How To Balance Supporting Your Remote Workers and In-office Employees
Remote workers and in-office employees require slightly different strategies to promote productivity and mental health. Here are a few basic tips for encouraging healthy habits in a remote work environment.
Remote workers have been on the rise for years, but the COVID-19 pandemic caused this new model to skyrocket across the country. Now, as we enter a post-pandemic society, many employers have started to recognize the benefits of keeping some employees in a remote setting.
However, there will always be some positions that require people to come into the office. This has led many offices to adopt a hybrid work environment that fits everyone’s needs. There are plenty of benefits to this model. Productivity in remote workers is often increased due to flexibility and a better work-life balance. Your business can save money on overhead costs, and thanks to technology, there are multiple ways for people to collaborate whether employees are at home or in the office.
There can be some challenges, however, when it comes to striking a support balance. Every employee deserves to feel seen, heard, and supported whether they’re working from home or coming into the office each day. So, how can you strike that balance with your remote and in-office employees?
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Build a better company culture
It’s easy to think of ways to improve company culture in an in-person setting, but it might not be so clear-cut in a hybrid environment. It’s not fair to your remote workers if you focus on building a positive in-office environment if you’re not going to promote that same culture for those who work from home.
Some of the easiest ways to build a strong, hybrid company culture for everyone include establishing and sticking to a few core values, measuring productivity instead of working hours, and encouraging breaks and adequate time off.
There are also plenty of practices you can put in place to make your remote workers feel more included in the overall company environment, including:
- Making sure they understand their purpose
- Encouraging frequent employee recognition
- Creating positive experiences
- Connecting remote and in-office teams on projects
One of the best things you can do to help your remote team feel more included in office culture is to open up communication as often as possible and be completely transparent. These ideas can help you get started and can almost instantly boost your employees’ involvement.
Communicate directly and often
Speaking of frequent communication, it shouldn’t strictly exist between your in-office and remote employees. While establishing teams between the two is always a good idea, it’s up to you to foster consistent communication and show daily support to your remote team.
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It’s often easier to communicate with your employees working within the office. Something as simple as a quick “hello” can let them know they’re seen and valued. It can be more of a challenge to connect regularly with your remote workers, but it’s not impossible.
Try things like organizing virtual activities and happy hours, setting up weekly conference calls or video chats, and celebrating their successes as often as possible. One of the risks remote workers face while staying at home all day is feeling isolated and lonely. You can combat that by checking in regularly and acknowledging their hard work and commitment. If you see that some of your employees are struggling (especially those working from home), don’t be afraid to encourage professional help. Acknowledging that struggle can make a big difference, and could give your workers the boost they need to reach out for more support.
Support mental health
More employers are starting to recognize the importance of mental health initiatives in the workplace. Remote work, in general, has been shown to boost the mental well-being of employees. If your office is on the fence about allowing some employees to work from home, their mental wellness is an important thing to take into consideration. For starters, many of your employees would likely benefit from losing the mental and physical strain of a daily commute. Some of the other mental health benefits of remote work include:
- Reduced stress
- Fewer distractions
- Better focus
- Less pressure
While it’s still important to offer your support to your remote workers who might be struggling with their mental well-being, your in-office workers might need a little more attention when it comes to mental health issues. You can promote a mentally healthy office culture by encouraging breaks and letting your employees spend some time outside each day. Stock up on healthy snacks that boost people’s mood and energy levels. Book in-office yoga classes on a Friday afternoon. These simple additions can go a long way in showing your employees how much you support them and value their well-being.
Finding a balance of support for your remote and in-office employees doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Use technology to your advantage to stay connected with everyone, and remain as open and transparent as possible. By showing up for all of your employees and establishing a culture of care, you’ll create a hybrid work environment that allows your business to grow and your employees to stay healthy and happy.
Indiana Lee is a writer, reader, and jigsaw puzzle enthusiast from the Pacific Northwest. An expert on business operations, leadership, marketing, and lifestyle, you can connect with her on LinkedIn.