It is common place that we can now connect with anyone anywhere in the world through emails, social channels and so on. We have these digital advancements to thank for our flexible working arrangements and importantly globalising communication and business. We are communicating easier with people, better than ever but the type of connection is changing.

From hot desking to flexible working hours to remote working, workplaces are evolving to allow employee to cultivate their day and location in a way that increases their job satisfaction and life fulfillment. With the move towards remote working, like all changes we see new patterns arise, like employees feeling less connected with themselves and managers. Or questions being posed around how HR teams can best support employees from a far?

Research shows that employees who work remotely tend to be happier compared to their peers who have less work flexibility, however it can be difficult for them to stay happy if they don’t feel connected with their team.  With 70% of people globally working on a remote basis 1 day a week and this number only rising it is important that we look at how HR leaders make sure remote workers do maintain their sense of connection in the process.

Before understanding the support that remote workers need, it is important to see what employees can miss out on by working remotely:

  • Social connection in the workplace with colleagues
  • Face to face collaborative working & team dynamics
  • Out of office activities (Friday afternoon social activities or culture days)
  • Relationship building and comradery
  • A voice in decision making and input
  • Feeling appreciated

5 things all HR leaders can do to support employees who work remotely:

Community Activities, events and volunteer work

Encouraging employees to practise healthy habits and socialise positively can be challenging but when it is done right the results speak for themself. Helping employees find activities, volunteering opportunities and events they can participate in and build a community where ever they are in the world. Volunteering and community events are available in every part of the world and in turn volunteering will inspire connectedness, purpose and self-value for the employee.

Thank and appreciate

Sending meaningful gifts to anywhere in the world can be hard but what can be more challenging is finding the right support gifts to promote wellness and show your appreciation to employees. Gifts are a great way to show that you are thinking of an employee and a chance to follow your words with an action of support.

Inclusion & planning

Including travel for remote workers in the budget for the year, so that they can attend workplace events, training and team building – inspiring appreciation and  connectedness. Spending time and money on the training and development of all employee is a beneficial strategy that all HR leaders should consider – remote workers should not be treated differently. Where travel is not possible always include the whole team in meetings and invite them to be a part of the decision making and planning process.

Stay connected digitally

Remote working increases along with the digital advancements which we need not ignore but rather implement and embrace. Connecting with remote workers all around the world is easier with tools such as Google Hangouts, Zoom and Slack. Take a planned approach of check ins and show that you are there as support and available to answer any questions – lead by example and involve the team.

Relationship building

From understanding what remote workers are missing out on we can see the importance of including activities on a global scale to promote and practise relationship building. This can all be done digitally but doesn’t need to lack creativity and excitement – set up 15 minute coffee dates once a month between employees who have never met and have the chance to dial into a video chat and connect.

With the right approach to support, employees who work remotely can be as productive and if not more than teams under the one roof. HR leaders need to take proactive steps to being aware of the differing approaches to motivating and supporting remote workers. In turn by implementing different support initiatives as suggested above you will see a boost in positive mental health and happiness, building the methods of communication and increase productivity.

Always here,
Kietah Martens-Shaw
Founder & CEO of B.OKideas