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How Employers Can Foster a Happy WFH Setup

There’s little doubt that the work from home (WFH) boom has been a welcome one for many employees around the world. In abandoning lengthy commutes and workplace formalities, workers have responded favourably to the comfort of getting their daily tasks done in makeshift home offices. However, this isn’t to say that the process has been entirely easy on businesses and employees alike, but there are a number of measures that HR departments can take to make sure the transition to WFH is as seamless as possible. 

Whilst employees generally favour working from home as opposed to office environments, their productivity and job satisfaction levels can fluctuate in response to this fundamental change in this new approach to work. 

Lighthouse

(Image: Lighthouse)

As the data above shows, remote employees are generally less satisfied with their colleagues, and can even be more suspicious that fellow workers don’t have their best interests in mind. 

This is likely down to the greater levels of isolation that WFH employees endure, indicating that a lack of face-to-face communication can lead to more negative feelings about work. 

Such trends must be monitored by employers and HR departments alike, and it can be important for businesses to work differently in order to enable remote workers to collaborate more effectively and feel as though they belong. With this in mind, let’s take a look at some key measures that can be taken into account to help motivate WFH staff and to ensure they remain happy: 

Ensure remote employees know how they fit into the company

One key consideration to make involves ensuring that every team member is clear about how they will work together remotely, and how they will keep each other informed of their progress, and how often these updates should occur. 

Whilst WFH models are best built on trust between employers and employees, it’s essential that workers always know where they stand and how they fit into the organisation’s daily processes.

By making a clear structure apparent and introducing an expected line of check-ins and workload updates, employees can collaborate more effectively and remain in a healthy level of contact with one another. 

Make your expectations clear from the start

The work from home boom has challenged businesses to alter their approaches towards communicating their expectations to employees. Micromanaging can be counterproductive for workers’ job satisfaction, but a lack of direction means that there’s a risk that employees won’t be aware of what’s expected of them. 

“Providing guidelines, setting boundaries and reviewing the basics are among the most important steps to take when setting out on your project,” said Scott Bales, vice president of delivery and solution engineering at time management software firm, Replicon. “There will be questions; be accessible and provide clarity on priorities, milestones, performance goals and more. Outline each team member’s availability and ensure you can reach them when needed.”

With this in mind, employers should seek to regularly update employees on matters surrounding policy and staffing changes, as well as company news and fresh tips for easing WFH issues. 

Ensure effective avenues for communication are always open

Communication is more essential than ever when it comes to remote work. For WFH to be a success, employees must be fully aware of the avenues they can utilise to get in touch with their team and managers to make queries or delegate tasks. 

With this in mind, it’s worth managers encouraging employees to get in touch through dedicated instant messaging platforms like Slack. Video conferencing platforms like Google Meet or Zoom can also be an essential way of holding meetings and discussing concerns or performance. 

It can also profoundly benefit companies to provide equipment to support these forms of communication. Remote workers can benefit from the same allowances that in-house staff enjoy, and the use of a company phone or laptop, Mi-Fi, or even office supplies like software and chairs can help to ensure that communication remains constant at all times. It may even be worth HR departments comparing smartphone deals to help create a secure avenue for communication for employees. 

Always remember to offer encouragement

One of the great tragedies of working from home is that employees may often miss those subtle words of encouragement that managers can offer to help underline their importance to the company. 

Remote work has a habit of cutting out the smaller pleasantries that can occur through brief face-to-face interactions within office environments. To counter this, managers must seek to offer encouragement to their workers whenever there’s any reason for praise. 

One of the most effective ways in which this can be accomplished is through regular weekly or monthly one-to-one meetings where managers can review performance and appraise the good work that’s being done by employees. 

The task of keeping remote employees happy in the age of WFH can be challenging for businesses, but the perks of a motivated distributed workforce can bring innumerable benefits to businesses. By fostering a conducive work environment, HR departments can help to future-proof their business and ensure that workers are retained for years to come.

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