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Remote Work

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Our Hybrid Future: Strategies to Enhance Performance

Our Hybrid Future: Strategies to Enhance Performance Our Hybrid Future: Strategies to Enhance Performance

There have been many challenges and benefits from the forced global experiment. One thing for certain — there is no going back to the way things were.

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In our recent webinar, Reading the (Virtual) Room: Strategies to enhance digital communication, we explored how our world has forever changed since March 2020 with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. Overnight, there was a massive global shift in where and how we work, communicate, connect, and collaborate. Now that we are entering the third year and the endemic stage, we’ll start to see a massive shift to a hybrid work future.  

A Global Shift

In the hybrid future, some will work at HQs, offices, or busy facilities, some gather at smaller offices or co-working facilities, and many will remain fully remote. Even the staff with access to offices and facilities will be working remotely several days a week, and most will be working with flexible hours. The future is going to be messy.  

There have been many challenges and benefits from the forced global experiment. One thing for certain — there is no going back to the way things were.

While flexible, remote, and hybrid work was once seen as a privilege, it is now seen as a right. Organizations that embrace our hybrid future will be the future winners.

The Great Reset

Success will come down to mastering organizational culture, workplace experience, and effective communication. Those who get it wrong will see it reflected in their performance and profits.

Even now, we see the adverse effects of the pendulum swinging too far to all remote all the time: burnout, low engagement, and a massive wave of resignations. We need to embrace the challenges ahead to reframe the great resignation, to the great reset.  

The benefits of working from home are many for society, business, and the individual.

Businesses benefit from operational cost savings, a wider talent pool, the ability to retain older and more experienced employees, more motivated employees, fewer sick days, and more productivity.

Employees benefit from more autonomy, flexibility, work-life balance, and healthier well-being.

Society benefits from a lower carbon footprint, higher labor force participation, and equity for individuals with disabilities.  

There are also many disadvantages, from heavy investment in telecommuting technologies and IT security, to resistance from some workers to these technology changes. Not to mention, technological and interpersonal communications challenges, loss of human and organizational connection, and coordination and collaboration difficulties.

Individuals see the extremes of all remote all the time manifesting as loneliness, stress, inability to unplug, and effects on training, coaching, and in-person collaboration — all negatively affect career advancement opportunities.

All things considered, the jury is in.

In a recent survey by both Gallup and McKinsey & Company, 52% of workers indicated they want a more flexible work environment going forward, with the ability to work 1 to 4 days in the office. As a result, 9 out of 10 businesses are saying they will adopt a hybrid workplace model in the future.

The office will evolve into collaboration centers with shared resources, communication hubs, and quiet areas to improve connections, enhance innovation, and drive collaboration and performance.

So how do we succeed in this hybrid future? Adaptability, fluid communication, and the ability to read the room will be key to connecting with remote and in-person team members, clients, and partners.  

Transforming Communication

Our digital body language will be more important than ever to help us through this shift. Our digital body language is not just how we act or are perceived online in a video conference, but also in the way we use all digital communications; from chat tools (Teams, Slack), collaboration tools (Asana, Trello), specialty communication tools (Lattice, Kudos), to email, text, and even the phone. 55% of communication is visual, 38% is based on tone, and only 7% is what you hear. 

In the book Digital Body Language, How to Build Trust and Connection No Matter the Distance, Erica Dhawan highlights several things you need to keep in mind when communicating:

  • Know your audience; are you connecting with a digital adapter or a digital native? 
  • Be mindful of your style; consider how others might receive the tone and content of your message. Consider your punctuation; some mediums or audiences may call for informal format, rather than formal
  • Choose the correct channel; consider the complexity and urgency of your message

Erica also recommends that you set explicit communication standards. What was once implicit in the office now needs to be explicit in a hybrid workplace, where many, if not all of your team members are online and using technology to communicate, coordinate, and collaborate.  

Erica wraps up the essentials of communication in our brave new world as follows: 

  • Value Visibly - be attentive, aware, and show appreciation for others
  • Communicate Carefully - use the right channel, be straightforward in your words and expectations, read carefully, and write clearly
  • Collaborate Confidently - be explicit, use the correct channel, involve the right people, and be consistent
  • Trust Totally - give the benefit of the doubt, empower others, show vulnerability, and recognize others often for their efforts, contributions, and successes

Zooming In

So how does this translate to being your best on a virtual call?

  1. Greet people with a smile and a wave (the new online handshake).
  2. Look into the camera and make eye contact with your team or guests.
  3. Frame yourself confidently so your audience can see a strong posture.
  4. Use your hands to make gestures that enhance your communication. 
  5. Make sure you use good lighting, a quality camera, and an appropriate background.
  6. Think like a TV host, ask questions, and be sure to engage everyone.
  7. Be aware of potential meeting bias – online versus offline participants, extroverts vs. introverts, as well as cultural nuances.  
  8. Dress for success. Set the business standard.
  9. Be aware of your resting face; you may think it is neutral, but it can often look contemptuous, unfriendly, or angry. Consider sending comfort signals (detailed below).

On the other hand, it’s important to observe what others’ body language is telling you. Mark Bowden and Joe Navarro, authors of “Truth and Lies, What People Are Really Thinking” and “What Every Body is Saying,” are two top experts on reading body language. Their insights can help you read the room, and avoid miscommunication.

Five simple signs that people are comfortable, absorbing, or agreeing with your message:

  1. Duchenne smile – represents a warm and authentic connection. 
  2. The head tilt – means they are engaged and listening intently.
  3. The eyebrow flash – shows curiosity, familiarity, and engagement.
  4. Eye contact and slower blink rate – means they are attentive and interested.
  5. Authentic Mirroring – Shows agreement and a desire to connect, and that they like you.

In contrast, here are a few body language signs of discomfort or disagreement you should be aware of:

  1. Biting a lip – indicates that a person is physically stopping themselves from saying something or holding back feelings.
  2. Fidgeting – indicates boredom or under-stimulation.
  3. Neck rubbing – indicates that a person is feeling insecure or stressed.  
  4. Wrinkled nose – indicates disdain and that something does not pass the smell test.
  5. Pursed lips – may indicate tension, frustration, or disapproval.
  6. Wringing or rubbing hands –  indicates that a person is feeling stress, nervousness, frustration, or anxiety.
  7. Closing or covering eyes – indicates that a person is troubled, frustrated, or struggling with something emotionally.

Being aware of your own signals and observing others can help you avoid communication breakdowns. Preparing for meetings goes beyond setting the agenda, being on time, and having your notes ready; it also means applying the knowledge outlined above to get your point across and build strong relationships.

Want to learn more? Watch our recent webinar, Reading the (Virtual) Room: Strategies to enhance digital communication.

I would love to know your thoughts, observations, and results if you put some of these ideas into practice.

You can find me on LinkedIn @wtshort  

Remote Work

5 min

5 min

Communication & Remote Work: Assess Your Skills

Communication & Remote Work: Assess Your SkillsCommunication & Remote Work: Assess Your Skills

High and steady levels of engagement should be prioritized at any organization. However, an ever-changing work environment has tested our ability to communicate effectively when working remotely.

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This article is part 4 of our 5-part Employee Engagement and Culture Checklist Series:

“Communication makes the world go round. It facilitates human connections, and allows us to learn, grow and progress. It’s not just about speaking or reading but understanding what is being said – and in some cases what is not being said.” -Richard Branson

In an ever-evolving work environment, communication is perhaps the best tool to keep engagement levels high and steady. For those who have made the shift to remote or hybrid work, our ability to communicate effectively has been tested.

The Importance of Communication in Employee Engagement

Employee engagement and communication are closely tied. The moments of connection, inclusion, and community created by strong lines of communication are invaluable to organizations.

Cultures of good communication aren’t easy to build and maintain, but they pay big dividends. By promoting open and consistent communication standards, organizations foster higher engagement levels – and keep in mind, highly engaged workforces are over 20% more profitable.

