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The Future of Remote Work

March 14, 2021

The Future of Remote Work

In early 2020 the world witnessed the most historic event of the 21st Century - COVID-19. Prior to the pandemic some companies did offer their employees remote working conditions. However, as result of the infectious disease, working from home became mandatory to prevent public transmission.
It has been a year now that companies have transitioned to remote work and it has now become the norm for most. In fact, A Future Workforce Pulse Report conducted by Upwork in late 2020 highlights how 57% of employees in America are currently remote working at some capacity whether this be part time or full time.
Research also confirms that remote work is here to stay, as the same Upwork survey estimated that by 2028 73% of departments will employ remote workers. Top technology companies such as Twitter and Facebook are already paving the way to indefinite remote work; the CEO’s of both organisations have confirmed that they will enable their employees to work remotely indefinitely post-COVID. It is evident that whilst 2020/2021 is the year of remote work - it is just the beginning of this new way of
working.
Remote work has its advantages such as less time and money spent on commuting, as well as saving costs on office space. Remote work, on the hand, has also got its disadvantages; it requires more employee engagement strategies and positive company culture building. Below are a few ways that remote work impacts organisations and its employees and how these challenges can be solved.

Communication


According to a Challenges of Working Remote 2020 survey conducted by Statista, 35% of respondents expressed that one of the biggest struggles of remote work is the feeling of loneliness and isolation from the team and organisation. When working in the office, we tend to take lunch breaks or sneaky coffee breaks to catch up with our colleagues. However, when working from home, it is a lot more difficult to communicate with each other. These simple reductions in communication can result in employees feeling isolated and disconnected, which can not only effect employee engagement and wellbeing, it will also unfortunately affect the team spirit and company culture. Communication with colleagues and management is important to keep employees engaged and connected. Therefore, to avoid the disconnection that employees may experience as a lack of communication, it is crucial that you have tools in place to give them some sort of normality. A remote platform that can provide the opportunity for colleagues and management to communicate with each other can keep teams connected and help maintain that sense of team spirit. Investing in a remote platform is all well said and done. However, this doesn’t automatically connect
the workforce to combat the isolation and loneliness that could be caused by remote work. Managers need communication strategies in place such as setting up group chats on the online platforms to keep everyone involved, or weekly catch up meetings where colleagues can gather on a Friday afternoon and having a virtual drink (or two). By simply meeting the basics needs of employee engagement by initiating friendly conversations - the organisation will thrive. It’s a win-win for both employees and organisations.

Home Distractions


Working from home can be a real distraction; it can lack privacy to put your head down and focus and is prone to interruption – especially if working in a house full of children. The Challenges of Working

Remote 2020 survey conducted by Statista, found that 47% of respondents claim that managing at- home distractions is one of the biggest challenges of remote work.

Employees who are having difficulties focusing on their work due to home distractions are less productive. Experiencing at home distractions could also cause employees to work longer hours, and refrain from switching off from work. In fact, the Statista survey revealed that 28% of respondents experience difficulties disconnecting with work and feeling burnt out when working from home. This can have a huge impact on an employee’s health, which will inevitably hinder the success of the organisations. Burnt out employees tend to take more work-related stress sick leave and are overall less engaged – not to mention the implications it will have on the company culture. Organisations need to find a way to combat challenges that remote workers face in managing their work-life balance to prevent burnout. Communicating with employees and ensuring that they are supported is one way of early intervention. However, some employees may not feel comfortable telling their line manager that they are struggling. Having a remote platform that sends employees anonymous polls and surveys about work-related issues can tackle that issue. Employees can express their views anonymously, and the polls and surveys can also be used to monitor the wellbeing of the employees.


Wellbeing


It is inevitable that with the lack of communication and reduced work-life balance, employee wellbeing can be hindered as result of remote work. In actual fact, a 2020 survey conducted by Nuffield Health reveals that 80% of UK employees working from home have experienced a negative impact on their mental health as result of remote working. When your based in the office it is easier to take care of your employee’s wellbeing, when in the office it is a lot harder. However, it important that we keep a close eye on our employee’s wellbeing as it will not only harm the health of the workforce and company culture; it also has damaging effects on employee engagement and the organisations
success.
To encourage a company culture that supports well-being, enable employees to access well-being content such as articles, lectures, and workshops on a remote platform. Such content can be yoga classes, mindfulness courses or time management workshops. By investing in their well-being, employees will be happier and healthier – resulting in reduced absences. As expressed in the CIPD Health and Wellbeing 2020 Report, employee wellbeing enhances employee engagement, and employee engagement is strongly correlated with productivity and organisational success. If the pandemic taught us one thing – it is the importance of caring for our employee’s wellbeing. This does not only apply solely on remote workers, but all employees.


Recognition


When working remotely, it can be hard to see the achievements of your employees. Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2017, Gallup reported that remote workers had expressed

that they feel unrecognised and left out by their counterparts. It comes to no surprise that remote workers can be forgotten, especially if there is no form of digital platform to communicate with the team. It is important that employees feel valued, appreciated, and recognised; as employees who feel recognised by their employers are more engaged, productive, loyal, and motivated. Providing employees and managers avenues of recognising each other’s achievements can go a long way in creating a positive company culture. Having a reward and recognition platform can be a great way to ensure that all your employees, including your remote workers, are receiving the well-deserved recognition that they deserve. With a recognition and reward platform, you can send gifts, or nominate employees for achievement awards – all through one platform. No one is left out, and it is more accessible to appreciate each other, bringing teams together no matter where they are based.


The Future is Digital


To keep employees engaged, upkeep and enhance the company culture, organisations must adapt to a remote platform.
As a result of the pandemic, the CIPD 2020 Embedding New Ways of Working Research states that 44% of organisations in the UK are planning to invest in additional measures to support remote workers. A Gartner 2020 survey also highlights that by late March 2020, 68% of organisations in the US had already introduced at least one wellness benefit to support their employees during remote work. It is evident that due to the pandemic and rise of remote work, employee well-being has become a trend that organisations are adopting. Ensure you have that competitive advantage and get with the times - invest in an efficient all rounded remote platform to support your employees and grow your business.

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