Employees who work remotely often face unique challenges regarding their workplace experience. Working remotely can bring many benefits for employees and businesses, but it doesn’t come that easy. To ensure that your employees’ experiences are positive and feel like they’re still part of the team, you need to take a few steps to ensure everything runs smoothly. This article will outline some of the best practices to help you create a tremendous virtual employee experience for your remote employees. These practices must actually become an integral part of your overall employee engagement strategy. Let’s start with understanding what it is to have remote teams.
What is it to have virtual or remote teams?
The modern workplace is evolving. With advances in technology, it’s now possible for people to work from anywhere. It has led to the rise of remote and virtual teams. A remote employee is one who works from a location other than the company’s office. Similarly, a remote team is a group of individuals working for an organization from different locations (mostly their homes) while collaborating virtually. A common reason behind companies hiring these remote teams is the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. To avoid the risk of employees getting caught by the virus, companies ask them to contribute from the comfort and safety of their homes.
The members of a remote team may come across from different countries or be in the same city but they work from their respective homes. A virtual team uses technology to communicate and collaborate. It can include tools like video conferencing, email portals, chat software such as Slack, and file-sharing platforms. There are many benefits of having remote team members on board, let’s discuss them in our next section.
The benefits of having a remote team
There are many benefits of having a remote team. Some of these benefits include:
When employees work from home, they can be more productive because they are not distracted by office noise and gossip. Also, they save time they used to spend commuting, which they can use on other important tasks.
Reduced overhead costs
Remote teams do not require office space, saving the company money. It helps the company save on many expenses like traveling, electricity, office supplies, etc. They can use the saved money for investment in employee experience, training & development of remote workers, or expanding their business.
Remote teams can work from anywhere globally, which gives employees more flexibility in terms of hours and days worked. In the remote working concept, you have more control over your time, and you can take breaks when you need them, work from home when it’s convenient for you, and avoid rush hour traffic. It leads to a more flexible life, where employees have more time for their personal life and hobbies. It ultimately makes employee retention easy and also has a positive impact on employee engagement.
Increased talent pool
Remote working is a great way to build larger teams and hire diverse talent. By hiring remotely, companies can access a larger talent pool since it allows them to hire people worldwide. It will open opportunities for companies to hire people from different backgrounds whom they may not have had before. They can have greater diversity in their workforce, increasing the overall creativity and innovation in the workplace.
Core principles of employee experience in a remote setting
Creating an employee experience is not just about doing virtual events. It is about creating psychological experiences that allow employees to feel connected with each other and work as effectively as they would in an office setting. It is an opportunity to get the best of both worlds, as employees can have flexibility with the same level of connection. Companies have gone wrong because they tried to replicate the office way of working while working remotely. Remote work needs more psychological experience creation hence changing the paradigm of employee experience.
The core principles that can do this are:
1. Alignment of people with the company’s vision, mission, and objectives
When we talk about employee experience in a remote setting, the first principle is that employees working in a remote environment need to completely align themselves with the company’s vision, mission, and objectives. It means that they need to understand the company’s culture, values, and goals. They should also be able to live up to them. It ensures that employees know well about what they are working for and what the organization expects them to follow. That is the common thread that binds everyone even though they are not in the same location.
2. Building belongingness and ownership-driven culture
The second principle of employee experience in a remote setting is built around the idea of building belongingness and an ownership-driven culture. It means that the employees have a sense of ownership over their work and feel belonging and connection to the company and their teammates. It creates a solid emotional bond between the employees and the company, which leads to higher productivity and satisfaction. Doing that is especially required in a remote setting as working remotely can often be lonely and an employee can quickly feel disconnected from the team.
3. Building strong communication and collaboration channels
When working in a remote setting, it is essential to have strong communication and collaboration channels. It is to ensure that everyone is kept up-to-date and on the same page. This way, you can avoid any misunderstandings or issues that could arise from not having a clear understanding of what the other person is doing. When employees can communicate and collaborate well, they will be able to work faster, more effectively, and well-coordinated. It is also essential to ensure that all team members know the updated status of projects and tasks to work well together. Setting up these channels early on can ensure that your team is functioning at its best, no matter what location they are working from.
4. Taking care of the well-being and preventing stress, isolation, and burnout
Remote work is all about giving employees a flexible and productive environment where they can take care of their well-being and prevent stress, isolation, and burnout. A good employee experience in a remote setting requires creating a relaxed and comfortable online work atmosphere so that employees can focus on their work without feeling tense or stressed. It is where employee wellness programs come in handy; they help employees maintain their health and well-being while they are at work. In addition to this, remote work settings should also have measures to prevent burnout. It could include regularly scheduled breaks and social activities.
