In all honesty, how content are you with your current remote work conditions?
The unprecedented adoption of remote work beginning in early 2020 has affected employees in many ways, fundamentally changing the way we work. While some enjoy working in the comfort of their own homes and keeping their former rush-hour commute at bay, others are dealing with spotty home wifi, loud roommates who never know how to keep it down when you’re on Zoom calls, clingy pets, or simply the loneliness that might come from not being physically surrounded by coworkers.
As an employer, how can you empower your employees to do their best work and enable your team to be healthy, happy, and productive in this virtual environment?
Jessalyn Klein, Workato’s Head of People and Culture, and Sameer Chowdhri, Facebook’s Global Head of Workplace for HR, sat down together to discuss the latest trends in automation, data, and communications that can enhance employee well-being and performance both now and in the future.
Klein and Chowdhri outline the 3 C’s to building the employee experience of the future:
While working from home can come with unique benefits, it may also mean working extra hours and a deteriorating work-life balance.
According to a survey conducted by Front, out of 2,000 employees, 66% say their workload has increased significantly since going remote, and 50% say they spend five or more additional hours working each week.
How can organizations manage employee well-being now and post-pandemic? Below are some things you can do to help your employees and HR team members, according to Chowdhri:
- Automate work. Leveraging automation can improve the employee experience by eliminating small tasks that take up your team’s day. HR automation, for instance, could improve your organization’s time-to-hire, empower employees to immediately plug in with seamless onboarding, and allow your HR department to allocate more time towards high-value tasks.
- Organize and prioritize. Encourage employees to be more organized and structured by scheduling weekly one-to-ones with managers. This can help your reports better schedule their weeks and offer them a forum to address questions about urgent tasks or upcoming projects.
- Remind your team to disconnect. Telltale signs that employees are reaching burnout can be difficult to spot virtually, but there are things to look out for if you’re worried a colleague needs to disconnect. Common signs might include keeping the camera off during meetings, skipping meetings, calling in sick, and a decrease in daily activities. Learn to recognize these signs early and encourage work-life balance by being conscious of people’s time (including different time zones if you have a global workforce) and understanding that they have to take care of themselves and their families.
- Lead with empathy. Every Thursday, Facebook does a live Q&A with their CEO, Mark Zuckerberg—this increases transparency throughout the organization and improves feelings of belonging. Find ways to connect with your teammates that increase your understanding of who they are and what they care about. This will help you collaborate more effectively, improve cultural competence, and boost their productivity.
Now that you know how to care for your employees on a personal level, how can you help them embrace the company culture starting from day 1? What can you do to make your employees feel more connected to their peers even in this remote work environment? Champion a strong company culture.
For many people, the workplace is like a second home—it affects their happiness, productivity, and sense of belonging greatly. With that in mind, it’s not surprising to learn that 69% of job seekers would turn down an offer from a company with disappointing work culture and that 79% of people who quit their jobs mention “lack of appreciation” as their reason for leaving.
Culture isn’t just about having monthly team lunches or being allowed to bring your pet to work. It takes so much more to build and maintain a connection between an organization and its employees. “Culture is about trust. It all comes down to how leadership creates trust, and how managers are able to help build that trust and hold on to the trust,” Chowdhri said during the webinar.
Leaders create the company culture. At Facebook, aside from having the weekly Q&A with Zuckerberg to keep everyone aligned with the organization’s values, leaders also encourage their employees to share their learnings and failures with others to help build a sense of connection and understanding.
Not only that, Chowdhri also said Facebook expects every single person, not just the formal leaders, to show up as a leader themself. Here are the four different leadership styles being practiced among employees at Facebook:
- Leadership from within, which means being a good human in general and being genuinely interested in helping other people become successful.
- Strategic leadership, which is shown by having a plan and a strategy, and knowing how to execute it.
- Collaborative leadership, which can be done by creating the right environment for employees to collaborate across all functions.
- Executional leadership, which comes down to how you execute goals, increase productivity, encourage transparency, and lead a successful team.
To add to the fourth point, Klein stated that transparency is also top of mind at Workato. Even though they expect formal leaders to be the ones putting important information out there, they also look to and rely on key opinion leaders (the people that peers go to when they’re looking for an answer) to do the same. Being able to empower and encourage both the formal and informal leaders is key to crafting an employee experience that nurtures transparency and communication.
Now that you’ve improved the employee experience by establishing a culture that promotes autonomy, transparency, and strategy, how do you make your team feel like they truly belong at your organization?
Studies show that 70% of remote workers can feel left out at the workplace. Currently, many companies are failing to meet the needs of their remote employees, and more than half of these employees are missing out on important information. This is caused by the difficulties of communicating without frequent in-person contact.
According to the Harvard Business Review, high workplace belonging was linked to a 56% increase in job performance, a 50% drop in turnover risk, and a 75% reduction in sick days. Employees with higher workplace belonging also showed a 167% increase in willingness to recommend their company to others. They received double the raises and 18 times more promotions as well.
How can you drive a sense of belonging in this current virtual workspace? At Facebook, they use their collaboration platform (Workplace from Facebook) to create employee resource groups. These groups can be based on interests or hobbies, and some are more structured than others. This opens up an opportunity to learn, promote inclusion and belonging, and build a team that is resilient.
As previously mentioned, you should also encourage your employees to prioritize their well-being, and leverage automation and technology—like Workplace from Facebook, Slack, and Microsoft Teams—to help foster community.
To show employees that staying connected matters, leaders are expected to engage in the community as well. One of Chowdhry’s favorite quotes by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, is “leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.”
Curious to know how other leaders are building an unforgettable employee experience in a remote environment? Join our Systematic community to learn more!