So, how do your communication skills measure up? Use the list below to assess how you’re doing and identify gaps in your remote-work communication toolkit.

1. Non-verbal Cues

The lack of non-verbal cues created by working in a remote setting can lead to miscommunication, defensiveness, and conflict. That said, there are some non-verbal cues still available, primarily via video calls. And while we are all aware of “Zoom-fatigue,” those video calls are essential to assess whether your message is being received.

Non-verbal cues also go beyond body language. Managers should take the time to interpret the tone of their employees' emails and messages to check for signs of distress, frustration, or burnout. Messages sent late at night, frequent errors, and a curt tone are some red flags to look for.

Finally, more overt actions or displays of disengagement like absenteeism or non-participation in meetings can be a red flag and a sign of a communication breakdown.

Ask yourself:

  • Do I monitor the wellbeing of my colleagues by reading non-verbal communication on video calls?
  • Do I assess the tone of voice in email and chat messages?

2. Access

Is your virtual door “always open?” Open-door policies are important whether you are in the office or remote. Sometimes your team needs to reach out outside of scheduled meetings and check-ins. In a survey conducted by Slack, 46% of remote workers believe the best managers are the ones who check in often. What’s more, a different study found that 84% of remote workers hide workplace concerns for a few days before informing higher-ups, and 47% admitted that they didn’t address issues for more than a week. With that said, it’s also important to set boundaries – you don’t need to be available 24/7 just because your office is your home. If a task needs your undivided attention, book that time in your calendar and set any messenger apps to “do not disturb,” and book other time slots to answer any questions that come up that day at a time that works for you.

Some managers address this by setting up “office hours” on Zoom where they sign into a Zoom room for an hour or two a week so their employees can pop in as needed to collaborate or ask questions.

Ask yourself:

  • Am I easily accessible to my team if they need me?
  • Do I answer instant messages or emails in a relatively timely manner?

3. Accountability

Accountability becomes even more critical in remote work environments. Without the visual cues that come with working in a shared space, your colleagues might be worried about your ability to meet an approaching deadline, especially if you haven’t communicated progress and/or have missed deadlines in the past. It's easy to give someone a quick nudge in the office's lunchroom, but it can feel intimidating to send a written message or email when working remotely.

The good news is, building trust and accountability in a virtual work environment is possible, according to Forbes. Some of their recommendations include: be predictable, be easy to read, support others, hold people accountable and tell the truth. For example, predictability by keeping expectations clear and consistent can help employees know what they need to do their job well.

Ask yourself:

  • Do I meet my deadlines?
  • Am I transparent about my progress on projects?

4. Personal Connection

According to Gallup, many remote workers are likely to feel adrift, lost, or forgotten in their new work environment. Companies are built on relationships, and while remote or distributed teams may be physically distanced, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be, or can’t be, tight-knit and supportive.

The key to building personal connections? Effort. While serendipitous water-cooler run-ins may be a thing of the past, for now, it’s still possible to create solid and meaningful relationships with colleagues if you make the time.

Ask yourself:

  • Do I take the time to have personal conversations with my colleagues to learn about personal news and any outside stressors affecting their work?
  • Do I check-in with my team on wellbeing and job satisfaction?
  • Do I celebrate my team’s birthdays, work anniversaries, and special life events?

5. Clear Expectations

According to David Maxfield, managers who are explicit with their expectations have happier teams that can deliver results. Specificity is critical in remote settings so that employees can get to work independently without waiting for guidance. Instructions like “let’s do this sooner rather than later” or “let’s talk next week” can be stressful and confusing, especially for remote workers who can’t just pop their head into your office for advice.

Ask yourself:

  • Am I clear about what I expect from my team?
  • Do I communicate clear timelines and next steps?

6. Individualization

One of the keys to engaging employees is meeting their individual needs and tailoring their work experience to their preferences. The global pandemic left many workers caring for children and elderly parents during work hours – offering flexible work schedules can help ease the burden for them.

Generational preferences should also be considered, with millennials typically preferring email or chat over phone calls, and Gen X or Boomers typically preferring a traditional phone calls over a video conference. Regardless, it’s essential to take the time to understand your team’s preferences and accommodate them whenever possible.

Ask yourself:

  • Do I know my team’s communication preferences?
  • Am I considerate of other people’s time? If someone has a packed calendar, do I book their last remaining 30-minutes, or do I find a day when they have fewer meetings?

7. Recognition

A strong culture of recognition helps drive employee engagement and performance. Regularly communicating recognition is vital in a remote-work environment. When employees aren’t physically together, it can be easy to get caught up in daily tasks and forget to recognize a job well done. It doesn’t have to be complicated – a Deloitte study found that 85% of employees simply want a thank you (vs. a gift or celebration.)

A robust recognition platform like Kudos streamlines recognition across an entire organization. Peers can recognize and thank each other for great work, and managers can recognize their employees and spotlight their contributions for the organization to see.

Ask yourself:

  • Am I providing regular, meaningful recognition to my employees and colleagues?

8. Company Communication

Finally, communication and direction from executives and leaders must be considered and factored into any kind of communication review. Company news and successes should be communicated transparently and freely to keep employees informed and included. According to a report by PRovote (formerly The Holmes Report), companies with effective communication strategies have 47% higher returns to shareholders, more engaged employees, and less employee turnover.

Gallup’s Q12 framework is an excellent place to start when building a broad employee communication strategy. Gallup has identified 12 foundational elements of employee engagement, and using this framework as a guide, leaders can tailor communications to meet their employee’s common questions and needs. Some of the twelve elements include:

  • Q2: I have the materials and equipment to do my work right
  • Q5: My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person
  • Q8: The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel like my job is important

Ask yourself:

  • Does my organization have a clear communication strategy?
  • Do my leadership team’s communication efforts reflect the 12 elements of the Gallup Q12 employee engagement framework?

If you answered yes to most of the questions – congratulations! You have exceptional communication skills and are setting your team up for success in a remote work environment.

If this assessment made you realize that there are some gaps in your communication skills - don’t be discouraged. Everyone is still adapting to the changes 2020 brought; it’s important to be patient with yourself and focus on minor improvements every day.

With that said, communication is vital in understanding what remote workers need to perform their job today, which could be different from what they needed six months ago and will likely look different six months from now. Continuously assessing and improving your communication skills is the key to fostering a thriving and engaged workforce.

Remote Work

5 min

5 min

8 Creative Employee Appreciation Day Ideas

8 Creative Employee Appreciation Day Ideas8 Creative Employee Appreciation Day Ideas

Here at Kudos, we think employees should feel recognized every day, but it never hurts to make your team feel extra special on this important day.

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Every year, the first Friday of March is Employee AppreciationDay – what do you have planned?

Here at Kudos, we think employees should feel recognized everyday, but it never hurts to make your team feel extra special on this important day.

Whether you manage a large in-office staff or an agile, distributed team working remotely worldwide, one of the ideas below should work for you.

Why Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day?

Employee Appreciation Day isn't necessarily a real holiday, but you should still celebrate it.

Even small gestures on Employee Appreciation Day can boost team morale, increase employee engagement, and drive individual and corporate performance. In other words, anything you can do to make your employees feel valued and appreciated will pay big dividends.

Fortunately, celebrating your team doesn't have to be complicated. Keep reading to learn eight creative ideas for EmployeeAppreciation Day. We've also included remote alternatives for distributed and temporarily remote teams.

Let's dive in.

1. Spring for Lunch

What makes everything better? Good food.

Show your employees how much you value their contributions by hiring a caterer to cook a delicious meal your team can share.

If you want to take this Employee Appreciation Day idea to the next level, pair it with one of our other ideas below (#2 Bring in anEducational Speaker or #3 Get Out of the Office, would work well) and create a truly fantastic experience for your staff.

Remote Alternative: Send lunch to your team. Using a meal delivery service like Uber Eats, you can have lunch delivered to your team and enjoy it together virtually.

