Five ways to better support remote employees

The way we work has undergone a significant transformation due to the pandemic. Recent data from the Office for National Statistics indicates that a considerable portion of the workforce has shifted to remote work. Between September 2022 and January 2023, 16% of employees worked exclusively from home, while 28% adopted a hybrid work model, splitting their time between home and the office. While the pandemic may be in the past, remote work is here to stay.

In this article, we present five valuable tips for employers to effectively support their remote employees:

  • Prioritise Communication

Effective communication plays a vital role in addressing many HR-related issues. Working from home can sometimes leave employees feeling isolated, and they may hesitate to reach out for help when needed.

Unlike in a traditional office setting, remote work doesn’t naturally foster spontaneous communication among colleagues. As a manager overseeing a remote team, it is crucial to establish and maintain robust communication channels actively.

Regularly schedule catch-up meetings with the team and encourage team members to communicate with each other. Utilise various communication tools such as email, group chat systems, telephone calls, and video conferences.

By setting aside dedicated time for check-ins, you ensure that no-one is left out, and you can better understand how to support individuals working in different locations. In addition to work-related discussions, it is also beneficial to allocate time for social interactions and team building.

  • Provide Adequate Equipment

Ensure that your employees have a comfortable home workspace equipped with the necessary tools to perform their job effectively. This will promote productivity and job satisfaction.

Conduct regular Display Screen Equipment (DSE) assessments for employees who use such equipment as part of their work. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website offers further information and template assessments to assist in this process.

  • Set Clear Working Hours

Remote work can blur the boundaries between personal and professional life. Some employees may feel compelled to be available around the clock, unintentionally leading to excessive working hours.

Employers should encourage a healthy work-life balance by establishing clear expectations regarding working hours. Remind employees to log off at the end of their designated workday, emphasising the importance of disconnecting and recharging.

  • Promote Regular Breaks

Similarly, it is crucial to encourage employees to take regular breaks. Prolonged periods of work without breaks can hinder productivity, concentration, and contribute to increased stress levels.

The HSE recommends that home workers take a 5-minute break for every hour of work. Managers should remind employees to take their lunch breaks and incorporate regular screen breaks. By doing so, employees will return to their tasks with renewed focus.

  • Recognise Signs of Disengagement

While some individuals adapt well to remote work, others may find it challenging and struggle to maintain focus and motivation throughout the workday. Unlike the controlled environment of an office, finding suitable space and time for concentration at home can be difficult.

Micromanagement is not the solution, but it is important for managers to be attentive to team members who exhibit signs of withdrawal during virtual meetings or display a lack of responsiveness to emails and other communications.

These signs may indicate underlying issues or a need for support. In such cases, it is advisable to arrange a one-to-one meeting with the team member to gain insights and offer assistance.

By implementing these tips, employers can effectively support their remote workforce and foster a productive and engaged team, even in a distributed work environment.

Workplaces look very different since the pandemic and many employers are still in the process of determining their remote/office work balance. If you’ve made any major changes recently, at Attis Insurance Brokers we offer regular reviews to our clients to ensure their cover remains sufficient through the year. We also offer free no-obligation reviews to non-clients to check your current insurance properly fits your needs.