During the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw a huge and sudden shift to remote work, with the proportion of those working exclusively from home increasing from 5.7% of workers in January/February 2020 to 43.1% in April 2020. Many of us were ill-equipped for this change, both in terms of logistics, and in terms of how to support remote employees.
But now that the dust is starting to settle, we can take stock of the situation. Those companies with employees who will continue to work remotely, or on a hybrid model, can take a step back and, with the benefit of hindsight, implement new policies and procedures to ensure they can adequately support remote employees.
So how do we do this?
Maintain frequent, transparent, and consistent communication.
When employees work from home, it’s all too easy for them to start to feel disconnected from their company, and effective communication is crucial to remote work. This communication needs to be frequent, transparent and consistent.
Implementing a solid communication system with two-way dialogue that is easy to navigate and understand is essential to support remote employees and ensure that they still feel like they’re part of a team.
Provide employees with support for their physical and mental health.
During the global pandemic, companies had a fairly simple roadmap to follow in order to protect their employees’ physical health, with things like free tests, masks and vaccines helping employees – remote and otherwise – feel like they were being taken care of.
Many employers also took action to help support remote employees with their mental health of course, with things like employee check-ins and organised social activities, but this aspect is always more difficult to deal with. Social isolation has always been an issue with remote workers, but COVID-19 really brought this issue into focus.
It’s important for employers and managers to continue to support remote employees even now that things are ‘better’. When asked what was most effective to battle isolation, 1 of every 10 people who responded to the COVID-19 Pulse of HR survey mentioned regular check-ins by their managers to see how they were doing both professionally and personally – a simple yet clearly effective way to support remote employees.
Encourage a healthy work-life balance.
Work-life balance is difficult to achieve at the best of times, and is even more of a challenge for remote workers! Working from home does cut employees’ commutes, and lets them adjust their schedules to spend more time with their loved ones. However, there is always the temptation to check emails in the evenings, and to feel like they must be available 24/7.
So how do employers make sure they support remote workers effectively in achieving work-life balance?
Giving employees flexibility in choosing their hours can help greatly, along with implementing ‘no-communication’ times – where emails and messaging apps aren’t to be used between certain hours, for example 7pm – 7am.
Some countries, like Portugal, have taken it even further and have made it illegal for employers to call workers outside of office hours – maybe they’ve got the right idea!
Easy access to files & information with a Hosted Desktop
One of the huge problems we saw at the start of the pandemic was complications regarding remote employees having access to essential files and information – but more than two years down the line, there’s no excuse for this to be happening!
With a Hosted Desktop, companies can make sure their employees have simple and secure access to all their files, emails and documents wherever they are working from
Remote work isn’t going anywhere, and companies who benefit from the larger talent pool, lower fixed costs, and flexibility that remote work brings need to ensure they support their remote employees as much as possible.
Who knows what the future will hold – so make sure you, your company and your team are ready for anything with a Hosted Desktop!