5 Tips for ensuring a remarkable employee experience in the virtual or remote environment
Here are six tips for making sure that your remote employees have a unique virtual experience:
1. Bring changes in HR processes such as Hiring, Onboarding, Performance Management, L&D
When you’re looking to create a great employee experience in a virtual or remote environment, it’s vital to bring changes across the entire lifecycle of the employees. Hence, it is imperative that you relook at all HR processes such as Hiring, Onboarding, Performance Management, and L&D by bringing in nuances of the company’s vision, mission, and value system. By doing so, you can ensure that your employees feel like they are a part of the company from the very beginning and are working towards a common goal. It will help foster a sense of loyalty and team spirit. It will ultimately result in better performance and better employee experience.
2. Bring synchronous and asynchronous communication channels to enable free-flowing communication
When it comes to employee experience in the virtual or remote environment, it’s essential to ensure that communication is flowing smoothly and that all remote workers are on the same page. To do this, you need to bring synchronous and asynchronous communication channels to enable free-flowing communication. Your remote workforce can easily share ideas and feedback, regardless of their location. Additionally, it will help create a cohesive team environment, and you won’t have to worry about any miscommunication or misunderstandings.
3. Work on individual and manager behaviors to build
Make sure that individual and manager behaviors support employee ownership. It means creating an environment where employees feel like they can contribute their best work, and managers take the time to understand their employees’ needs. Both individual employees and their managers should be able to own the work they do or contribute to the organization. Ensuring that your company culture supports employee ownership will go a long way in building a positive employee experience in the virtual or remote environment.
When working in a virtual or remote environment, it is essential to consider the individual and manager behaviors to build trust. Individual behaviors here include being on time, meeting deadlines, and providing quality work. Manager behaviors include setting expectations, giving feedback, and upholding the culture and values of the organization.
One of the most significant steps you need to take to ensure a positive employee experience for your remote team is to help build employee autonomy. The employees should no longer depend on managers to complete tasks or deliver results. With the tools and resources available, employees should be able to work on their own to achieve goals and feel like they are contributing to a team rather than just following orders.
Open honest communication
To create a fantastic employee experience in a virtual or remote environment, it is essential to work on individual and manager behaviors that foster open and honest communication. By creating an environment of open communication, you can empower your employees to share their thoughts and ideas freely and work towards solving problems together. Additionally, effective communication between managers and their employees allows for transparent decision-making and helps to foster mutual respect.
To ensure a positive employee experience for remote teams, businesses need to develop policies and practices that promote employee well-being. They can achieve it by working on individual and manager behaviors to build social well-being. Doing so will help build connectedness in the workplace. It will enable employees to be more comfortable in their daily activities. A crucial aspect of social well-being is creating a relatively equal work environment for managers and employees. An effective way to achieve this enhanced level of equality is by working on open communication with individual team members, as described above. One way to do this is to create social media groups for employees to join. These groups can be used to share news, ask questions, and provide support.
4. Bring new programs and initiatives to enable employees to deal with burnout and stress management
When managing employees in a virtual or remote environment, it is essential to find ways to reduce the risk of burnout and stress. One way to do this is by ensuring that you have a robust counseling and support program in place. This way, employees can get the help and support they need without worrying about taking time off or dealing with any issues on their own. By providing tools and resources to help people deal with burnout and stress, you can ensure that your employees stay productive and engaged throughout their tenure with your company.
5. Have a solid internal communications team
When communicating with employees in a virtual or remote environment, it is essential to have a solid internal communications team in place. This team should have a clear understanding of your Vision, Mission, and Values. It should then be able to create messaging that supports these values. They should also be able to develop an employee communications plan that aligns with your company’s culture and ensures that all employees are aware of its policies and objectives. They should facilitate regular meetings, keep good track and notes of these virtual meetings, and provide input when you do something against your company’s values. Further, they should also be highly creative. Also, they should regularly brainstorm new ways to deliver communications that help strengthen the company’s internal culture. Finally, they should be able to keep employees updated on key developments and changes in the workplace.
Having a remote team has several benefits for businesses. It’s important to realize that having a remote team is beneficial to the companies themselves and their employees. By breaking down the barriers between work and home, they can devote more time to their personal lives. This will help them maintain a better work-life balance. Ensuring that the employee experience is outstanding is key to keeping them happy and motivated. This blog outlined five tips for creating an excellent virtual or remote employee experience. You can ensure that your team is thriving and enjoying their work by following these tips.