2. Hire an Educational Speaker

Your Employee Appreciation Day celebration can be fun and educational. Bring in an industry thought-leader to speak to your team. They'll enjoy the change of pace, the chance to level-up their skills, and opportunity to learn something new.

Remote Alternative: Rather than bringing in an educational speaker, have them deliver their knowledge via a video conferencing tool like Zoom. Alternatively, have some fun and book a comedian to brighten up everyone’s day. Remember that with people working from home, it can be hard to dedicate large blocks of time without getting pulled into distractions, so be sure to provide frequent breaks throughout the session and keep it to one-hour maximum.

3. Get Out of the Office

Did someone say field trip? While you might not be able to take your employees to a museum or concert right now, there are plenty of safe activities your team can enjoy while staying physically distanced, like going for a hike or visiting a park.

Remote Alternative: Instead of planning a team field trip, try a remote team scavenger hunt.

Come up with a list of ten things people can find in their homes or communities. Divide everyone into teams of two or three people who will work together over Zoom, FaceTime, or some other video calling app. Give everyone one hour to find as many items as possible from the list (ask everyone to take pictures with their phones).

Consider adding tasks like picking up and throwing away a piece of litter or some other good deed for an added dimension.

4. Plan a Volunteer Day

Most people want to do good for the world. A 2017 study found that 70% of working Americans think volunteering is a better way to raise team morale than company happy hours.Allow your employees to give back by scheduling a volunteer day.

You could, for example, find a way to support a local homeless shelter or senior living home. Or you could sign up to plant trees, partner with Meals on Wheels, or walk dogs. Ask your team what causes they'd like to support or schedule volunteer work that aligns with your company values.

Remote Alternative: Remote teams probably won't be able to volunteer together. But that doesn't mean they can't volunteer at all. Allow each of your employees to take an afternoon off to assist a local charity of their choice. If physical distancing is required, one great option is to provide pro-bono professional support to local charities, which could be anything from designing a new website to calling their list of potential donors.

5. Host a Pet Introduction Session

Here's a wild idea: host a pet introduction session at the office and allow your staff to introduce their furry companions to their colleagues on Employee Appreciation Day. It will be fun for all involved and help reduce their stress.

Of course, this idea must be handled with care. You certainly don't want an employee's pup making a mess on the office floor, and you should be mindful of people’s allergies. But if you can make it work, it's a great way to show your team that you appreciate them and care about their lives outside of work.

Remote Alternative: Host a pet introduction party via Zoom. Spouse and kid introductions are also welcome.

6. Plan a Guided Meditation Event

Life is hectic and stressful, which is why hiring a professional to guide your team through a meditation session is one of our top EmployeeAppreciation Day ideas.

While it may sound simple, a guided meditation could help your employees wash away months of anxiety related to tight deadlines and long commutes. Trust us – your team will appreciate the chance to relax.

Remote Alternative: Guided meditations are easy to host via Zoom for remote teams. Ask your team to log on at a specific time and let your meditation guide help them relax from their home offices.

7. Choose a Subscription Box

The subscription box industry has exploded in recent years. Do your employees like wine and cheese? There's a box for that. Do they own pets?There are boxes for that, too. Whatever your team is into, there's undoubtedly a subscription box that will cater to them. Here is an extensive list of options to check out.

You probably don't plan to pay for the subscription box for an extended period. Let your team know exactly how long their subscription lasts and how they can extend it themselves if they would like.

Remote Alternative: Subscription boxes also work for most distributed teams — unless you manage employees who live in areas the subscription box service doesn't deliver to. In this case, consider a unique digital subscription to a service like Masterclass or Udemy.

8. Publicly Recognize Your Team

Finally, celebrate your team with one of the easiest and most impactful Employee Appreciation Day ideas: giving meaningful and memorable public recognition. Work with your management team to make sure every single employee is recognized. Better yet, have a celebrity tell your team how proud you are of them via a Cameo video.

We all want recognition for our hard work. By posting about your team on social media or using a tool like Kudos® to celebrate individual team members in front of their peers, you'll show your staff that you genuinely appreciate their efforts.

Remote Alternative: No need for an alternative here!Public recognition, whether it comes in the form of company social media posts or via Kudos, works just as well for distributed teams as it does for in-office staff.

Celebrate Your Employees

Employee appreciation is crucial to your company's success.While we absolutely recommend celebrating Employee Appreciation Day this comingMarch, we also encourage you to recognize your team for their outstanding contributions every day.

Remote Work

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5 min

6 Tips to Avoid Burnout in the Virtual Workplace

6 Tips to Avoid Burnout in the Virtual Workplace6 Tips to Avoid Burnout in the Virtual Workplace

As more organizations keep their work from home policy, it's important to consider that burnout can still occur. Here are 6 tips to avoid remote burnout.

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It's clear that remote work has created many opportunities for people to do more. Avoiding a long commute in the morning, not dealing with rush hour traffic, making sure you're home to receive that important package, are a few examples. However, as remote work is on the rise to become the new normal, it's important to remember that many organizations are still learning the proper techniques to manage their team. While organizations figure that out, employees run the risk of feeling isolated and lonely, sending them to a burnout stage regardless of the location they're at.

So, we thought we would share some suggestions on how to prevent burnout in this virtual, work-from-home era.

1. You have time off, take it!

Did someone say staycation? Yes, you are working from home, and yes, your vacation buddy is probably your five-year-old, or the roommate you found on Craigslist, but you were given vacation time… so don’t be afraid to use it! It’s time to detach from work, it’s time to reset and recharge so you can keep being your awesome productive self!

We understand pressure can come from your leaders, but that’s why we talk about the importance of communication below.

2. If you’re sick, don’t work

According to a report by Robert Half, 57% of employees sometimes go to work while sick and 33% always go to work while sick.

Sheesh, that’s 90% of workers who have admitted to this. This is no joke. And presenteeism is just as likely to occur remotely as well. If we are willing to overwork our bodies when we are unwell, burnout is inevitable. So, this is a reminder that even though you may already be at home, taking that time to rest when we are sick can ensure that you stay in the game for the long haul.

3. Communicate more

As it is often said, there is no such thing as over-communication. If you are at risk of burnout, get ahead of it by talking to your leader or team to make them aware that there may be a problem. Then work out a solution to distribute your workload or, potentially, get time off. Being proactive is key.

Along with communication comes setting boundaries. To reduce the pressure of working into the evening, let your team know when your workday ends. Just because we are at home, does not mean we always have to be online. Closing your laptop for the day is the same as leaving the office, and it’s 100% okay to do so.

4. Avoid call exhaustion

Yes, I know I just preached communication, but sometimes those Zoom calls every hour on the hour can drain us and contribute to burnout. And we all know some of the calls could be emails. But if your calls are mostly with your team, find ways to discuss reducing the number of video calls with them and your leaders. Try to reduce call time by setting a clear agenda for each call.

If that isn’t possible, the Harvard Business Review gives us some tips on how to reduce video call fatigue.

From avoiding multitasking on calls to reducing screen stimuli (including staring at your own beautiful face... I’m guilty), these are sure to help your eyes from doing the inevitable glaze-over every once in a while.

5. Rethink engagement

The pandemic and our new work environment have a lot of companies pausing and reflecting on productivity and engagement. If you are finding yourself disconnected from your team or you are finding your employees are not as engaged, it might be time to discuss and rethink your engagement strategy.

We talk about a lot about employee engagement strategies here at Kudos (get seven awesome engagement tips here, for example). And many of the strategies we advocate – like letting employees own their tasks, communicating regularly, setting clear but realistic goals, and making it clear that your organization cares about the well-being of your team members –  seem especially relevant in the present circumstances.

Our own Kudos platform also seems especially relevant in the remote work world. (We couldn’t talk employee engagement without a quick shout out to ourselves, right?)

