It’s a given fact that employers have a duty of care to all employees, including Lone Workers. It's the responsibility of employers to ensure that the mental and physical well-being of all of their employees are cared for, especially since there is a growing number of employees silently suffering from mental and physical illnesses. According to the World Health Organization, over 264 million people suffer from depression and anxiety, which can gravely affect their productivity and performance. Both depression and anxiety have a great economic impact, amounting to US$ 1 trillion per year in lost productivity.
Fortunately, there are many simple ways employers can look after their employees. Pain Free Working explains that surveys have found that simple things work best to help them increase their productivity. Office workers enjoy having the ability to personalize their workspaces and work in places with natural light and better air quality. While it is easy to check on in-house employees and apply policies that will safeguard their mental and physical well-being, it becomes a challenge for employers when it comes to lone workers because they can’t exactly provide these things.
That being said, employers must look for ways to make lone workers feel included, and there are multiple ways to do this. For starters, employers can have meaningful conversations with the employees about the risks of working alone and, together, come up with plans to mitigate said risks.
Here are some more tips that employers can follow to make remote employees feel included and cared for:
Have steady communication
One simple yet easily overlooked tip is steady and open communication. With how advanced technology is today, it's very easy to maintain informal conversations and, in turn, a better connection with your lone workers. Forbes highlighted how using collaborative software like Slack or even a closed Facebook Group can help employees get to know each other, inspire one another, and also spark each other's creativity.
Remember to include and recognize them
Your remote employers may not be with you in the office every day, but they are gravely affected by every project you take on and every decision you make. When under a tight schedule, it is all the more important to ask for their participation and opinion. The same principle also applies to every company celebration. Additionally, while it is easy to give recognition to an onsite employee, say during breaks, you have to take the time to find an opportunity to recognize remote employees in front of their peers to keep their morale and spirits up.
Have longer one-on-ones
Since moments that build rapport are scarce for remote workers, as an employer, you can make up for this by having longer one-on-ones. Business2Community suggests arranging weekly team calls to help your workers feel that they're still part of a team despite working alone. For even better results, set up a schedule where you spend at least a full hour of your time talking to each remote worker every week and make sure that you ask remote-specific questions. It also pays to ask questions about their career paths and listen to their goals and aspirations. Offer advice and, if possible, work together to find ways through which your company can help them achieve their long-term and short-term goals.
It's no secret that employees work harder when they know the company appreciates them, and making your remote workers feel looked after could mean the difference between developing a long-term professional relationship with them and just being another "for-the-meantime" job. It may be hard to find ways to recognize their achievements at first, but luckily you can use specialized platforms to make this process easier.