Feb 7, 2023 | HR, Future of Work, Remote Work
As the world enters 2023, there is one thing that all HR professionals can agree on: remote and hybrid work is here to stay. While the concept is not in its nature, new, the adaptation of the hybrid and remote work model has grown astronomically. At EBC HCM, we constantly and consistently receive questions about remote work from companies who just want to understand whether or not it's a feasible model for success. Here are the top questions answered about remote work.
Common Questions about Remote and Hybrid Work
As mentioned above, even though the concept of remote work has been around much longer than COVID, it was never a common practice until the last few years. Here are some of the most common questions we receive about remote and hybrid work, as well as some of the pros and cons of the increasingly common work model.
Pre-COVID vs. Post-COVID
When it comes to comparing today's workforce against the pre-COVID workforce, some of the most common questions to consider are:
- What did the workforce look like prior to COVID and what does it look like today?
- Is turnover higher, lower, or the same with a hybrid or remote workforce?
- Should we survey employees in regard to remote/office/hybrid preferences?
While working from home is certainly a major change from working in an office, generally speaking, the workforce hasn't changed all that much pre to post-COVID. Employees still want the same things as before, the difference is remote and hybrid work creates a greater opportunity to give employees what they want, such as a stronger work-life balance.
In the spirit of that stronger work-life balance, many companies see a drastic change in employee turnover if they offer remote or hybrid work options. In a recent survey, it was found that companies on average see a 25% lower employee turnover rate than those that don't.
So yes, you should find out one way or another how your employees feel about remote or hybrid work models, you may be surprised about what you find. Ultimately, knowing what your employees want is always an advantage.
One of the biggest topics surrounding remote and hybrid work is productivity. What the productivity of a company might look like is always a concern that we hear from employers contemplating the remote or hybrid work models.
Some common questions surrounding remote work productivity include:
- How is productivity measured in a remote workforce? What tools are used?
- Does productivity increase, decrease or remain the same?
Does productivity go down? That's probably the biggest question on the mind of employers. In reality, it depends on the worker. Many employees feel there are fewer distractions when working at home. Some employees need to be in the office to stay diligent.
So the answer is, it depends. Some companies certainly see an increase in productivity and some don't. What truly matters is having a way to track performance and productivity. Remote work isn't the issue, it's the employees that take advantage of working from home and don't get as much done as they should.
If you are going to offer remote or hybrid work, it is important to have a way to track performance and productivity, so you know which employees can handle the work model, and which can't. A great way to do so is with modern performance management software through an HR solution.
Handling In-Office Employees and Work
While companies that go 100% remote may not have this issue, for those who are in a hybrid or temporary model, knowing how to get people to come back to the office can be challenging.
Employers commonly ask:
- How do I incentivize people to come back or come in?
- What if certain members of a team are remote while others are in the office?
- How many days should employees come into the office?
While we would love to be able to answer these questions for you, the truth is, only your employees know the answer.
While things like company lunches and events, or even PTO incentives can get people back into the office, it's okay to ask employees what they might want. You might find what it takes to get them back is simpler than you imagined. The same goes for how many days a week they should spend in the office, though it is important to take into account your own business needs as well.
Certainly, another important aspect of remote and hybrid work is employee engagement. With everyone in the office, employee engagement is kept simple. Yet the farther you expand your remote or hybrid workforce it becomes an entirely new challenge.
Here are some of the common questions we get around keeping remote and hybrid workforces engaged:
- How is it ensured that all members of the team are communicated with whether it be face-to-face, remote, or both?
- How do you ensure that those who may be remote are engaged with the team?
- How is overall communication done?
- How has the remote/hybrid model changed the company's productivity and culture?
- Are employees more engaged, less engaged, or the same?
While it might seem like a tall task, keeping employees engaged even when in a remote or hybrid workforce is simple.
Here are some things you can do to keep remote and hybrid employees engaged:
- Encourage health, wellness, and a work-life balance: Ask employees what their plans are for the weekend, encourage them to do things that are fun, and most importantly encourage them to log off at an appropriate time. One of the pitfalls of employee engagement for a remote workforce is that employees end up working way later than they would have otherwise.
- Host virtual meetings, hangouts, or happy hours: Just because everyone isn't together doesn't mean you can't spend time with each other. Even if it's hopping on a big zoom call for a virtual happy hour on Fridays, little things can keep employees engaged and connected.
- Ensure employees feel valued and communication is left open: When workers aren't coming into the office every day, they may become more hesitant to bring any issues or concerns to their managers. It's important to keep communication lines open and make sure that employees know that you are always there for them.
- Make work fun: It might sound silly or obvious, but finding ways to make work more fun will go a long way to keeping employees engaged. Things like games or friendly competition amongst teams or team members are great.
Pros and Cons of Remote and Hybrid Work
In addition to understanding and answering the above questions, it's important to weigh the pros and cons of remote and hybrid work before ultimately making a decision for your business.
Some benefits of working remotely or using hybrid workforce include:
- More flexibility such as the ability to keep illness minimal in the office setting (i.e can take the remote option if sick), the elimination of travel time, and location flexibility.
- More work-life balance for employees, potential productivity increases in an independent environment, and more use of tools such as Zoom, Microsoft teams, etc.
- The ability to keep up with current workforce models (many individuals no longer want the 5 days per week model)
- Multiple resources in regards to technology to keep people connected, potentially staggering the workforce to ensure the individuals are spread out and not all coming in at once/the same day, utilizing different platforms for team meetings, ideas etc.
Some of the cons that employers should be prepared for if they choose to offer hybrid or remote work include:
- More detachment from peers, more room for error if the communication is not set, and requires the ability for employees to keep themselves self-stimulated.
- Productivity needs to be measured in a way that can reflect work done remotely.
- Potential internet and connection issues slow down the work-from-home process.
Get Help with Setting Up Your Remote or Hybrid Workforce
While the above information can certainly help with the decision of whether or not to offer remote or hybrid work, getting that model set up can be difficult.
For help with getting set up for remote work, contact us today.