you’re guaranteed to have short term results.
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Strategy #1: Design your Internal Comms to support remote workers
Remote work, can and likely will undermine some of your communications. Less frequent contact leads to feelings of loneliness and ostracism, which are guaranteed to ruin your employees’ experience with remote work. Did you know that 36% of employees are dissatisfied with the way Internal Comms is delivered in their organization? Your number one priority is to avoid that happening.
1. Don't write lengthy, repetitive messages and announcements. Your Internal Comms need to be as user-friendly as possible.
2. Always be clear with what you want to address in the medium of your choice. Bullet-point your way through it or prioritize what needs to be said to whom.
3. Communicate clearly and humanely, independently of the medium. If the message doesn't ring genuine to your ears, think about how it's gonna sound to someone else's eardrums.
During uncertain times persistence and repetition are necessary. Your employees forget things under stress. Whenever you see the chance, repurpose your message onto new mediums to communicate it successfully.
For example: a newsletter turned into a snappy short video.
Strategy #2: Identify your internal influencers
You can't keep an eye on everyone at all times, especially digitally. This is why your first step is to identify your organization’s internal influencers.
Give them the responsibility to take care of your remote teams. From personal-relationship maintenance to ensuring that everyone is on the same page for the day, they will help you improve the remote work experience of your employees.
Think which people embody the culture of your organization the best. Whoever comes to mind, keep an eye on them. They will oil up the inner machinery of your organization, particularly in times of change.
Strategy #3: Streamline your communication channels
Take a minute to give your channels a thorough look. Each communication channel provides a distinct user experience. Audit your communication channels, and designate the primary purpose of each. Keep track of what’s being said, for what purpose, and how.
Social intranets create a sense of community and help to boost teamwork when working remotely long-term. Messaging apps like Slack or Google Chat are a great option for day-to-day communication – keep them around for casual conversations.
Get your Internal Comms leaders active on these platforms, as this is where most of the fun is happening. GIFs, videos, games, can be a firestarter for a funnier, more relaxed workday. Your employees will pick it up from there.
Taking down things a notch – emails. Just the word might give you a feeling of boredom. We’ll make this one real simple and short for you:
1. Don't send useless emails.
2. Make sure everyone gives their notification settings a look.
3. Do not mass reply to any mail.
Strategy #4: Provide a remote work intranet
A high-quality remote workintranet will provide substantial results to positive employee engagement and experience. They will help keep everyone in the loop in an entertaining, user-friendly way. A good intranet will play a role in your employees' remote experience.
If you want your workers to have positive experience with remote work, video meetings can, and should be improved. You know that not everything is worthy of a meeting, but if you’re looking to address important subjects and maintain connection, video calls are the way to go.
1. Avoid distractions, mute your microphone when not speaking, and don’t interrupt others.
2. Make sure that everyone is participating. Not everyone might be in the mood, and the less they talk, the more likely they are to feel excluded.
3. Dedicate a few minutes at the beginning of every call to check up on everyone. Start with the people who talk the least.
4. Ask questions like: “What do you think?”, “Do you have any suggestions?”, “If you had to change one thing, what would it be?”. Oftentimes, halfway through the conversation people get quiet and this is a great way to break the silence.
5. Make sure everyone’s voice is heard. Regardless of the context, people like knowing their opinion is valuable.
6. Consider carefully whether a subject is appropriate. Otherwise, leave it for some other time or setting.
Speaking of the last, staying on-topic during remote meetings is important. Think twice before bringing something up – is it urgent? Is it on-topic? If you can answer even one of these questions with a “no”, then find a different time and place. For example: you’re in monthly KPI-call. One person’s performance isn’t on par. Should you bring that up during the KPI-call?
Strategy #6: Build remote work experience around creative collaboration
Following our tips is up to you – you know your company better than anyone, and depending on your working culture, you’ll know how to make the most out of it.
Before you jump to conclusions, keep this in mind: your employees are unlikely to want to be micromanaged. Our suggestion? Focus on creating a great chain of collaboration and a culture of feedback. At the end of the day, results will be cheered by everyone.
But what if you really - but like really - want to make the experience of remote workers positive? Two words: trust them.