While remote working is often being praised for the advantages it affords people, it can also present its share of difficulties. Learn three steps managers can take to enhance their remote team’s well-being in this new world of work.
1. Show recognition to remote teams
In a recent UK study, 20% of workers indicated that they received less recognition in the workplace once they began working remotely. This is truly problematic because not only is recognition a key motivation driver, it is also linked to staff engagement and enhanced workplace performance.
When people feel that their work and inherent value is being recognized at work, they are more likely to thrive both inside and outside of work.
But what are the best practices for acknowledging a team member’s contributions and the added value they bring to the team?
Research shows that recognition has the most impact in the workplace when it is:
a) Personalized. Each team member will have a preference on how they would like to receive recognition. While some may like to receive a written acknowledgement, others may prefer to hear it one-or-one or in a public setting.
b) Authentic. Provide specific rather than general feedback. Highlight individual accomplishments as well as milestones. Recognition needs to be genuine to be truly appreciated.
c) Equitable. Ensure that each team member’s efforts and achievements are equally validated. The inherent worth of every person on a team needs to be recognized for the overall team’s well-being.
d) Instilled in the work culture. When recognition is spread across an entire organization, it carries more of an impact. Recognition should be normalized, frequent, and instinctive company-wide.
It is essential for managers to make time to provide their remote team with positive feedback – whether their team members work remotely or share an office. Providing personalized, authentic, and equitable recognition will boost a team’s well-being and lead to a happier and more engaged team. And if it’s embedded within the work culture, teams will be all the stronger for it.
2. Remote teams need creative rest
Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, an internal medicine physician and work-life integration researcher, claims that people require different types of rest in order to truly recharge and refuel.
For workers to fully experience the power of rest, they need what Dr. Dalton-Smith refers to as ‘creative rest’. This type of rest revives a person’s sense of awe and wonder: how it feels to see natural wonders like the Grand Canyon or visit beautiful landscapes like a waterfall or beach. It is the appreciation of beauty itself that invokes the feeling of creative rest – a feeling that is likewise induced when a person appreciates art.
To reap the benefits of creative rest, Dr. Dalton-Smith encourages workers to transform their home workstation into a place of inspiration.
“You can’t spend 40-hours a week staring at beige walls and expect to feel passionate about anything, much less come up with innovative, out-of-the-box ideas.”Saundra Dalton-Smith
3. Prioritize sociability in remote teams
According to a 2021 study, almost a third of Gen Z and Millennial workers consider spending quality time with their teams and other colleagues to be an important part of the employee experience.
It is crucial to note that remote working does not negate a company’s capacity to encourage socialization. Team leaders or office managers can coordinate weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly team bonding events or activities. Even when teams are scattered across the globe, carving out a regular time to meet up online is certainly feasible.
Whether it’s by regularly scheduling team meals (at a local restaurant or over remote working tools), activities (interactive games, exercise breaks, craft challenges, etc.) or creating hobby clubs based on shared interests (books, cycling, films, etc.), there are endless ways for remote teams to interact socially online or in-person.
The key is for team leaders to make team bonding experiences a priority. They must also pay careful attention and seek feedback on what works best for their team members.
With the shift towards remote working, managers need to rethink how to promote sustainable and healthy ways of working. There are new social, practical, and emotional considerations that must be factored in to guarantee the well-being of remote workers. This recalibration may be challenging for managers initially, but if worker well-being is to remain a priority, such adjustments are needed.