Helping Employees Adapt to Remote Work in the Age of the New Normal

Approximately 16% of companies in the world are now fully remote and around 56% of companies have adopted a remote work strategy for their employees in some capacity. Despite the now-improved health situation in many parts of the world, companies are taking a results-based approach to their employees’ work and many are choosing to continue with telecommuting on a long-term or permanent basis. This is good news considering the fact that flexibility is linked to higher rates of employee retention. If your business has just embraced a remote or hybrid working model, what can you do to ensure your employees’ transition is seamless?

Considering Employee Stipends for Use in their Home Office

Almost half of the EU population lives in apartments. This means that many workers may not have enough space for a home office and they may need to carry out small renovations. Tiny spaces make great home offices if the right renovation is carried out to make them more amenable. Potential home office spaces in small homes include the space beneath the stairs or an unused ground floor bathroom. The latter can be converted by knocking down walls and replacing them with sliding glass doors. To create an office in an open floor plan living space, meanwhile, workers can add space separators such as shelves of living green walls to set up their own space. Companies should consider providing a stipend to their workers to facilitate these expenses. Facebook and Google, for instance, are offering all remote workers $1,000 for this purpose, and other companies are paying staff’s monthly Internet costs. Remember that your employees will not be able to perform optimally if they have no privacy, or if they have uncomfortable furniture or poor lighting.

Keeping Communication Lines Open

Communicating with your staff frequently via Zoom, Skype, Google Meets, and/or Slack is important if you aren’t meeting your staff frequently in-person. Frequent, effective communication can help clarify goals, roles, and processes. It can also help maintain trust and good feelings among colleagues and boost company morale. Create a schedule for regular calls throughout the week or month, making sure that managers are also available for matters that may arise in between programmed calls. Make sure you have a set agenda before the meeting and send it to everyone who will be taking part, so they have a chance to prepare. Consider meeting staff in person at regular intervals. You can choose to either take part in structured team-building activities and getaways or simply meet for meals and get-togethers. 

Limiting Hours of Availability

The one problem with working from home is that it can be harder to disconnect completely from work. Workers should be encouraged to work for a set number of hours, tuning out completely once their workday is over. This does not mean that they have to be available from 9 to 5 every day. In fact, many companies are offering workers flexibility so they can fulfill personal obligations (such as school drop-offs) without their work suffering. Managers can strike the right balance by asking workers to fill out their desired work schedule. So long as workers are available at specified hours of the day or week, and so long as they are completing the hours of work they are being paid for, it will be a win-win situation for both parties.
Remote work has boomed globally since the start of the pandemic, and it looks like it’s here to stay. To ease workers’ transition into this mode of working, consider a stipend since most workers will incur expenses ranging from Internet use to electricity, furniture, and equipment. Keep communication lines open to avoid feelings of isolation and to maintain unity. Finally, make sure workers have a good work-life balance by encouraging them to stick to the hours they are being paid for.

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