All of us want our employees to be productive, whether they’re working from the office or home. So, what’s holding them back? A recent study showed that providing exceptional employee experience results in almost an increased productivity and profitability of 17% and 21%, respectively. These numbers are pretty significant, and as leaders, are we able to provide them with the employee experience they deserve? These numbers play a much more important role now. As we adapt to this working environment, we must ensure we provide a better employee experience to get the best out of their remote workforce. By doing so, we empower the employees to be in charge of their work. Let’s look at some of the aspects we should keep in mind to ensure a better experience for our work from home (WFH) employees.
1. Manage effective digital communication
Most of us have encountered a situation where the employee perceives something entirely different from what was said. This happens in a typical office setting, and the chances of miscommunication are way too high when it comes to WFH. We first need to understand why this happens. Sensing the intent whenever a message is delivered is a crucial aspect of how we perceive it. There are different factors like body language and tone which contribute to how we process this intent. Now, this explains why there is a great deal of miscommunication through texts. We might send across a message in a lighter tone, but that may not be perceived in the same way, and in fact, it can turn out to be arrogant and rude. One effective way to manage conversations on text is to use emojis effectively.
Communication can be made more intuitive and enriching only if we can see each other. As we can see, interpreting body language contributes to almost 55% of our communications. We should use video conferencing platforms extensively to interact with our employees, however small the matter may be. In fact, many platforms now have an immersive view which makes it even more fun for the users. Being a cool boss has never deteriorated employee experience.
2. Combating Social Isolation
With this new culture of WFH, people are being shunned to their laptops without many human interactions. We all are social beings, and this does affect us adversely. As leaders, we must not shy away from addressing these concerns. In fact, we must take proactive steps to engage the workforce through the many digital platforms available to us.
It can be team-building exercises or just informal sessions where everyone could have a chat over chai. Breaking the monotony of WFH is as vital as providing them with a good experience
3. Conveying Trust
Constant supervision is never a solution for getting the employees to do their work. We should not interfere repeatedly, and they should be given the freedom to work. We would be essentially conveying that we trust our workforce, and they do not need to be watched 24×7 to do their job.
4. Keeping them motivated
We all need employees to take up work proactively rather than micromanaging and constantly supervising them. Both these, in fact, get them disengaged from work, which is the last thing we want. We need to find out what motivates them, their values, and how they align with the organisation. The stronger they can relate their personal goals with that of the organisation, they’d be more focused and productive at work. The mapping of the tasks plays a vital role over here, such that this alignment is present. It’s also important to set goals based on the mapping that we have made to ensure effective time utilisation
Finding out each employee’s personal goals is a difficult task. That’s why it is also essential to maintain a rapport with everyone to have some idea about a person’s inclination. We would then be in a better position to do this mapping of tasks.
5. Making them accountable
Communicating and keeping the workforce motivated is of paramount importance. At the same time, accountability for the work they do has also to be ensured. Be it in terms of attendance or the efforts they are putting in, it would always help us be aware of it. This also helps in giving a structure to their working. Employee monitoring tools effectively tackle these problems. The best employee monitoring software provides us with the report and insights for each employee. The exciting thing about these tools is that they also offer key insights into where we are lacking. We could then build on these aspects to provide an enriched experience.
6. Recognition as part of team culture
Monitoring the activities alone does not heed results. Whenever there is an achievement from the employee, we need it to be recognised. This can be as simple as a shoutout or a more formal recognition programs like ‘Employee of the Month’. It always needs not to be monetary as being valued for the work done is a significant motivating factor in itself. This plays a crucial part in a remote team as employees need to be appreciated even more for their efforts in considering they’re tackling various aspects of being at home.
7. Managing the Work-Life Balance
Striking the right balance between work and life gets fuzzy when we’re working from home. Employees may feel they are required 24x7 and this, in turn, affects their mental health too.
A much more flexible schedule rather than the 9am-5pm routine can be used. Employees should also be encouraged to take time off for their personal needs and not get married to the job as most WFH employees fall prey to this
All these are flexible, and managers can adapt and use their own learnings to improve the experience. Managing employees at home is an entirely different ball game, and it’s not an easy job to take care of this. We managers need to step up and evolve to get the most out of our employees. The only thing that remains constant is we need to have a human-centric approach and be considerate to everyone.