In the last ten years, the US labor force has experienced a 91% increase in remote work. Remote work offers many benefits for both employees and employers, it's a win-win situation that heaps of businesses are taking advantage of during the digital transformation age, and have been for a while.
With much of the workforce working from home, remote work itself isn't seen as a benefit that candidates might expect when looking for a job. Therefore, remote work is simply not enough to convince someone to join your team.
Due to their unique situation of being able to work from anywhere they wish, benefits for remote employees might look a bit different than those of their in-office counterparts. Remote employees often look for additional perks that will make their remote work experience more beneficial, productive, and enjoyable.
Here are six key benefits that all remote employees will need to succeed.
The typical vibe of any office is that people work a nine to five day. A structure can have a positive effect on your team, but too much can make employees start to feel like they're being micromanaged.
The most common perk that a remote employee will expect is to be given the freedom of having a more flexible work schedule. If you don't offer flexibility as a perk, then they might think, “What's the point of working remotely?”
Allow your remote employees to find a schedule that works best for them. People reach their most productive points at different points in the day, and designating a harsh time frame for someone can hurt their productivity. If you have a remote employee that can really crank out some good work at 6:00 AM, let them do so. Or if you have an employee that needs to get an extra hour of sleep in the morning and likes to start their workday at 9:30 AM and work a little later, more power to them.
A flexible work schedule allows remote employees to fit in personal tasks that often suffer due to strict work schedules. You can encourage them to be the most productive by introducing them to practices such as the Pareto Principle, but you can't micromanage. Things like, walking the dog, cooking a nutritious meal, and fitting in a doctor's appointment, should not suffer because you want your employees to be working from nine to five. As long as they're hitting their goals and maintaining the standard of performance for your business, give them the flexibility they need to thrive, both personally and professionally.
Remote work can't exist without technology. That's a fact.
A lot of offices nowadays are filled to the brim with the latest technology. Big computer monitors that expand your screen view, standing desks that give you the opportunity to stretch your legs, and every software tool you need to stay connected with your team - if all of these things are present for in-office employees, you need to extend the same courtesy to your remote employees during the onboarding process.
Whether you find a way to get the same set up in your office to your remote employees or provide a stipend so they can purchase what they see fit, assisting them in setting up their home office is a key benefit.
And don't forget about software. Every business runs on software nowadays, and it is even more important to equip remote workers with the tools they need to collaborate as if they were sitting right next to their coworkers. Programs like project management software and tools like the Meeting Owl are necessary for remote workers to be able to collaborate and interact with coworkers and seamlessly as possible.
Everybody loves a vacation. Even just taking a Friday off to stay home and take a day to be completely offline and disconnected from work can be the perfect escape.
Unlimited paid time off policies are gaining popularity, and remote workers are actively seeking employers that offer it. While offering an unlimited paid time off policy might seem like a bad idea for employers, you should know that 44% of remote workers that have unlimited vacation days only take two or three weeks off per year. They are attracted by the idea of unlimited paid vacation but end up taking off a normal amount of work.
A well-rested employee that takes a vacation every now and then is a happy and productive employee. Make sure your remote employees have the chance to take a break and come back to work refreshed and ready to make an impact.
A lot of employees become remote for personal reasons. Maybe the commute is negatively affecting the time they are spending with their family, dog, or even themselves. While they might have made this career change because of their personal life, this doesn't mean remote employees don't value professional development as much as their in-office counterparts.
Don't exclude remote employees when having discussions about professional development and feedback. Since remote employees aren't in the office, you can't count on seeing them in passing to ask them to talk about their professional development. Make a point to reach out to remote employees to talk about their progress and the future of their careers at your company.
Chances are, your remote employees did not decide to become remote because they despise their coworkers. Feelings of isolation and loneliness are common with remote workers, so providing ways for employees to get together, either virtually or in-person, can be a great way for team members to connect on a human level. You can try some Slack team building ideas or virtual icebreakers to ensure your team has the opportunity to get to know each other.
When possible, provide opportunities for your remote workers to visit the office or interact with their coworkers on an employee retreat that can be planned easily through a travel management solution. Remote work can become lonely, and feeling the comradery of connecting with coworkers can be great for remote employee morale.
This is especially important if your entire team is remote. Not knowing your coworkers on a somewhat personal level can put up barriers - after all, it is easier to communicate with people we know well. And if there is one thing remote teams can't afford to struggle with, it's communication.
Plan events, pay for lunches, and encourage employees to get together, even if they're connecting virtually. A culture that encourages employee interaction, especially in a recreational setting, will lead to a happier team.
Being recognized for our hard work and accomplishments is one heck of a good feeling. There is almost nothing like knowing that our efforts have paid off and translated into something worth being complimented on.
However, something that can be even sweeter, is being treated like a human being. Things happen and life gets in the way. The last thing that any employee wants to worry about when they are facing personal struggles is work.
Create a culture that recognizes that your employees are all humans simply trying their best to get through life unscathed. It is possible that an employee requested to be remote for a personal reason that will require some of their time attention. Stress the importance of open and honest communication, and cut everyone a little slack here and there. We are all human and need to be treated as such.
Simply granting an employee the ability to work remotely and sending them on their way isn't going to cut it. There are certain unique benefits that must accompany the privilege to work remotely along with leading them in the right direction by setting SMART goals. Yes, a good portion of the success of your remote employees is out of your hands, but neglecting to do your part is a mistake. Providing the benefits your remote employees need to thrive will ensure they are as productive and happy as possible. What more could a business want?