Engaging and Remote Workforce

Remote Workforce Engagement – A Guide for Businesses

Overview of Remote Work Challenges

Over the pandemic, we saw a huge shift to the number of employees working remotely. Even today, the number of remote and hybrid workers far outstrips those from before. However, employee engagement is a painpoint among remote talent and something many companies struggle with. How does your company engage with and include people not in the office?

In this video we share our advice for companies looking to better engage remote workers through an inclusive culture. Featuring Brandon Kline from our Disability Inclusion Management team.

The Changing Landscape of Remote Work

Prior to the pandemic only 6% of workers were remote. At the height of the pandemic, as many as 35% of the workforce was working remotely, and that has since dropped to 26% (December 2022). However, this still poses a five-fold increase in the number of remote workers.

Furthermore, remote work is one of the most in-demand job types out there. Many employees are even willing to take a lesser paying job for the flexibility, comfort, and work-life balance that remote work can afford. With our modern technology, remote work is not going away.

Remote Work – A Range of Employee Experiences

While remote work is very popular, many express feelings of loneliness or trouble engaging with with the company. While some workforces feel fully integrated, others feel fragmented with remote workers gaining less visibility and less recognition for their hard work.

Thus, as a company who hires remote workers, you want to make sure that you’re creating a consistently positive experience for all of your employees no matter where they are.

What Can You Do?

  • Regular check ins – just as you would with any other employee, its important for managers to have a cadence of regular check ins that are given the same priority as in-person check ins.
  • Respecting their time – it’s important to make sure that when you schedule time with remote workers that you recognize their time is valuable and seek to prioritize showing up for those meetings the same as you would for employees in your building.
  • Show your face – its important to utilize video chat in order to build rapport and have deeper engagement. This is especially important if you schedule a meeting and they show their face but you don’t show yours. Face time, even if 1,000 miles away, is still important.
  • Show your support – make yourself always available to chat and consistently provide them feedback. It’s also important to remember to build relationships with your remote staff the same as you would in-person staff. It’s also important to remember to help ensure they take breaks and disconnect the same as on-site employees. Finally, provide recognition company-wide so everyone to celebrate their accomplishments.
  • Host virtual events – it can be disappointing when an employee can’t join you for in-person event. Try alternating between on-site and virtual after-hours and team building events.

Respecting Boundaries

Many remote workers can feel challenges with being able to disconnect. If their bedroom is their office and if their phone and email goes off all hours of the day, it can be difficult for them to take necessary time away. As employers we need to be respectful of and honor those boundaries.

Finally, understand that differences in time zones may make it difficult for people to attend certain meetings scheduled earlier or later in the day.

Quiet Quitting: Advice for Employers

Quiet Quitting Guide for Businesses

What is quiet quitting

“Quiet quitting” is the phenomenon of employees doing the minimum to satisfy their job requirements but not going above and beyond. In doing so, employees are seeking a better work-life balance. This originated from a TikTok video in March 2022.

“Quiet quitting” has been last year’s verbal punching bag of many companies who are struggling to hire and retain workers as well as get more production out of them. However, “quietly quitting” is really just a signal of the changing times and shifting labor market. Furthermore, it’s a symptom or wide-spread burnout that has spurred the “great resignation” from last year.

In this video, we explain what is “quiet quitting,” where it came from, and how it’s affecting businesses featuring Peak Performers’ Kathi Workman.

Work-Life balance

An increasing importance is being placed on work-life balance in today’s company culture. This becomes increasingly important to retaining workers. While once upon a time work cultures might have been a “give me your all” environment, most successful companies today are finding it important to give employees some space and respect their time off.

While hustle culture is far from dead, it’s important to recognize that many valuable employees are seeking to strike a more even work-life balance. The prospect of being able to set boundaries is exciting and hopeful for many employees.

Effects of the pandemic

The COVID-19 lockdowns forced many people into remote work where it was difficult to find a physical separation between work and home, especially when one’s office is in their bedroom, and when phone calls and emails come through all day long.

Following the nationwide labor shortages, many employees and job seekers have felt empowered to ask for better separation between work and their personal lives and thus has spurred the social media trend of “quiet quitting”

Who is quietly quitting?

It’s estimated that as many 50% of workers have “quietly quit” or are doing the minimum to satisfy their job requirements. People from all levels in organizations as many people struggle to regain a better work-life balance.

Is quietly quitting bad?

Technically, if someone is quietly quitting they are still satisfying the job requirements.

Many employers may become frustrated with not being able to gain as much output from workers, but perhaps we need to be re-evaluating the role expectations for our jobs.

Many workers take offense to the term “quietly quitting” because they feel like it unfairly characterizes them setting boundaries at work.

As an employer, should I be upset?

You can be, but it might be more productive to understand the current trends of the labor market and what employees are seeking from your culture. It’s also important to recognize that some employees can be just as productive and effective even if they’re not available all hours of the day.

At the end of the day, many people want a better work-life balance and quietly quitting is one of the ways that employees are expressing this desire.

It’s also a moment to turn inwards towards company culture since many employees are seeking something deeper than a paycheck and are seeking a mission to stand behind and to be more involved at work.

What can employers do about quiet quitting?

Validate the experience of your employees and tell them they’re doing a great job. Seek to include them more in your company’s culture.

Show compassion and understanding when employees need to disconnect and respect their work-life balance by learning when to bug them and when business can wait.

Loneliness at Work

Loneliness and the Work World

Advice for Businesses to Combat Loneliness

Whether employees are working on-site, hybrid, or remotely, loneliness at work is an increasing challenge many individuals and their businesses are facing (though perhaps its felt most by remote employees). What employers may not realize is that this is hurting bottom line and productivity by causing higher rates of burnout and turnover.

Let’s talk about loneliness and building a culture of inclusion, especially in a world where many of our co-workers are half a continent away. Watch the video below with Peak Performers’ Nick Bergen.

Key Stats about Loneliness

  • 36% of Americans feel loneliness at work on a regular basis
  •  61% of young adults feel loneliness regularly
  • 51% of mothers with small children feel lonely

Loneliness affects a lot of people. These statistics have drastically increased since 2014 and the COVID-19 lockdowns have accelerated the trend even more.

Despite the amount of connectivity we all have access too, many people are feeling more disconnected than before.

Why should you care as a business?

While this may feel like something that’s “not your problem” this can adversely affect productivity, employee engagement, and retention.

Employee engagement is most drastically affected by loneliness. If someone is feeling lonely, they are much more likely to disconnect at work. Employees want to like who they work with and seek social engagement in their work.

And when someone is feeling lonely their productivity tends to decrease. Additionally, they’re more likely to turn over or “quietly quit.”

When we talk about company culture, it’s important to recognize that for most people company culture is the people and the experience of going to work.

What can businesses do to positively impact company culture and loneliness?

First off, understand that socialization happening at work is not a drain or something that needs to be punished. Time spent around the proverbial “water cooler” is time well spent to increase a culture of inclusion and improve company culture

It can also be helpful to implement an employee wellness program. Many such programs focus solely on physical health but having a social and mental health component can help with employee loneliness.

Also make sure to include all of your employees in company events and social activities wherever possible. Be on the lookout for those who are most socially disconnected and make a concerted effort to include them

Finally, strive to make your workplace more inclusive by including more people of various different background. It’s important to remember that hiring just one person from a representative group is not enough for true inclusion and it helps to avoid multiple people from various diverse groups to mitigate “tokenship” effects.