Most employees prefer to work remotely; either fully remote or hybrid (Gallup, 2022). Are you surprised? Reasons cited are mainly for better work-life balance, efficiency and autonomy.
Wide-spread adoption of remote work which started as a response to COVID-19 crisis is now a permanent feature and preferred work model.
If we accept this reality, rather than pursuing ‘come back to the office’, campaigns which are often met with resistance, our focus should be on understanding the dynamics behing the preference and implementing strategies to keep employee #engagement levels up in this new way of working.
As part of my doctoral level research, I am acquainted with the literature and studies on remote work. I just concluded a pilot study on exploring the factors that influence engagement in remote work. My research aim is to propose a framework of recommendations that helps business leaders, managers and HR professionals better manage their remote teams.
The pilot study results are inconclusive because of the small sample size, however, the insights so far are noteworthy. I will continue the study through the rest of the year and conclude early next year.
The findings so far reveal a range of factors impacting engagement in remote work. They include 5 broad categories; digital work tools, work design, relationships and communication, management interventions and personal factors.
Each of these factors covers broad areas;
Digital Work Tools covers digital infrastructure, digital tools and the adequacy of the workspace.
Work Design represents the nature of the work and its meaning and impact e.g. meaningful and impactful work including developmental activities.
Relationships and Communications cover social connectedness and all forms of organisation and team communication.
Management Interventions include policies, HRM systems, processes and initiatives that can be channeled towards enhancing engagement efforts.
Personal Factors comprise personal traits like self-discipline, physical and mental wellbeing, family presence and personal commitments like side hustles.
Management teams can begin to look at each of these areas and invest in initiatives that positively impact employee behaviours.
Research is such an eye-opener I must admit. If you or your organisation needs clarity around enhancing enagement in your remote teams? Feel free to reach out as I am happy to share more insights that could save you the headache.