Full time remote workers have increased from 15% to 20% in just four years according to Gallup’s 2016 Report on the State of the American Work Force. Gallup researched the pros and cons of working 100% remotely, and from there, Gallup went on to research what management might do to enhance the success and engagement of full time remote workers.
Gallup found that workers who are 100% remote are the least engaged of all remote workers at an engagement level of 30%. Importantly however, this 30% engagement level is the very same engagement level as 100% onsite workers. Equally important is that 100% remote workers respond higher than their 100% onsite working counterparts on three accounts…
- 27% of 100% remote workers strongly agree that they have the necessary equipment and materials to effectively do their jobs. In fact, 100% remote workers outscored all employees, onsite/remote in any combination of hours, on having what they need equipment and material wise to effectively do their jobs.
- 31% of 100% remote workers strongly agree that they have consistent opportunities to “do what they do” best on a daily basis.
- Less than 17% of 100% remote workers strongly agree that they have clear job descriptions.
To improve those percentages of engagement, businesses are adjusting their policies to attract and retain their 100% remote workers. Businesses want the talent and expertise they couldn’t woo with more traditional jobs. Similarly, onsite workers are requesting/demanding the flexibility of working remotely.
For example, companies that are successfully improving engagement levels with 100% remote workers are delivering boxed sets of necessary materials and equipment to those workers’ offsite workplaces. Hardware, software, printers, desks, chairs, you name it are included in those boxed sets. Companies are offering fully staffed, 24-hour help desks to answer questions from 100% remote workers anywhere in the field. Some companies are flying their 100% remote employees to company headquarters in order that remote workers have opportunities to meet and establish “buddy system” relationships with onsite workers. And companies that get the best efforts and most engagement from their 100% remote workers are offering specific online certification and in-depth training programs for those workers.
The more the number of remote workers and the hours of remote working increase, the more company managers and leaders will become trust builders with their remote workers. The more trust, the more engagement. The more outreach efforts from company headquarters to their 100% remote workers, the higher engagement levels they will derive.