Do you remember when your coworker would say that she could never work from home? Err, maybe you were the one saying this? Given recent circumstances in our world, many of us have been forced into remote working situations. Jobs that we never thought could function outside a physical office are finding creative solutions to do so. As we move into our new “abnormal,” more workers are remote than ever before in history. And, the results are coming in. Most employees like the flexibility. In fact, according to a recent study by IBM, 54% of adults would prefer to primarily work remotely. This study isn’t small, either. IBM polled more than 25,000 U.S. adults. The survey says: “75% of U.S. adults said they would like to continue to work from home in at least a partial capacity, while 40% of respondents said they feel strongly that their employer should give them a choice to opt-in to remote work (source: Business Insider).” The question now becomes, what are you as an employer going to do about it?
If you care at all about employee wellbeing and building a culture of trust and commitment, you might want to read on and consider making working from home options more permanent.
How to Protect Your Employees Wellbeing
Not everyone likes the watercooler
While it is hard to believe, not all employees enjoy the “watercooler chatter.” Going into an office is daunting for many and can even give people anxiety. Wellbeing has been a topic of conversation among HR organizations, and recent times have signaled that perhaps allowing people to work outside of the office might be helpful for overall social anxiety – especially for those introverts.
Require less “bum” time
You heard me correctly. I said bum. By now, reports detailing why sitting is the new smoking have been exposed. Whether or not sitting has consequences as severe as smoking, we know that moving our bodies is very important. Apple wouldn’t include a standing feature on the Apple Watch if this health component didn’t matter. Whether employees have an hour-long commute or a manager requires “desk time,” you should not force your employees to endure such unhealthy behaviors. As a remote worker, employees can take healthy breaks throughout the day and not feel silly rolling out their yoga mats in their home office and doing some stretches.
Additionally, sitting in a desk all day long isn’t the best for our physical health either. People who work from home can create environments that work for them and what their body needs. A little company like Amazon even sells inexpensive and straightforward standing desk stations that employers could invest in for their employees’ home offices.
Flexibility to do all the things
We all have things to do outside of work – get a quick workout in, walk the dog, pick up the kids, feed said kids, find time to eat, get dry cleaning, do the laundry. You get the point. We are all busy. Outside of our day jobs, we have full-blown, active lives. For those workplaces that can, why not allow people to create a little more flexibility in their schedules and have a remote work option? Plus, some people tend to work better at certain hours out of the day. I know I am a morning person. I try to time block my schedule to write and do things that require me to focus more in the AM. I also know many people who are the opposite and find solace and inspiration in the evenings. Finding ways to accommodate your employees by respecting how they work can be more successful than it may seem at first. Based on results from our Work Your Way program, we have seen productivity soar and performance increase.
Minimize sickness and physical health issues
We know this story all too well. The more people that are around each other, the more illness is going to spread. With a more significant contingency of remote workers, employees are less likely to get sick and spread illness to their coworkers. And, the less time they need to take off for sick days. It is a win-win for both parties.
Additionally, more hours at home in the day means more time to prep and eat healthier meals. Rather than running out the door in the morning and grabbing fast food over lunch, planning healthy meals in your own home can significantly improve our overall health. Could we go so far as to say obesity rates in our country may just decline? Too soon to say, but there is hope. While these are only a few of many examples, small improvements can go a long way in supporting your employees’ unique wellbeing journeys.
Build a Culture of Trust and Commitment
After conducting a study of 3,000 working adults in the U.S. from various industries and roles, we discovered some insights of our own. Job flexibility and flexible working arrangements lead to higher levels of trust and commitment with an employees’ company, their supervisor, and their team. In response to: “my work arrangements are flexible enough for me to meet my personal and family needs,” 42% of employees who agree or strongly agree that their work arrangements are flexible enough to meet their needs are more likely to remain with their current employer. This result is a high percentage given all the other external factors that can impact an employees’ decision to stay with their employer.
Team bonding is necessary and will always be important
Are you banging your head on a wall because you just invested in a brand new, state-of-the-art office building? Those treadmill desks and pool tables were a good idea and added to your already impressive benefits—and they still might be for your team members! With the increased desire for people who want to work remotely, face-to-face connection, and a reason to come into work will always be there – maybe just to a different degree. The pendulum has been forced to shift so far toward remote working. More than likely, employees will eventually crave some interaction with their peers. Our study shared that employers who “incorporate activities to make the workplace more enjoyable” have employees who are 79% more likely to remain as employees. And, those who strongly agreed to the statement “my company plans activities to allow employees to interact” are 68% more likely to remain an employee than those people who strongly disagree. Don’t start off-loading all your real estate just yet. The most critical part of building a culture of trust and commitment in the workplace is enabling employees to make the best decisions for their productivity, whether that is in the office or out.
Provide online communication and recognition tools
Employee recognition takes on an entirely new meaning when it is virtual and not in-person. Rather than stopping by someone’s desk to say “thank you” or “great job,” we will need to seek digital means to do so. Having a company communication tool that is a one-stop-shop for communications, service anniversaries, eCards, recognition, and any incentives your company provides is going to prepare you for a larger contingency of remote workers. Finding ways to continue to share your commitment and appreciation for employees will be vital – even if you cannot see them and tell them in person. Another finding from our study shared that: “When an employee feels like they are being properly recognized by an organization, they are 74% more likely to remain an employee of that company.” Employee recognition seems like a small investment to make to keep the majority of your workforce.
Learn from our Head of Employee Xperience
We teamed up with one of the largest HR Organizations, World at Work, to deliver a webinar that will help you create a work environment that appeals to all. After developing our own “Work Your Way” program, where employees have flexibility and autonomy, our Head of Human Resources shared some of One10’s best-kept secrets. Watch the recording of this webinar.