Kudos encourages positive and proactive behavior, and alignment with your core values, through real-time peer-to-peer recognition. It also enables efficient and effective communication, which is especially vital right now.

Focusing on employee engagement can help your remote employees stay connected to one another, realize their work doesn't go unnoticed, and keep everyone on the same page and aligned towards company goals – even when you’re apart.

When you have a solid engagement plan, it is more likely presenteeism and burnout will become things of the past.

6. Practice self-care and compassion

If you are feeling disengaged from work, using those personal days, being honest with your employer and employees, and recognizing when things get to be a little too much can help ease the load you feel both physically and mentally. Ultimately, your health comes first, and we must remember to check in with ourselves.

AND... leaders, now is the time to show compassion and empathy. We all want that well-oiled productive machine that is on point all the time, but that machine can’t function properly when its parts are burned out and disengaged.

To learn more about employee engagement, check out our other resources, or connect with us in the chatbot below!

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5 min

Diversity Business Partner for Google Cloud on Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity Business Partner for Google Cloud on Diversity and Inclusion Diversity Business Partner for Google Cloud on Diversity and Inclusion

Many people having "aha" moments on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) after the pandemic affected everyone differently. However, the pandemic also created many opportunities for leadership to increase DEI awareness and implementation.

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We were very thrilled to have Cornell Verdeja-Woodson, a Diversity Business Partner for Google Cloud, on the WFH show. The following is an abbreviated version of Cornell’s conversation with our host Nikki Weisgarber. Hear the complete podcast.

Please tell us a bit about your background.

I actually just moved to California, so I'm new to tech. My background is in education. I have a master's degree in higher education. I did diversity-related work for over 10 years in education and moved to tech about a year and a half ago, helping tech organizations really develop their diversity initiatives in order to be able to impact the world in a larger way.

How does working remotely foster greater workplace diversity and inclusion?

It's really opening people's eyes to the things that they take for granted every single day. It’s so important because there are folks who don't have the opportunity to do a lot of the things that some of us are used to, like to go out to brunch, for example. I work from home most of the time anyway, but I really miss being able to go to brunch – being able to get out there.

However, what people are witnessing, is that brunch is far from what most people are concerned about. There are a lot of people who don't have a job anymore because their work can't be done from home. There are some people who still have to go to work and risk catching COVID-19 because if they refuse to go to work, it means they’ll lose their job.

“[COVID] is really opening people’s eyes to how other people navigate the world – and where privilege really lies – and how some people can benefit from their class, their socioeconomic class, their race, their gender… A lot of people are having ‘aha’ moments.”

This is really impacting people differently. And I think for many of us, it's really opening people’s eyes to the ways in which other people navigate the world – and where privilege really lies, and how some people can benefit from their class, their socioeconomic class, their race, their gender, and things of that sort. A lot of people are having “aha” moments (which my work is so steeped in) by being forced to work from home and not being able to go outside and do the things that they want to do.

I have found myself overcome with emotion because I was so selfish in that first week of remote work. And then I thought, "What's the problem here? Other people are experiencing much worse circumstances.” I've reflected on that, and I am going to act differently going forward.

You really hit on something good, right? I'm finding that most people, when it comes to DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) stay away from those aha moments out of fear of what that means. Maybe they are thinking that before "I wasn't a good person," or, "I wasn't a humble person, or someone who thought of others." But no, you had a certain vantage point. You had a certain way of living that you understood. And it's hard to know how other people live until you're presented with an opportunity to be educated. So, the fact that you're thinking, "Whoa, I'm taking that information. I'm going to do some things differently now that I know." That's what we're working towards. That's what makes this an amazing experience.

Tell us about how you make sure that all your employees are engaged during this time, especially those that are from backgrounds that are often overlooked in meetings or events or just in their daily lives?

Absolutely. When it comes to these kinds of things, it's really important to note that everyone needs something different when it comes to engagement. So, we need to ask what the different groups that exist within the organization on our teams are, and what might each of those groups need.

“We're encouraging our managers to be patient, to be kind, and most importantly, to ask questions. Most of the time folks from underrepresented and marginalized backgrounds aren't going to advocate for themselves.”

Folks who struggle with mental health, what might they need in this moment? Folks who have children, folks who take care of aging parents, or things of that sort. We need to ask what they need in this moment to make sure they know that we're here for them.

We're encouraging our managers to be patient, to be kind, and most importantly, to ask questions. We find that most of the time folks from underrepresented and marginalized backgrounds aren't going to advocate for themselves. They're not going to say, "Hey, I have four children, and I'm a single parent," or, "My spouse actually has to go to work, so I'm home with the kids." They're not going to advocate for themselves out of fear of how that might look on them. Women, in particular, will not advocate for themselves for that reason, especially if they're in engineering roles or sales roles, because they don't want to be seen as the weakest link.

So, it's really important for managers to step up and say, "Hey, I know you have needs. Let me know what those are so I can be here and show up for you and create the space for you to take care of what you have to take care of, so you can show up in a major way at work knowing that personal things are being taken care."

Do you have any advice for employees with those needs on how they can communicate to their managers – especially if their managers aren't reaching out to them?

First, I want to acknowledge how difficult that can be – depending on the culture and climate of your organization. If you're in an organization where you have one-on-ones with your manager (and go ahead and request one if they’re not pre-scheduled), use that time to just say, "Hey, I really want to be able to do my best work. And right now there are some things outside of work that are really pressing for me, that are going to inhibit my ability to really be successful in the work that I have to get done." And then outline what is it that you need – and be very specific, because most times your manager is going to ask, "Okay, thank you for telling me. What do you need?" Be ready to provide what that looks like.

But I think that a lot of times managers want to know, "How are we making sure that the work still gets done and you still get what you need?" So, as the employee, a great way to approach it is to say, "Hey, I want to do my best work. Here's what I need in order to be able to do that."

“It's really important to note that everyone needs something different when it comes to engagement.”

I’d like to talk about the neurodiverse community. According to the CDC, 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls in the US are autistic. So how do we manage a remote workforce that is inclusive of those who are neurodiverse?

Neurodiversity is an under-discussed opportunity within diversity. Knowing that we potentially work with a lot of folks who fall under that umbrella, it's necessary for us, first, to know what neurodiversity even means. What does that look like? And then, from there, we're able to figure out how we create processes and systems of support to be able to allow them to function well and get the support that they need to do their job.

Understanding and awareness are always critical. Diversity education always gets a lot of flak. There are tons of articles that say, "Diversity training doesn't work." And, it's like, "Yeah, they don't work by themselves." So, awareness is super critical because the more I know, the better I can do – and the better decisions I can make. So, being able to understand and create space for people to self-identify as neurodiverse is vital.

“Being able to understand and create space for people to self-identify as neurodiverse is vital.”

We don't want people out there diagnosing others as neurodiverse because they learned about it through a magazine article. We need to create space for people to be able to say, "Hey, I'm someone who really needs this kind of support because of my neurodiversity, and here's what that looks like for me." Opening up the communication for people to be able to advocate for themselves is the best way you can support a large portion of people.

With organizations starting to see the viability of remote work, it opens doors to a larger talent pool. Let's talk about how this creates a greater opportunity to diversify our companies.

I think this is my favorite question, and my favorite topic coming out of this conversation around working from home. There are so many industries that really did not see working from home as a viable way to build teams and manage people and to get work done. But COVID-19 has really forced us to see that working from home – when done strategically and intentionally – can be a viable option for many people.

This opens our workforce to different people. For example, there are folks who don't have the resources to be able to travel back and forth into work or may not want to. I think of my time working in higher education, where we were trying to recruit people of color to some smaller towns that were usually predominantly white. And many people of color, particularly with children, don't want to move to a small town where it's predominantly white because they don't want to raise their kids in spaces where they're the one of five. And there are certain cultural things that people need in their town in order to feel at home. And so, if we open our workforce up to being more open to work-from-home options, now your talent pool opens up because people can live where they need to. Not to mention that remote work can limit the high price tag of relocating employees. Those factors can hinder where you can hire from and who you're willing to hire because you can't afford to help them move. But now, work-from-home options allow us to really connect with different demographics and people from all over the country to be able to maximize the talent that's really out there.

