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What Remote Workers Really Want

Though the COVID-19 pandemic has forced our hand, remote work has skyrocketed and is likely to continue to do so.

In fact, a Gartner survey of company leaders found that 80% plan to allow employees to work remotely at least part of the time after the pandemic, while 47% have said they will allow employees to work full-time from home.

Knowing remote work is still going to be increasingly common for the foreseeable future, there are somethings to keep in mind when it comes to what remote workers really want (and expect) from their employers and teams:

1. To still feel like part of the team.

Company culture is huge, as is talk around it. Shifting employees to remote work shouldn't change that! Whether it's Zoom catch-ups, in-person happy hours (once safe), or another creative solution, the connection remote workers have to their companies and organizations should be kept strong through active and intentional efforts.

2. To not be micromanaged and to be trusted.

It's safe to say productivity and someone lurking over your shoulder (whether in-person or virtually) don't necessarily go hand-in-hand. Giving remote workers the opportunity to do the work they're supposed to do—when they're supposed to do it—shows you trust them and their abilities. Because if you really didn't, why did you hire them in the first place? However, if performance or outcomes begin to suffer, an intervention is certainly needed.

3. To have the necessary resources and materials to be successful.

As much as we all wish we had the answers to everything, we're not mind readers. At least I'm not! Though technology allows us to shoot off quick messages and emails, it's not necessarily the same as having an actual conversation if there's a lingering question or issue. In order for projects and day-to-day work to be a shining success, employers should be sure their teams have what they need to do their jobs—whether that means providing physical materials and software, information and content, or access to the people who they're collaborating with. The last thing you want is your team to feel like they're floating in space!

4. To feel valued and respected.

This one seems like a given—it's what we all expect anyway! However, the difference with remote work is that the office overlaps with the home, making it difficult at times to truly be "done" working for the day or week. Very rarely is someone truly accessible 24/7. Be sure to establish proper work hour boundaries with your team and make it clear if/when they may be called upon to be available outside of that window. Not giving remote workers the opportunity to decompress and check out is a recipe burnout. Being respectful of everyone's time is a sure way to gain respect in return.

Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for Groups Today.


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