The way we work is
constantly changing but over the past few weeks, it’s become almost
For many of us the
working day would usually start with the morning commute, perhaps grabbing a
cup of coffee on the way. Then, when we get to the office, we say hello to our
colleagues, get our laptops out and start working.
Yet, our working lives
have been changed by COVID-19, with the many of us who can, are now working
While remote working
has its upsides, there are a few downfalls also. For many it’s the lack of
social interaction, which could lead to a slump in productivity.
This is where
workforce experiences come into play. While HR and People teams may naturally
associate great workforce experiences as those initiatives that can be carried
out in the office, you can equally create great experiences for your employees
in the comfort of their own home.
While we can all but
hope COVID-19 will be a distant memory in a few months and years, it doesn’t
mean your new initiatives will go to waste. Your employees who work remotely can
still enjoy the new experiences you put in place.
Here’s some ideas for
HR and People teams looking to create work experiences that have no physical
1. Keep your employees updated and informed
Have you upped your
Employees that work remotely may feel disconnected and miss the information that they get from simply asking their teams, or the details that get dropped into conversation from a meeting. Make sure that your people are given the information that they need to feel fully part of the wider organization.
2. Ensure regular manager check-ins
Managers may think
that employees need them less when they’re working remotely but that’s simply
not the case.
An employee may have walked around to their manager’s desk to ask a quick question or pulled them into a meeting room for five minutes to discuss something – but now that’s not possible, so regular catch ups are important.
You may want to
encourage managers to change their contact time so that it’s more regular, even
if that means that time used for those catch ups are shorter.
3. Encourage flexible working
Flexible working is
valuable for employees – that includes those who work remotely.
In our research, we found that 81% of employees valued flexible and remote working. However, for those already remote working, having flexibility is still key.
For example, remote
employees may have their children at home. Having the flexibility to take a reasonable
amount of time to look after them and give them the ability to make that time
back when it’s convenient could mean that your employees are happier, less
stressed and more productive.
However, employees may need flexible working for other reasons. By giving employees the freedom to work at the times that suit them will mean that they’ll always be working at their best.
4. Have social channels where employees can interact
As humans, we’re
social beings and enjoy fellow human interaction.
One of the ways you
can ensure your remote employees feel connected to their workplace is to
establish and encourage interaction via a social platform, such as Slack or
While it’s useful for
work discussion and you could set up channels based on workstreams, you can use
them in other ways.
Amongst your workforce you may have culinary enthusiasts, art and craft extraordinaires and exercise fans. Why not get creative? Encourage your employees to start channels that they’re interested in to share their hobbies with other like-minded colleagues, which leads on to our next point…
5. Encourage switching video on where appropriate
Employees don’t always
like switching their videos on during calls but there are some real benefits to
doing so – including a hike in productivity.
In fact, a staggering 87% of employees not physically present for a meetings report feeling better engaged with colleagues through video, whether that’s for a social catch up or a work-related call.
6. Create short courses on what to do to boost productivity from home
If calls, emails or a
social channel doesn’t quite cut the mustard, you can always look at short
courses for your employees on how to boost productivity from home.
Alternatively, you could create and run your own. If you have someone in your team willing to run some training on this then you could create your own short course and record it, sharing those all-important tips and tricks for driving productivity.
7. Try ‘water-cooler’ calls and virtual team lunches
Managers may have some
of their own ideas of how they can engage their remote working teams, but
‘water cooler’ calls and virtual team lunches could be ones to try.
If you’re encouraging
managers to give it a go, they can set up a short chat to just to check in and
talk about anything non-work related. They could even create a virtual team
lunch where everyone just catches up during their free time – again, non-work
Having these open conversations can help remote workers to feel part of the wider team and create a good relationship with fellow employees outside of the usual work chat.
8. Share wellness tips for remote teams
Everyone has their own
method when working remotely but there are some helpful tips you can share to
support employee wellbeing.
Some of those tips maybe
as simple as encouraging employees to take their full lunch break. Did you know
20% of employees don’t take lunch breaks because they’re worried about what their
manager may think?
You could also include
resources on mental health wellness. With remote workers not getting any
face-to-face communication with their teams, mental health wellness is
important not just because it’s the right thing to focus on, but it also can
affect productivity. By focusing on wellbeing at work, it can increase productivity by as much as 12%.
Include things like
the contact details of your organization’s mental health first aider and any
other contact details they may need for support.
experiences are for everyone
Initially, it may seem that
employee experiences are just for those within a physical environment but that
would be wrong. Try implementing some of the above and see if people are more
engaged and productive in their work.
Have you asked your people what they think of your new initiatives? It’s likely they’ll have some ideas of their own that they’ll want to share.
How can you keep your employees engaged during Covid-19? Watch the webinar led by Sage People’s Sarah Hulsey, Head of Customer Success, RSM’s Jennifer Busse, Management Consulting Director and Marni Rozen, People & Organization Management Consulting Director to learn how you can leverage your internal and external channels to engage employees.