As an increasing number of companies move to a remote working ecosystem, it has become necessary for companies to build positive experiences for their employees. As the pandemic hit industries across the globe a few years ago, it was understandable that companies could take their processes online without much training and clear remote-work policies. Remote teams are cost-effective, more productive, and aligned to their vision if employers can build positive experiences for their employees.
As a result, the trend of remote work is expected to stay even as the impact of COVID-19 subsides. In this remote-first ecosystem, companies need to understand and improve experiences for their remote workforces to stay on top of the changes taking place. In general, employee experience refers to the employee’s journey with the organization before joining, during the tenure, and after leaving the organization. It has been seen that companies that can build a positive employee experience are better equipped to attract, retain and motivate employees to achieve the set objectives of the organization.
Employee experience defines how the employee feels towards the employer’s brand, culture, and purpose. According to research by MIT, organizations that can build a positive employee experience can report 25% higher profits, double the innovations, and twice the customer satisfaction rate compared to companies that cannot provide a positive employee experience.
Here is how you can understand and improve experiences for a remote workforce:
- Understand the difference
Before you build a positive experience for your remote workforce, it is vital to understand the key differences between an offline and a remote-first ecosystem. In an offline ecosystem, employees can interact with each other across various touchpoints in an office. However, in a remote work ecosystem, employees find it tough to interact with each other regularly.
Understand the challenges faced by your team by interacting with them. It would help if you encouraged them to be forthcoming and share the hurdles they face in a remote work environment. This would help you understand the existing employee experience and then work on improving it.
- Encourage communication
Loneliness and isolation are the main challenges that remote teams face. Managers need to build a culture in which they can regularly communicate with their team members. One-to-one video or voice calls have shown to be effective in building a solid bridge of communication with the team members. Tools like remote employee monitoring software, G-Meet, Slack are an upper hand for hybrid teams communication.
In the remote first ecosystem, it is essential to have productive communication rather than wasting hours chatting without an agenda. The managers could organize regular meetings by way of team catch-ups to keep the employees aware of any significant initiatives or goals of the company.
- Create a connected culture
You should not limit your interactions to only work-related talks in a remote ecosystem. The traditional birthday celebrations could be replaced by a virtual celebration, with the company sending a cake or flowers to the employee’s home along with a greeting card. The team can then join virtually to celebrate the occasion.
Similarly, you can replace the water cooler or lunch by organizing a virtual session with the employees to interact with each other. In other words, you can create opportunities for interacting with each other for discussing topics beyond work so that employees stay connected.
- Support a healthy work-life balance
One of the most common complaints from remote employees is the lack of a healthy work-life balance. The inability to plug off from work leads to a poor employee experience. It would help if you supported a healthy work-life balance so that employees do not feel exhausted and are motivated to achieve the set targets. It is the employer’s responsibility to provide a healthy work-life balance to the employees in an offline ecosystem.
As employees save time commuting and are more productive in a remote-first ecosystem, employers are more responsible for building a healthy work-life relationship. This would help employees have a positive experience and would help in creating a positive employer brand in the marketplace.
- Focus on mental health
The functioning of remote teams is slightly different from the traditional work culture. Remote employees often work long hours as the lines between work and life become blurred. Several reports also suggest that remote workers are more likely to face anxiety, depression, and loneliness.
In such a scenario, managers need to look at mental health issues in the team. You can opt for activities like fitness sessions, nap time, and offering vacations to employees who have been regular for a long time.
These would help in tackling mental health issues in the team. The team leaders can play an integral role in identifying any mental issues prevalent in the team members.
- Invest in professional development
Professional training and development in remote teams can be built differently from an offline ecosystem. Rather than organizing training sessions in the office, you can take them online and offer your team opportunities for learning and development.
This would help employees improve their skills, confidence, and knowledge.
Investing in professional development is also expected to result in better employee performance. You can also adopt a knowledge management software for your organization that can help new employees get familiar with the ecosystem.
- Opt for the right tech stack
One of the biggest challenges for remote teams is to have the right set of tools that help them do their job effectively. It is the responsibility of the employer to identify the set of tools and platforms required by employees.
A positive work experience would help the team to be more productive, but they would still require access to the right tools to guide, support, and nudge them towards performing at the best of their ability.
- Build a caring ecosystem
For remote teams to continue to deliver on the company’s expectations, it is essential to build a caring ecosystem. Starting with an effective onboarding process in the virtual world, you should nurture diversity and inclusivity in the workplace.
To create a caring ecosystem, you need to understand the challenges faced by remote teams. You should listen to employees’ feedback and take corrective steps. In addition, you can also encourage employees to help each other in a remote ecosystem. By building a caring work ecosystem, your employees will feel less neglected, resulting in creating an encouraging work ecosystem.
These steps can help you understand and build a positive experience for remote employees. One of the most significant steps in this direction would be to have an open mind and understand that employees are also not so well-equipped to handle the challenges of a remote work ecosystem. This understanding would help you move forward in the right direction towards building a positive experience for an employee with the organization.
A pro-tip here would be to handle all aspects of the employee journey, i.e. before joining, tenure of the employee, and after leaving the organization. This would help you create an inclusive and positive employee experience in a remote work environment.