After nearly a full year after the pandemic struck, working from home presents unique challenges that don't always have streamlined solutions.
According to the Harvard Business Review, common challenges include limited or reduced face-to-face supervision, social isolation, and distractions around the home. Additionally, we are finding that more and more workers are going out of their way to increase their visibility while working remotely.
Adapting to remote work.
A recent Joblist survey of over 1,000 remote workers and managers analyzed how they're adjusting to the pressures of getting noticed while WFH. The study looked over the strategies employees are implementing to make sure they stay visible and discovered a majority are feeling overlooked in their new work-from-home normal. From the survey:
1. Most work-from-home employees are feeling unnoticed. While some employees felt just slightly or moderately overlooked, more than a third of people working from home during the pandemic said they felt either very or extremely invisible. Women were more than twice as likely as men to feel extremely invisible to their employers while working from home. A majority of people working from home, more than 3 in 4, agreed that it takes extra effort to get noticed during the Covid-19 pandemic.
2. Employees are getting less time with the boss. Not commuting into the office means less face time between employees and managers. Even with a barrage of Zoom calls, the average length of time an employee goes without talking to their manager is 6.1 days. The gaps in time can be detrimental for remote teams, and it's recommended that successful managers build standing check-ins with their employees on a daily basis, either via email, chat, call, or video.
3. It's hard to set boundaries while working remotely. Sixty-four percent of people report working extra hours while working remotely during the pandemic, and on average, they're putting in an extra 4.6 hours per week. Whether we like it or not, studies show working remotely leads to longer workweeks and more time spent in meetings as teams struggle to build communication rhythms while being so far apart.
4. Employees feel inspired to do better work when their bosses recognize what they're doing. Employees who don't feel invisible while working remotely are more likely to perform better. They're also more likely to be satisfied with their productivity (82 percent), more likely to be satisfied with levels of engagement (69 percent), and more likely to be satisfied with job security (68 percent).
Manager strategies to increase visibility.
Talking to just the managers, the Joblist study next looked into the actions they've taken to accommodate the changes in visibility structures. From the study:
1. Provide your teams with the tools they need for success. According to managers, the top three most effective ways for employees to remain visible are offering new ideas (50.4 percent), helping colleagues with work (44 percent), and volunteering for a task or opportunity (42.6 percent).
2. Make time for purposeful connections. Making time to listen and connect with employees is one of the most important aspects of ensuring they feel valued for the work they're doing, especially while working remotely. This can include answering questions and reviewing performance, listening to new ideas, or helping employees implement new strategies.
3. Support communication preferences. Everyone has different communication preferences, and that includes how they connect digitally. Video calls may not always be the right solution, so consider chat channels or email communication as a way to bridge the divide created by telecommuting.
4. Set a routine and be consistent. Once you know how to communicate digitally and have tapped into your employees' ideas, set a cadence for these touchpoints and stick with it. Rescheduling calls or meetings at the last minute can send the signal that meeting with your employees isn't an important part of your day or job.
A majority of employees see the value in making sure their work is seen and recognized by their managers, even if they aren't already going out of their way to do so. With so many people working from home feeling invisible in some capacity to their teams, those who are making an effort to draw attention to their work are seeing success from those efforts.