How to best help employees optimize their remote work setup for increased productivity and wellbeing
With no end to remote work insight, your employees’ home offices are quickly becoming the office. Regardless of your company’s plans to have employees return to the office, many will continue to work remotely, at least partially post-pandemic. According to a Gartner report examining the future of work trends post-COVID-19, 48% of employees will work remotely at least some of the time going forward.
And while remote work has numerous benefits for workers, it has also come with many challenges, including the strain of carving out space in the home. Whether juggling parental demands or merely the constraints of a smaller living space, work from home has placed challenges on productivity and well-being. As these outcomes are intertwined, it should be of your company’s utmost priority to improve the circumstances.
Go deeper and watch our panel discussion on navigating remote work arrangements.
The Right Tech Goes a Long Way
One of the primary challenges to productivity is one’s home office setup. While not every employee has an extra room to devote to work-time, you can take steps as the leader of your business to help your employees create a more conducive space for greater productivity. The right tech goes a long way. According to our 2020 State of Working from Home Report, 40% of employees say their number one challenge is access to the right technology to be productive, and 43% say it’s a challenge to have access to the tools or information needed to do their job at home.
Isolation Is Leading to Loneliness and Lower Productivity
Employee work from home environments are also posing challenges to employee wellbeing. Crammed or crowded spaces, lack of access to the outdoors, and less interaction with coworkers lead to higher rates of loneliness, lack of focus, and stress. 57% are experiencing social isolation, and 43% report feeling lonely. 31% said working remotely has made it more challenging to focus, and 27% said they feel stressed. Employees placed feeling lonely as their top wellbeing concern in our recent study.
Companies were already struggling with employee burnout and feelings of being overwhelmed before the pandemic. Layer on loneliness, stress, and anxiety, and employee productivity is adversely affected. Companies need to develop comprehensive solutions that address employee wellbeing as a result of remote work arrangements. As well-being has a direct impact on productivity, consider ways to boost productivity by helping employees optimizing their physical workspace. If ignored, companies could see an increase in benefit costs, at a minimum, as employees struggle to find healthy practices to counter the effects of social isolation.
By investing now in improving your employees’ virtual work arrangements, you position your company for maturing its remote work practices. With the right strategy to redirect your company budgets, you can help your employees remain productive and comfortable as you transition to a remote-first future. And while it is certainly important to create physical environments to support work and wellbeing, the nature of work is becoming less physically demanding. As where employees live becomes less important, more emphasis needs to be placed on supporting employees’ needs to customize and optimize their home workspaces.
How you lead your remote team requires you to change up your leadership approach. Download our complimentary report, “12 Leadership Strategies for Managing Remote Employees” for ideas to transform the way you lead your remote team.
About the Author
Brett is a copywriter, life coach, and former professional athlete. He uses his teamwork and leadership experiences from Major League Baseball to present ideas around life work balance, team productivity, and work dynamics to technology companies utilizing productivity tools to enable healthier and happier lifestyles.