Working from home today? What about tomorrow? Or the next day? How about every day? Remote working and the gig economy have several pros and cons.
For many people, working remotely is an extremely flexible approach to achieving work-life balance in all its glory, as well as having the opportunity to maximize the time that would have been spent commuting. As someone who works remotely, often travelling to client sites and different states, I can say that I am more productive because of it. In fact, a recent 2018 study published by Bloom over a two-year period, “showed an astounding productivity boost among the telecommuters equivalent to a full day’s work.” In our world (corporate America), productivity is immediately, synchronously related to an increase in profit. After all, time is money!
As many of us know, we all have our special places for doing things. The gym is for exercising, the library is for reading books, and the grocery store is for buying food and household items. But what happens when your home becomes your office, and your office is embedded in your place of comfort? For many, it can be difficult to separate home from work life.
As a professional powerlifter, full-time student, entrepreneur, and volunteer mentor I often find my schedule excessively packed. Especially as I prepare for a competition! During my stretch of at-home work, I often find myself having a hard time turning my mind off from work even after all meetings are over. In some cases, I end my day, head to the gym for a two-and-a-half-hour training session, and then drive around for a few hours before going home. Because of this, I began to find myself dreading being home, and ironically dreading the thought of leaving my home for events, meetings, and presentations.
All too often companies who are hungry for increased productivity, a refresh in culture, and higher wellness numbers may feel as though working remotely is the quick-fix solution. However, if done incorrectly and without mindfulness this can be detrimental to your employees’ health and lead to lower employee satisfaction, and in some extremes, accelerated attrition. Oftentimes, if you do not work to foster an environment that is truly inclusive of its remote communities, employees can feel isolated, left out, and in some cases unsupported and disconnected from their companies.
So, the question I know we all have on our minds: Jacob, how can we be more mindful of our remote employees and what should we know?
- While working remotely increases productivity, it can also encourage overworking. One way to marry wellness with remote working is to encourage folks to take a break—in my case, disconnecting! This doesn’t have to be a long tropical vacation; it can be as simple as leaving your devices at home and taking a walk outside or taking a day off to go hiking. Taking a few minutes to disconnect from stress-related environments can be monumentally beneficial.
- Strive to make company events as inclusive as possible. Yes, this means including ALL remote employees! At Projectline we’ve done this by consciously designing events that are remote friendly and out-of-the-box—like the time we hosted a virtual murder-mystery. (Message me and I’ll tell you more!)
- Encourage people managers to build relationships with their direct reports! In some cases, ensuring that your management team has its “people” at the top of their minds will encourage this behavior naturally. Helping your people managers look at their employees “whole-self” is extremely important!
- Make meetings video friendly. You can encourage this by understanding that folks working from home like to be comfortable and nurturing an environment that is supportive of video meetings where everyone knows they don’t have to get all dressed up.
- Ask for feedback! Who knows better about what they need than folks who work remotely themselves?
At Projectline, remote work is something that is true to our hearts and our business model. Building strategically embedded teams across the globe is one thing but keeping them engaged is a completely different objective. To learn how we can do this for you, please contact us or feel free to connect with me directly!