Could Remote Work Transform Employee Engagement for Your Company?
From refreshing remote work policies to adopting new hiring practices, we look at lessons learned from our leaders during the pandemic.
The pandemic’s most visible impact was the sharp increase in employees working remotely. For many companies, this shift in work style served as the proof of concept that businesses needed to implement permanent changes that would last far beyond the pandemic.
Companies such as SAP, Spotify, and Apple all adopted remote work during the pandemic, with many continuing to do so afterward. As workplaces began to reopen, business owners faced a new dilemma: what work culture to implement post-pandemic.
Portfolio+ and Andar Software, two vertical market software firms at Volaris, share their insight into how remote work can help build resilience into company operations, and how they keep employees engaged.
Revamping Remote Work Policies
Many business owners faced the challenge of rapidly transitioning employees to remote work at the beginning of the pandemic. As this work style was implemented, it became clear that many employees preferred remote/hybrid work styles and that many would not want to return to the old way of working.
Portfolio+ CEO, Dianne Cupples, said “About 30% of our team said they’d prefer to only come into the office one to three days a week. Most employees indicated that they would love to continue to work remotely unless they needed time in-person to collaborate on a project or a solution.”
This sentiment was mirrored in business across Europe with 66% of employees across 29 different countries thinking employers should allow for more flexible working in the future. Cupples’ employee feedback was enough for her to start working on a remote work policy that held employees accountable for the work they did rather than where they did it. Portfolio+ have adopted a hybrid approach, maintaining an office space for team meetings, flexible collaboration space, or simply for those who prefer it as a work location.
Refining Employee Engagement Strategies
The next step for business owners is to translate this new and distinct culture and operating style into remote working styles.
“I think the pandemic has made the work environment more personal, requiring leaders to be emotionally intelligent and compassionate in all interactions with team members and customers,” says Cupples.
Through virtual weekly all-hands calls, Cupples and her leadership team can check in on employees while remaining completely transparent about company performance and strategy.
Andar Software’s leadership team used to gather the company in Markham for an all-hands meeting once a year, which employees looked forward to because it provided them with face-to-face time. Veening is currently attempting to strike the appropriate balance between virtual and in-person engagement, calculating how frequently the team should meet and what remote touchpoints make sense.
Remote Work Offers An Edge In Recruiting And Keeping Talent
Since the pandemic, remote working has arguably transformed from a benefit to a requirement. Remote work is very appealing to post-pandemic talent, with 72% of HR professionals believing that flexible working is a key factor in their industry and recruitment. This is an opportunity to seize, as companies can begin to prioritise skill over location.
Portfolio+ hired several new employees in cities outside of the Greater Toronto Area, which they would never have considered before. Andar Software’s policy of allowing employees to work remotely has allowed them to stay with the company regardless of where their lives have taken them post-pandemic. Hilary German, Andar’s Director of Marketing, recently moved to her dream home in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Businesses cannot only attract but retain valuable, skilled talent by allowing employees to pursue their own personal goals without jeopardising their professional ones.
“Toronto is a great city, but owning a home there was out of reach. Remote work has been essential for helping me achieve my personal goals without sacrificing my professional goals or being tied to an office location. Having the flexibility to move to Halifax and work remotely for Andar is a dream come true,” said German.
According to a study conducted by Owl Labs, 89% of European companies plan on having a hybrid workforce post-pandemic, with 92% of European organisations likely to explore other progressive workplace policies post-pandemic.
In the face of the pandemic, businesses and governments demonstrated extraordinary adaptability, flexibility, and innovation. In our post-pandemic world, they can now do the same to retool the workforce in ways that lead to a more promising future of work for all.
Could remote work transform employee engagement for your company?