Remote workers and flexi-jobs are no longer the exceptions to the rule. In the past few years, more and more companies offer their employees more flexibility in the shape of working from home. In fact, Jennifer Moss – the bestselling and award-winning author of Unlocking Happiness at Work – reveals that a recent study in 96 international companies that interviewed approximately 18,000 employees has shown that 70% of employees work from home at least once a week and that even 53% are working remotely half the week.
These numbers represent that this phenomenon is very popular among employees but even more so among the employers. Many of them understand that this is the (new) way a lot of employees want to work. Employers are aware of the perks of more flexible and remote work: they save time and money because of the limited commuting costs of their employees. In many cases, it also increases job satisfaction and improves gratitude towards superiors. So, many of the upsides of remote and flexible work are well-known within today’s companies. But few executives are aware of the possible downsides of this management style. In this post, we describe two of the most common issues that arise from remote work and how to avoid them.
As previously mentioned, employees that are allowed to work from home tend to have a great sense of gratitude. But what we see is that employees respond by starting to really strain themselves out of a sense of ‘indebtedness‘ to return the favour. On the other hand, employers also seem to intensify the workload – in the assumption that remote workers suddenly have more time – to levels that can impossibly be sustainable in the given timeframe. This leads to employees with an impracticable work-life balance, who are stressed out and will eventually face a burn-out. They quite literally run out of gas.
So, in order to really keep them engaged in a healthy manner, executives should make sure they regularly check in with these remote workers. As a leader you need to show sincere interest in their personal lives by having non-work chats, ensuring they still have enough time to spend with family and friends and to do what makes them happy. So, try to keep them from overworking themselves by advising sufficient family-time, vacations and mental health breaks (if necessary).
Another issue connected to remote work is that many of these remote experience a feeling of loneliness. This is often due to the lack of interaction with coworkers from the office. How to counter this problem? Foresee weekly/monthly meetings to ensure face-to-face time to give them the opportunity to build up trust and relationships with other team members. Investing in these arrangements will result in a higher rate of engagement among remote workers. Nowadays, managers need to focus on what engages their employees and according to Jennifer Moss that will most likely include flexible work options. But, these are only successful when paired with leadership that allowes remote workers to flourish in their flexible jobs.