“Work-from-home options allow us to really connect with different demographics and people from all over the country to be able to maximize the talent that's really out there.”

Does the transition to remote work impact diversity initiatives?

It definitely does. For example, training. When it comes to diversity, training is often face-to-face. Many people will tell you that doing it virtually is not the best option because there are so many emotions that come out of talking about diversity. You want to be able to be there in a space with someone, to support them in that moment. But now we're being forced to really rethink, "Wow. We’ve got to get more creative and think about how diversity training translates in a virtual world – using the resources and the technology that are out there to make it just as engaging virtually as it was face to face."

The other thing is that we're helping people develop new skills. So, we're helping managers develop new skills of how to deal with conflict virtually. You know that 85% of our communication is nonverbal. If we're all on Zoom or Google Hangouts and folks have their cameras off, there's much more room for people to misinterpret or misunderstand what someone said. So now we're helping managers to really focus on conflict management skills, making sure that folks who traditionally are talked over in face-to-face meetings don’t also get talked over in virtual meetings.

We know that women often get interrupted and left out of conversations by their male colleagues. So how do we make sure that in a virtual world (where it's very easy to hide under the radar), managers are being very mindful of who's not talking? They should be asking "Who haven't I heard from?" and saying, "Hey, I want to open up this space for people who I haven't heard from already."

n I think the other thing from a DEI perspective of what will change is, unfortunately, that many companies will have to reprioritize their business goals and really pivot to something different. And, unfortunately, diversity initiatives can get pushed to the back burner when more pressing issues arise. For DEI professionals, it's really going to be important for us to make sure that we are making leaders aware that diversity is just as important, if not more important, today as it was before COVID-19.

“COVID-19 will be a test for whether or not the business case for diversity conversations actually worked.”

I've been telling people I think that COVID-19 will be a test for whether or not the business case for diversity conversations actually worked. Will leaders think on their own that, "Yes, we’ve got to get diversity in on this"? Or will they push us to the back, requiring us to really step up and say, "Uh-uh. You need us, and here's why"?

Have you experienced that?

No. So far, not at all. If anything, you see the messaging from other companies, and even my own, steeped in diversity. If anything, they recognize how inclusion is even more important for the reasons we talked about earlier, that people with significant identities of privilege are now going, "Whoa, this is what it feels like to be excluded." So now we're ramping it up, even more, to say, "This is the time to show up, to empathize, to be humble, and to be there for each other."

"This is the time to show up, to empathize, to be humble, and to be there for each other."

Everything that I've been reading on diversity and inclusion during this time says this is not the time to cut out any of these initiatives. This is the time to enhance them so that when we come out on the other side of all of this, it's still something that we're working on.

Exactly. And I think working from home will require new systems. And if we build those systems from the ground up with inclusion at the center, we're going to build it in a way that is equitable for all the people who need to be impacted by it.

And it's part of your culture, and your foundation too, right? If you don't have that foundation, it's going to crumble.

Exactly. And it's going to make it harder to fix down the line.

What might be the long-term impact of COVID-19 on diversity work?

I think the big thing is whether diversity work has the reach that we want it to have. I think this is the opportunity for diversity to expand its reach. And what I mean by expanding its reach is that, oftentimes, the best way to implement diversity initiatives is when they touch every aspect of the company: the product, human resources, the facilities, promotion, hiring, all of that. I think that this will be an opportunity for diversity, long term, to naturally seep its way into all those areas – and for us to not have such a hard time getting into those areas.

This could be a natural way for the professionals who are ready with the data, ready with the information, to say, "Look, here's why we need to be at that table having those conversations in those rooms. This is an impact that can really uplift diversity and inclusion initiatives in a major way."

The other thing is specifically around companies who are going to be laying people off. DEI professionals need to be a part of those conversations about how we do that equitably. We know that it has to be done, right? The money isn't there. We've seen some companies where, instead of laying people off, they've asked everyone to decrease their salary to make room for everyone else to be able to keep their job. So how are we a part of those conversations and how are we impacting how we make those decisions? Those are two big things that I think are really going to be top of mind for many companies and how DEI will be impacted in the long term.

Do you have any sort of final thoughts or takeaways that you'd like to leave our audience with?

I think this is a big opportunity for people in diversity roles to get ready to really center diversity around everything that's happening. We have to be ready for that. We have to be ready and have the courage to step up and say, "Hey, do not forget these DEI initiatives. And here's how they're connected, even as you pivot to different priorities because of COVID-19."

“This is a really great opportunity for allies to step up and recognize the differences in how COVID-19 has impacted different people.”

But if you're someone who's like, "I'm not in a diversity role, but this matters," or, "I'm just learning about this," I think that this is a really great opportunity for allies to step up and recognize the differences in how COVID-19 has impacted different people. It’s time to say to your company or organization, "What are we doing for this population?" Allies are so important for this conversation, and we need them now more than ever to use that identity privilege to step up and say, "Hey, we're not doing this right," or, "We could be doing this better. And let's do it now before it gets too bad and we can't fix it."

Remote Work

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Beyond WFH: Lessons and Actions for a Changing Workplace

Beyond WFH: Lessons and Actions for a Changing WorkplaceBeyond WFH: Lessons and Actions for a Changing Workplace

Beyond WFH, we've realized how resilient organizations, and all of humanity, can be.

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At Kudos, we strive to bring insights from a wide spectrum of leading experts, both from within our company and the wider community. This week we partnered with HR expert, Jerry Gratton. Jerry has also been a guest on our podcast, The Work From Home Show.

How has remote working been for your organization? Have you realized you are a part of the greatest workplace experiment of all time?

Think about it, a vast infrastructure and a whole way of working and gathering (hundreds of years in the making), abandoned in a matter of days. It’s wild.

Based on what I’ve heard from the majority of business leaders and their teams, we made it work. Yes, there have been stumbles. It has not been ideal. Too few lunches out. Too many days in sweatpants. But we’ve learned just how resilient our organizations (and all of humanity, frankly) can be.

Here are some thoughts on what we’ve learned and actions we can carry forward to create an even better workplace – no matter where that is.


Lesson: The WFH era has shown organizations which aspects of their culture really matter. Those organizations where the cornerstone of their culture is ping-pong tables and salad bars (those are perks not culture, by the way) are probably suffering more than those built around common values, aligned goals, sense of belonging, and recognition from leadership and peers.

Action: Identify and foster the aspects of your culture that you know are driving alignment and engagement. Ultimately, your people want to feel that they belong, know that their work matters, and that they will be recognized for it.

Working From Home

Lesson: I’ve been pleased by how many leaders have changed their opinion on this. Yes, WFH can mean WORK, from home. I have been leading remote teams for decades, so this is no surprise to me. In fact, purposefully led remote teams can actually be more productive than onsite teams.

Action: We’ll need to adjust our parameters of when and how often employees can work from home and what the approval process will be. More flexible work arrangements will be the new normal. If you hadn’t addressed this pre-pandemic, there is no excuse now. You’ll also have to think about what sort of physical and technological conditions (high-speed internet, and so on) you require and what sort of support (tech or otherwise) you’ll need to provide.

Sick Days

Lesson: The lower-than-expected infection rate during the pandemic has taught us how effective social distancing can be.

Action: Gone are the days of toughing out a cold or the flu at the office. The best sick policies will encourage, not penalize employees for making the decision to keep their germs to themselves. The best will also blend WFH and sick policies together to ensure we’re trusting our employees to decide what’s best for them and the organization.

Office Layout

Lesson: Ditto what I said above about social distancing, but applied to how we are when in the same physical space.

