It’s no secret that we’re moving towards a world in which remote work is the future.
Whether you like it or not, the move towards remote work is undeniable, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only served to accelerate the process.
There are both pros and cons with this new remote work model, and it brings up several issues that businesses need to address.
One of the main issues is employee retention.
How do you keep hold of your employees when you no longer see them in person day-in and day-out?
How do you know what their feelings are towards you and the company when they’re working from home?
These aren’t easy questions to answer, but if you want to hold onto your top talent you need to be able to answer them and address common issues that arise with a remote-based workforce.
Failure to adapt to the remote work model can have disastrous consequences for your company, one of which could be the mass exodus of workers who leave in pursuit of a more remote work-friendly organization.
To avoid this from happening, you need to take action.
Specifically, here are some actions you can take to incentivize your employees to stay on and provide you with many more years of their time and work.
While it might be hard to avoid at first, the last thing you want to do when you switch to a remote work model is to be rigid in your approach.
To succeed in a remote work environment as an employer, you need to be adaptable and flexible to your workers’ needs. Otherwise, what’s to stop them from finding another company who will hire them on a remote basis and cater to their wishes?
This doesn’t have to result in a dip in employee productivity, either.
Being flexible simply means you need to have open conversations with your employees, and show them some leniency.
If, for example, you have one worker approach you and say that they struggle to start work at 9am at home because they have children to feed or a dog to walk, you should try and work with them to come up with a solution that works for both parties.
Could they start work at 9.15 am and clock-out 15 minutes later at the end of the day?
While it might seem like you’d have a nightmare tracking everyone’s individual work hours if you demonstrated flexibility in this way, this doesn’t have to be the case.
If you use employee monitoring software, you can manage your employee’s work hours with ease.
With the tool’s manual time entry feature you can see at a glance when employees are checking in and checking out for the day, and you can also track their progress on tasks in real-time.
Goal-setting is one of the best things you can do to boost worker productivity and incentivize progress.
If your employees know exactly what it is they need to do, then there should be less time spent procrastinating and more time spent on work-related activities.
Procrastination is one of the biggest issues to address when you first implement a remote work dynamic. Being at home, employees have to contend with phone notifications, other housemates, and know that they can get away with non-work-related activities as there is no boss looking over their shoulder.
This is another instance in which an employee monitoring tool can help, as it allows you to keep employees honest and keep an eye on them virtually.
But to promote a positive work attitude, it’s a good idea to push your employees to put out their best work by using reward systems, which can keep motivation levels high.
While some people relish the thought of working at home where they don’t have to speak to anyone, for others, it’s a harsh reality.
For the more extroverted employees, the lack of social connection associated with remote work can be hard to deal with.
What can be done about this?
Well, it might be worth allowing your employees to have some time to chat with their coworkers on occasion.
How this works is up to you, but some companies will set up Zoom calls so employees can chat during their lunch hour for example. Or, they’ll schedule in a fixed 15 or 20-minute window in which employees are free to discuss non-work-related issues which can replicate the water cooler conversations they may be used to.
While this might sound trivial, a lot of people thoroughly enjoy the social aspect of working in an office environment, so when you take this away from them and don’t replace it, it can directly affect their level of job satisfaction.
Another way to promote socialization is to introduce a mentorship program.
It doesn’t have to be anything complex, but if you can pair employees up with each other in a mentorship scheme, they won’t feel quite so alone as they’re typing away at home.
This system can work as a way of checking in on coworkers, but it can also strengthen connections between employees working as part of a team. It may even encourage greater collaboration on work projects, which can only be a good thing.
If your remote workforce feels like an isolated group of individuals, then they’re less likely to want to put out their best work every day. Whereas if they feel as if there is a strong connection between individual team members, then they may be more likely to be productive and feel a sense of loyalty to the company.
At the end of the day, you need to replace relationships in the office with online alternatives, and a mentorship program is one way you can do this.
It can be hard to make a job attractive once it becomes a remote position, since the worker loses out on opportunities to be social, and has new distractions to contend with.
However, if you introduce various social initiatives, and support the workers with a flexible approach, then you should be able to get the most out of them and keep them on board for longer.