26 May 2021
Don’t let out-of-sight become out-of-mind
Why supporting the wellbeing of remote workers is vital
With remote working now so widespread, it’s all too easy for employees to feel isolated through a lack of visibility of the wider organisation and their place in it. But there are simple steps that you can take to support the wellbeing of your remote workers and ensure that out-of-sight doesn’t mean out-of-mind.
Happiness is good for business
Worryingly, only 13% of employees worldwide report being truly engaged at work. Stress, anxiety and depression are thought to be responsible for almost half of working days lost in Britain due to health issues. And as the spotlight on employee wellbeing gets more intense, the need to engage with and support remote workers becomes even more pressing.
When you rely on your workforce as a differentiator, retaining a competitive edge relies on making sure that your employees are highly engaged and positively supported. It’s what makes them willing and able to make a strong contribution, wherever and whenever they happen to be working.
Analysis shows that companies with highly engaged employees outperform their competitors by 147%!
Supporting the wellbeing of your mobile workforce also helps to reduce employee turnover (which is critical in markets where there’s a skills shortage). And if you’re in the professional services, technology, or media sectors, you need to take particular care – yours are currently the industries with the highest employee turnover in the UK.
The sound of silence: remote workers often feel just that…remote! To feel an integral part of a cohesive team, employees need communication that is frequent, engaging, easy, personalised, and two-way. Without regular check-ins between employees and their managers, it’s difficult to establish a strong working relationship where everyone feels comfortable to freely discuss professional and personal matters and put solutions in place to support wellbeing.
Pressure points: mobile employees are often under significant stress, especially when they feel that they are expected to be always available. If not carefully managed, this can have a huge negative impact on employee motivation and mental health, potentially escalating into increased absences or higher employee turnover.
Bad tech: legacy HR systems aren’t optimised for mobile workers. They’re often overly complex, fragmented , and difficult to access and navigate – especially for employees outside the traditional office environment. This can lead to frustration and further emphasise that feeling of remoteness.
Leadership: to create a shared sense of purpose, you need to keep mobile employees in the loop by regularly sharing information that’s easy to access wherever your employees happen to be. This could be as simple as making your communications mobile-friendly, or scheduling daily briefings to tie in with a time when your employees are not on the road.
Two-way communication: to avoid that feeling of isolation, it’s essential to open up an ongoing two-way dialogue that doesn’t depend on visits to the office. Checking-in with managers and teams remotely needs to be an accepted and regular practice.
Empowerment: giving remote employees greater control of their daily interactions and career development also helps to prevent them from feeling side-lined. You need to provide easy, mobile access to tools and systems that cover everything from carrying out basic HR functions (such as booking leave) through to assessing their own skill gaps and booking training to fulfil their career development goals. There should be nothing that can only be done in the office.
Collaboration: to create a more dynamic and fulfilling working environment, it needs to be easy for remote employees to get together virtually with people from any part of the organisation, in any location. This might be to share work ideas, or as part of a community or personal interest group.
It pays to care
Tech has a huge role to play in removing barriers between centrally-based employees and remote workers. And giving everyone access to the right tech helps to build a more inclusive work environment. Progressive organisations are already using tech in innovative ways to increase employee engagement, productivity and wellbeing.
By replacing inflexible and fragmented HR and payroll systems with a single, mobile-first, cloud-based, intuitive platform, you can transform how you engage with your mobile employees. And the companies that embrace mobile-first people management strategies will be the ones who attract and retain the talent that’s critical for success. They will also be the ones who build increased workforce resilience.