Action: When it comes to office layout – including workspaces and meeting rooms – think carefully about what it will take to make your employees feel safe and meet physical distancing regulations in your jurisdiction. At a minimum, you may need to look at staggering workdays (so not everyone is out/in on the same days). Hint: don’t stagger based on department, the last thing you need is for your entire finance team to be off sick because one member of the team tested positive, or just came in with a cold. Also, you may even need to think about eliminating desks.

Talent Acquisition

Lesson: If your team can work from anywhere, you can hire from anywhere.

Action: Issues like having team members in different time zones mean you’ll have to think about things like work hours/schedules that allow for collaboration across the whole organization.

Performance Measurement

Lesson: The best way to know if you can trust someone is to trust them. The WFH era has forced this paradigm on us; we’ve just had to trust our team members. And from what I’ve seen the results have been overwhelmingly positive.

Action: Capture that momentum – don’t lose it! Now is the time to implement changes in reporting and 1-to-1s that move towards managing results, not activity or facetime.

Connecting and Collaborating

Lesson: Weirdly, many people feel more connected because of the glimpses into each other's lives via video meetings.

Action: We can ensure that the connection doesn’t go away when we are together again. It can be as simple as starting your 1-to-1s with a check-in that includes non-work topics. The best leaders show their vulnerabilities and open up first. Show that you’re human; You get nervous and excited, and sometimes you procrastinate. Being transparent about your own struggles as a leader helps your team feel more at ease connecting with you about theirs.  

The Next Big Experiment

Can we create a better workplace – one that will marry the best lessons from both the WFH era and the traditional in-office experience? That will be the next big experiment, and I’m very optimistic.

Remote Work

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5 min

How Do We Engage Our Employees Through This?

How Do We Engage Our Employees Through This?How Do We Engage Our Employees Through This?

When the pandemic took hold in mid-March, we heard one urgent question: how do we keep our employees engaged through this?

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When the pandemic took hold in mid-March, we heard one urgent question: how do we keep our employees engaged through this?

Between the logistics of ensuring physical distancing, enabling work-from-home technology, and re-evaluating operating budgets and annual goals, came a question about people.

Not a question about their achievements, which is a common theme in recognition conversations, but about supporting people’s mental health.

A time for focusing on employee engagement

Of course, our clients are concerned about losing productivity, and we all know that a mentally healthy individual is more productive.

Our busy HR clients, who are typically asked to prioritize everything, are now urgently required to focus exclusively on employee engagement. Now, they have more time to develop exciting engagement programs that work for their businesses.

We found that most of our clients were looking for ways to support their staff through this uncertainty; to create happiness; to help people transition to a work-from-home routine; to support them while they balance their work and parental duties; to remain connected.

It was less about achievements and points, and more about in-the-moment appreciation. And most of all, hope.

Connection and mental wellness programs

Since COVID-19 took hold, our most popular programs are about connection and mental wellness.

Many clients introduced a gratitude practice across their organization that encourages people to take a few minutes to focus on positive interactions between colleagues.

From checking in on each other to making a child laugh during a meeting, or helping them solve a work problem – our Kudos users are a grateful bunch.

Some kicked off the gratitude practice by having their president or CEO send recognition to all staff to show their personal gratitude for the team’s resiliency during this time. Leaders provide examples like those noted above to illustrate that everyone feels seen and supported through this change.

Other organizations use the Spaces feature in Kudos to collect work-from-home tips, ways to connect with loved ones, or suggestions on local businesses to support.

Some encourage their employees to share a picture of their workspace, the new “colleagues” they now work alongside (2 or 4-legged versions), or a screenshot of the co-workers they are virtually connecting with.

What’s next?

In all cases, we recommend that businesses recognize team members who support each other and build a culture of resilience.

We encourage them to highlight messages that articulate the types of behaviours they want to encourage across their business, now, and once the pandemic passes.

Overtime, these practices will evolve into “normal” program planning, that combines appreciation with performance management and includes values and behaviours, and contests and prizes.

We want to make sure our clients and their employees are ready for the “new normal.”

Even more, we’re offering additional programs to help our clients transition back to office work, so they can continue building a culture of resilience, appreciation, and performance.

The world and how we work within it may be different once COVID-19 passes. Still, for businesses that encourage activities like the ones mentioned above, the change will be worth recognizing and celebrating.

Remote Work

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5 min

HR pros from Google, Drift and PandaDoc share #1 WFH tips

HR pros from Google, Drift and PandaDoc share #1 WFH tipsHR pros from Google, Drift and PandaDoc share #1 WFH tips

Over the past few weeks on our podcast, The Work From Home Show, we’ve had the opportunity to talk with some awesome HR pros from a variety of companies, including Google, Drift, and PandaDoc.

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Over the past few weeks on our podcast, The Work From Home Show, we’ve had the opportunity to talk with some awesome HR pros from a variety of companies, including Google, Drift, and PandaDoc. At the end of every episode, Nikki, our Work From Home Show host, asks our guest the same question: "What is your number one tip for working from home?" And here are the answers!

What's your number one tip for working from home?

Make a list, make a schedule, take breaks

-Cornell Verdeja-Woodson, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Google

I would say that one thing that helps me is getting up at the same time I would have when I was going into the office. Then I would map out what my day looks like. I have a list of the things I need to accomplish, and I get those done. So make sure that your day is still structured. It's very easy to be watching TV on the side – and that’s OK, but have it structured so you know that from 1 pm to 2 pm you can take a quick hour break to watch that latest episode of Judge Judy, and then come back.

Transition into your workday with an activity

-Robin Corralez, Global Vice President for Human Resources at Pandadoc

My number one tip is to start your day with a transition into work. Find something to do before you begin the workday. For example, I go for a walk with my daughter each morning. We bust out either a bike or a stroller and we go for a walk to decompress between getting out of bed and getting on the computer. There have been times where I roll out of bed and go straight to my computer, and I feel like there's no transition. Find a way to ease yourself into working; whether it's doing something physically active or mentally active. It's a good way to help you maintain your mental attitude and be refreshed each day. Hear the podcast.

Separate home life from work mode

-Dena Upton, Chief People Officer at Drift

Set a schedule and have a space where you go to work that is separate when you’re off the clock. Find somewhere you can go, mentally, to say “I'm in work mode right now,” or “I'm off right now.” It doesn't have to be a huge space, but even if it's just moving over to one section of the house. This means you're still bringing those routines and rituals into remote working that you would normally do if you were going to the office. Hear the podcast.

Give structure to your day

-Anette Ceraficki, HR manager for Getty Images

You have to figure out how to structure each day. It might look different if you have a family or if you have other commitments, but without structure you might work all day long. On certain days, I build in two hours to focus on specific projects because work time like that needs to be planned when we don't have a “work” environment to support it. Hear the podcast.

Connect with your team

-Jerry Gratton, Founder and CPO of Trailblaze Partners

My number one tip would be to make a schedule. The day can just sort of “go by” when you're at home. So, make a schedule and make sure that there's a lot of time for connecting with your team members. For those of us that like to be around people, that's the stuff that makes work actually work.

Just because you're working from home doesn't mean you have to be isolated. In your calendar, build lots of check ins with team members – and not just your leader. You have conversations at people's desks during the day when you're at the office, use video chat to do those kinds of things face to face. Hear the podcast.

Self care is important

-Michelle Berg, CEO of Elevated HR

Set boundaries. I feel guilty if I'm not giving enough time to work or I'm not giving enough time to my family. So, make sure you're still setting those boundaries when you're working from home. I tell my kids I'm working 8:00am to 5:00pm - after that, you have my full attention.

As a mom, don't forget to set time for you. Because it's not just about work, and it's not just about being a mom, self-care is so important right now and it's OK to be selfish. Hear the podcast.

Keep on moving

-Tom Morin, speaker, author, coach and consultant at Work Feels Good.

