As companies switch to long term remote work in light of the pandemic, working from home has been quite an adjustment for employees. Most businesses today are facing this question – how to improve digital employee experience & sustain the productivity of remote employees?

Reimagining your workforce

Businesses need to realize that there’s an incredible opportunity to reinvent the way they work. As the percentage of employees working from home jumped to 61% from 33% in the mid of March (according to Gallup), companies need to ensure their desires for flexibility are met completely. This will help to unleash their potential for productivity and staying competitive in uncertain times. For businesses looking to recalibrate their existing operational standards, adopting digital employee experience strategy via new working model may prove to be a boon. Implementing a flexible work-from-home policy will add a massive advantage to every facet of the organization- be it employee engagement, workplace culture, or talent recruitment.

Challenges associated with remote working

Lack of communication

The challenge that most remote employees face while working from home is the lack of efficient communication leading to poor digital employee experience. Online only interactions may foster a sense of negativity and dishonesty among the employees. Since emails are not capable of facilitating real-time communication, most employees do not interact much and feel isolated.

Low commitment towards the company

While working remotely, ensuring trust and cooperation among employees who do not interact with one another can be challenging. Virtual work may generate a feeling of disconnect among fellow employees. This may in turn lead to disengagement & a drop in productivity.

More ambient distractions

With the increasing use of equipment in the modern age, attention has become a rare commodity nowadays. The constant pinging of handheld devices has made it difficult for employees to stay focused on their work, especially when they’re working virtually. Moreover, this has taken a toll on professional relationships too. If employees take extra time to revert in a real-time interaction or do not pay attention to other team members, they are deemed to be less trustworthy or rude which leads to friction.

Keeping remote employees engaged

Ensuring your team is connected well

Conducting regular meetings can help to keep the team connected while bringing a sense of responsibility among remote employees. As remote workers look for opportunities to interact, discussing aspects like performance, priorities, wellness, etc. helps to keep the sense of isolation at bay. Also, using multiple communication channels (email, audio, or videoconferencing) can foster personal connections that improve digital employee experience and encourage employees to perform their best.

Leveraging the right KPIs

While business key performance indicators (KPIs) are known to effectively track productivity as well as the effectiveness of the team, it’s essential to add KPIs related to the well-being and collaboration of the remote employees too. By gaining insights into touchpoints between teams and how the workforce is coping up with the workload, these well-being metrics play a crucial role in predicting the team’s productivity. Although there might be different aspects of happiness for every employee, these metrics let workers explore the reasons why they’re feeling strained.

Appreciating your workforce

Employees have been working remotely in these challenging times, and it’s important to make them feel appreciated and valued. As employees are not available in the office for extending a thank you note or reaching out in person, finding ways to celebrate their presence is essential. Sending a virtual gift card on their birthday/joining anniversary or recognizing their efforts by scheduling a video call with the team helps to boost up their morale.

Providing emotional support

As the pandemic has taken a toll on the employees’ mental health, it’s recommended to provide emotional support to the employees working from home. Supporting your employees emotionally helps to build a level-headed workplace, which promotes an upbeat culture where things get done effortlessly. By encouraging self-care among remote employees, leaders can help them boost productivity even in unfamiliar circumstances.

With the emerging working model in the virtual world, managing remote teams has become the new reality.

This article was originally published on the author’s blog and reprinted with permission.