The Great Remote Worker Migration
For many people, working remotely was the dream. They lived where they wanted with no long commute. Now that more organizations are transitioning back to the workplace, there’s a greater need, now more than ever, to understand how employees can be happy and productive in this “new” environment.
Two of the most important factors we’ve discovered are personal and team interaction and time or task management.
When you’re remote, you miss out on all the little things that make an office great. You won’t get any water cooler chats or spontaneous meetings in the hallways with your coworkers. There’s no team lunch or Friday happy hours to look forward to. Your colleagues won’t be able to pop into your office for quick advice or feedback on a project, and it may be harder for them to reach you by phone (or at all).
These interactions are important for building trust, collaboration, and personal connections between team members—all of which boost productivity at work. While a returning employee may feel a sense of loss, managers can help keep the focus on what is gained. And personal interaction is a major gain that DISC profiles can help you capitalize on.
Personal connection is at the heart of the DISC Assessment process. Understanding the inner preferences of the person on the screen will help to humanize them. HR professionals can use the DISC to help in that process by providing an overview of remote and in-person work teams so that team members can start to see and understand each person’s personality, increasing and improving online interaction.
A DISC profile can help a manager suggest different interactions for different behavior styles. It may help some employees if they can participate in weekly group meetings to discuss the week in an open-ended way. Others may prefer a meeting focused on goals and achievements. In-office employees can keep chat open, or offering virtual drop-in hours to stay in touch with remote colleagues. In any case, giving employees a reason to fully participate in meetings and interactions can increase their sense of connection. Virtual meetings are not the same as in-person for most people, so with an intentional approach, the return to the office can foster personal connection.
A challenge that remote workers often encounter is distractions at home. After all, they are sitting in front of your computer in their own house or apartment. They’re surrounded by all the comforts and tools that make up the home—their bed, fridge, bathroom, and so on. They might find that they have a difficult time filtering out these distractions when working from home.
When employees return to the office, they may experience more focus because they aren’t surrounded by personal tasks. However, their time management strategies may need to change for the office environment.
The solution will be different for each person. One person might create an organized task list with goals and metrics. Someone else might work out of a coffee shop to be around people.
A manager can help each employee create a remote work plan that works for them. Using the DISC Assessment, the manager can talk through the working styles of the employee, helping them create a personal plan.
Some will want to focus on control of their environment. Perhaps they will want to create a dedicated project timeframe(“Do not disturb” mode) in which they can eliminate distractions. Others might want to maintain regular contact with other team members in order to maintain a personal connection that allows them to stay focused. Another team might want to use a team achievements board where they can watch their own progress as they complete tasks. Some might want to be left alone to work quietly and report less frequently, but with more detail. The DISC Assessment is perfect for identifying which people or teams might benefit from which strategy.
Remote Worker Transition Strategies That Work
HR Professionals can use DISC profiles to help managers become better equipped to create work plans for employees who are returning to work. These plans can provide more personal interaction and greater focus. Remote work can work for team members and employers with the comprehensive, adaptive solutions that DISC profiles can reveal.