I have worked from home for a long time. It wasn't uncommon for me to not move from my computer for four or six hours, and when I get up to move, I would be in pain and stiff. I started setting alarms on my phone that go off every half an hour. Then when an alarm goes off, I’ll stand up – even if I have nothing to do. I'll go get a drink of water. I’ll bring in the garbage bins from the street. I’ll sweep off my deck. The number one work from home tip for me is to keep moving. Hear the podcast.

We hope these tips were useful. I mean, these people know what they are talking about! We know we enjoyed chatting with all of them and plan on implementing many of these tips ourselves! As we all go through this together, we are all discovering how to navigate these times both personally and professionally, and we hope these tips can help make this navigation a little smoother.

If you are interested in hearing more from these and other awesome HR pros, check out The Work From Home Show. We dig deeper into the challenges and benefits of working from home, and the strategies companies are using. We also talk about “what’s next,” to help you be ready for how the workplace may change in the post-COVID-19 world. Not to mention, you'll find out which shows these HR pros say are binge-worthy!

Remote Work

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6 Surprising Things To Know About Remote Workers

6 Surprising Things To Know About Remote Workers6 Surprising Things To Know About Remote Workers

Sure, remote work was mandatory for most of us in COVID-19 quarantine, but did you know that many people prefer working remotely? People working away from the office are often more productive – even happier.

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This blog was originally published in 2019, but we’re bringing it back. We think it’s a valuable and positive resource for businesses navigating the post-pandemic landscape.

Sure, remote work was mandatory for most of us in COVID-19 quarantine, but did you know that many people prefer working remotely? People working away from the office are often more productive – even happier.

So much so, that the number of remote workers has grown 115% since 2005. Today, more than 3.2% of the global workforce, or 4.3 million employees, work remotely.

That’s a mighty big leap for a working style once relegated to freelancers and those mysterious people in coffee shops hunched protectively over their laptops. It turns out they weren’t just writing the next greatAmerican novel - they were working remotely.

Studies show that remote work is now the norm. 43% of employees work remotely, and 51% are willing to move into roles that accommodate a more remote work-life balance.

What is remote work, exactly? Simply put, it's a working style that allows employees and teams to operate outside of traditional workplace settings, with an emphasis on working from any destination.

Whether part or full time, remote workers can finish their tasks without having to be in a set place with their coworkers. More employees are pushing for remote work opportunities, making it a key driver of recruitment and retention for many organizations.

According to Regus, increased productivity and improved work-life balance account for nearly 70% of employees’ reasons for wanting remote work opportunities.

Remote work may not suit everyone, but it is in demand.

There are six considerations to keep in mind before providing remote work opportunities.

1. Remote work opportunities are no longer ‘nice to have,’ they’re a ‘must-have’

Organizations can no longer ignore the modern workforce’s demands for remote work opportunities.

51% of employees would willingly change jobs or companies for those that offer more flexibility. Companies have little choice but to adapt to this reality.

Millennials are perhaps the greatest supporters of remote work.For example, studies find that 69% of millennials would trade other work benefits for more flexible work options.

"Millennials are perhaps the greatest supporters of remote work. For example, studies find that 69% of millennials would trade other work benefits for more flexible work options."

It’s not just existing employees that want flexible work styles, either. More people are searching for remote roles. On job search engines like Indeed, searches for remote roles have increased by 19% since 2017. These are search results from Canada alone.

Flexible work styles are primary considerations for millennials pursuing a career opportunity. 75% of millennials want remote work options – at least part of the time.

In a survey conducted by Buffer, an overwhelming 99% of respondents said they would like remote-work opportunities at least some of the time for the rest of their careers.

2. Employees aren’t the only groups who benefit from remote work

Surprisingly, remote work is beneficial for more than just employees and remote teams.

44% of companies don’t allow any form of remote work, but those that do often experience significant increases in productivity and retention.

Surveys show that companies that allow some form of remote work experience 25% less turnoverAgile workers, like remote employees, are 36% better equipped to meet changing customer demands; provide organizations with 34% more access to a broader range of skills and specialized talent; and offer 36% more general skills and expertise to organizations.

Increased productivity is also an incentive for organizations to offer remote work opportunities. OwlLabs finds that fully remote workers are twice as likely to be individual contributors to their organization than their managers. A similar study by Stanford University points to the benefits of remote work: improved job satisfaction, higher productivity, and an increased sense of autonomy.

3. Remote teams are engaged - sometimes, even more than their office counterparts

It may be hard to believe that remote workers are just as, if not more, engaged than their office-bound counterparts.

Regardless, research shows that remote employees are not only engaged and connected, but sometimes even more productive.

Gallup studies show that around 35% of remote workers are more engaged at least 20% of the time. In addition, 60% of an employee’s time spent working offsite results in higher engagement rates. Compared to working in-office, 58% of employees feel more motivated working remotely.

Those with the opportunity to work remotely at least a few times each month are also 24% more likely to feel happy and productive in their roles, compared to those without remote opportunities.

Remote opportunities may also encourage higher quality work. Gallup reports that employees who work remotely are 31% more likely to strongly agree they get to do what they do best – every day.

4. Remote workers are productive

Employees feel more productive working remotely, and leaders see this reflected in their performance.

In a 2018 study of Canadian remote workers, Indeed found that 90% felt they were more productive when working remotely. In that same study, 65% of Canadian employers agreed that their employees were more productive working remotely.

"Surveys show that companies that allow some form of remote work experience 25% less turnover."

Other studies of Canadian remote employees support these promising productivity statistics. As of 2017, approximately 47% of Canadians work remotely. 54% report they work remotely to improve productivity.

From a global perspective, organizations can expect similar results and benefits regarding remote productivity. Udemy finds that 40% of employees report that flexible or remote work options help limit work-related distractions, and 52% find remote work allows for more productivity.

Though better work-life balance remains a critical factor in favour of remote work options, the number one reason is productivity and focus.

5. Remote work is the way of the future

Remote work is on the rise. It’s evolving from a trend to a mainstream practice for a range of companies.

Many organizations are adopting remote working styles to provide the freedom their employees need to accomplish their tasks.

Randstad predicts that by 2025, approximately 32% of company work models will include remote work. Studies like those conducted by Upwork predict that by 2028, 73% of all working teams will be remote.

Remote work is an advantage to many organizations, not just startups and mid-sized businesses. Global Workplace Analytics finds that employees of Fortune 1000 companies are working remotely 50-60% of the time.

That’s a significant amount of time spent out of the office.

It’s not just millennials that seek out more remote or flexible work options. Remote workers also include 'Baby Boomers,' meaning employees over the age of fifty. Both younger and older generations in the workforce are demanding more remote opportunities from their organizations. Those same organizations are employing millennial teams to recruit and plan functional remote environments.

Upwork finds that as hiring managers grow increasingly more millennial, 69% of these young managers are more likely to allow their teams to work remotely. Those same millennial managers are 28% more likely to utilize remote employees than leadership from the BabyBoomer generation.

This may not come as a surprise to those with their finger on the pulse of workplace trends and planning. The World Economic Forum frequently reports on remote work as one of the biggest drivers of transformation in business operations.

"Randstad predicts that by 2025, approximately 32% of company work models will include remote work."

Given the evidence, more managers and leaders are focusing on retention and the future of their workforces. In particular, 52% of young managers rank future workforce planning as a top priority, especially planning for remote and flex teams.

By proactively designing workplace operations with remote work in mind, leaders prioritize the engagement and productivity of their teams. Engagement is critical for remote teams. Overall, 60% of employees feel that managers and leaders are responsible for implementing engagement strategies.

6. Remote workers might just be happier, both in their roles and in general

Aside from the obvious benefits of remote work, such as agile teams and increased productivity, research showcases how job satisfaction, well-being, and overall work ethic improve in remote positions.

A National Institute of Health study reveals remote workers are feeling less stressed and more satisfied with their jobs. This means remote workers are less likely to quit – good news for organizations hoping to improve their retention.

Similarly, studies from PGi indicate 82% of remote workers feel less stressed by work-related tasks and responsibilities. This particular statistic is notable, given work-related burnout is one of the more significant drivers of turnover.

Deloitte’s research finds that 84%of millennials experience frequent burnout while at work, and half of millennial employees leave jobs due to burnout.

Yet, 70% of employees report feeling healthier working remotely. Remote work may be the answer to many organizations’ ‘prayers’ for retaining top performing, but burnt-out employees.

There’s also something to be said for the connection between healthier and happier remote teams, and their relationship to a company. For example, 87% of remote workers feel more connected to their organization, and are 27% more likely to agree they have the necessary materials and equipment compared to office-bound employees.

"A study from Harvard shows 87% of remote workers actually felt more connected."

With collaborative tools, remote teams remain connected with their leaders and colleagues – anywhere, anytime. Regus notes that 86% of remote workers use instant-messaging tools like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Slack; 50% of employees use platforms like Google Drive; and 60% use video tools like Skype.

Not every organization or employee will find remote work compatible with their needs or working styles. Remote work is not one-size-fits-all. Though companies would be hard-pressed to find an employee who isn’t even slightly curious about the opportunity.

By considering how your teams work, and how a remote style could impact their productivity, leaders can make more informed decisions about implementing more flexible options.

Remote Work

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5 min

Stressed about working remotely? These tips are for you!

Stressed about working remotely? These tips are for you!Stressed about working remotely? These tips are for you!

Intrinsic motivation is essential to stay productive when working from home. At the same time, adding simple activities to your daily routine can help you feel your best productive self and master remote work. From having a routine, to managing online meetings – here’s a list of tips that will help you when working remotely.

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It is important to stay productive while working from home. From having a routine, to managing online meetings – here’s a list of tips that will help you when working remotely.  

1. Keep a routine

Set your alarm to a specific time every day. Get up and get ready as if you are going into the office. Set a lunch time! Make sure to have lunch the same time you usually would. Having a schedule will help you to stay on track.

2. Get out of your pajamas

We know… They are so comfy! But you can still wear comfy clothes, just make sure they are different from what you slept in.

3. Don’t work in bed or on the couch

Don’t work somewhere you normally associate with relaxing, as that could trick your brain into not being as productive. If you don’t have an office or an available table, then even the dining table, or kitchen counter can work! When the day ends, close up your “home office” to separate work from the household.

4. Get out of the house

Try scheduling a coworking space, talk to any coworkers to join you. Even going for a walk during your lunch or a visit to your favorite coffee shop will help you feel motivated when working from home.

5. Communicate, communicate, communicate

With remote work, it is important to be in regular communication with your team. Use chat systems, email and video conferencing. There is no such thing as over-communicating, as it keeps you and your team engaged! See below for some tips for managing online meetings

6. Master the mute button

Background noise can be quite disturbing during larger conference call meetings. You never know what background noise is going through your mic, and sometimes applications such as Slack and Zoom will actually try to increase the volume of the background noises as it thinks it is just you speaking quietly. Make the mute button your best friend!

7. Assign a Meeting Lead

Everyone has dealt with people speaking over each other during in-person meetings, but it can be more difficult to manage during online meetings. You’ll find it useful to have one person lead the meeting by keeping an eye who is trying to speak and then passing the “talking stick.”

And we’d like to add…

There are ways to take advantage of working remotely that can bring you some real benefits, like the opportunity to really focus on your work and yourself.

And remember that self-care is really important if you ever feel isolated when working from home. Make sure to always check in with yourself and others who may be working remotely as well.

In addition to email, chat and video calls, Kudos is also a great way to connect with your team. Kind words of peer-to-peer recognition go a long way – boosting morale, increasing engagement and inspiring happiness.

Remote Work

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5 min

4 Easy Tips to Engage Remote Teams

4 Easy Tips to Engage Remote Teams4 Easy Tips to Engage Remote Teams

Engaging remote employees can be difficult and even a burden for a lot of employers. Worry no more - Here are 4 easy yet highly effective tips to keep your employees engaged and highly motivated while working remotely.

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Engaging remote employees can be difficult and even a burden for a lot of employers. Worry no more - Here are 4 easy yet highly effective tips to keep your employees engaged and highly motivated while working remotely.

The Rise of Remote Employees

The number of global remote employees is rising. Experts expect this trend to continue to rise for the foreseeable future. After looking at the stats, we're not surprised. Did you know that:

  • Remote employees are more productive: Contrary to popular belief, remote employees get more done. A Stanford study found that remote employee performance was 13% better than that of office workers.

  • Remote employees are happier: According to a study conducted by Owl Labs, remote employees are happier than their office-bound counterparts due to improved productivity and focus. Happy workers tend to be far more engaged in their work!

  • Remote employees cost less: Unsurprisingly, remote employees cost companies less money in rent and utility costs. Global Workplace Analytics found that an organization could save $11,000 per year for every half-time remote worker it employs.

Those are three very solid reasons to jump on the remote employee train! But working with a distributed workforce isn't without its drawbacks. Namely, team engagement. How can your company keep its staff engaged when they aren't physically present in the office? In the next section, we'll give you four tips for engaging remote employees.

Engaging Remote Employees: 4 Tips to Get You Started

Ready to embrace the remote work revolution? Follow these four tips and engaging remote employees will be a breeze!

1. Communicate Effectively

4ways communicate

Clear, effective communication is critical for every business. But when working with remote employees, it becomes even more important because managers aren't in the same room with their teams. Potentially, this could easily lead to misunderstandings, which in turn can lead to employee disengagement.

Ensure that each of your remote team members knows exactly what's expected of them. It's also a good idea to make them aware of core values and company goals so that they can feel more involved.

To keep the lines of communication open, we recommend using a tool like Slack. It will allow you to communicate effectively and as frequently as possible with your offsite staff, resulting on employees feeling engaged.

Another great communication tool is video conferencing software. As G2 suggests, video conferencing solutions eliminate the need for in-person attendance in daily meetings. Ensuring open and consistent communication between teams. These features make it the perfect feature for any company with remote employees because it allows them face-to-face time with the rest of the team. It allows your remote workers to feel like they're still part of the conversation, even when they're not in the office.

2. Don't Micromanage

4ways micromanage

It can be common to take the communication tip too far, please don't micromanage. One of the reasons remote workers are generally more productive and happier than their office teammates is because they have more freedom - freedom to work when they want, where they want, and how they want.

Don't try to take this away from them! If one of your staff works best at 2 AM, let them work at 2 AM. If another employee likes to work at the Starbucks down the street from their home, what's the harm? As long as each of them completes their tasks well and on time, it shouldn't be a problem.

3. Organize Annual Meetups

4 Tips for Engaging Remote Employees - Annual Event

As you'll be saving on significant costs by hiring remote workers, budget a portion of your department's funds for an annual team trip. This will allow you to have face-to-face time with your offsite staff and help build trust and rapport.

While modern technology makes it easy to talk with each other and even see people from all corners of the globe in real time, nothing beats face to face interaction. When your remote employees have had a chance to meet and have fun with their colleagues, they'll feel much more invested and engaged in their work.

4. Recognize Remote Team Members

4ways recognize

Last but not least, we encourage that you establish an employee recognition system for your entire team — both in-office and remote workers. Think about it this way: would you be excited every morning to work for a company that didn't appreciate your efforts? Probably not!

This strategy is especially important when employing out-of-office talent. By including your remote employees in your recognition efforts, you'll ensure that each of them remains engaged and feels valued for their hard work, even when they aren't physically present at the office.

A platform like Kudos allows you to easily recognize your team members and prevent them from becoming disengaged. You'll be able to enjoy the extra productivity they'll bring to the table because of it.

Wrapping Up: Start Engaging Your Remote Employees Today

Engaging remote employees doesn't have to be hard. Consider starting with our tips outlined above and you'll be well on your way to keeping your offsite staff productive, happy and engaged. We wish you the best of luck as you start (or continue) to manage your remote team!

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