Employee Experience Exchange: Managing Remote Workers

2020 has thrust us headfirst into remote work, altering our employee experience. And yes, I know that many of us already had dedicated work from home days before, but this is different. EVERYONE is home… kids, spouses, etc. This has presented many unique obstacles for us as individual employees, as well as for those of us in management roles.

I spoke with Lauren McCollem, VP of Marketing at LogMeIn, and she shared some meaningful insight into how her employee experience has been and her experience managing all remote employees.

First, what did work remote look like at LogMeIn before COVID-19?

LM: We have a geographically dispersed team, but most of the team was based in one of our physical office locations. Remote work was something many employees adopted, but generally only a day or two a week. Remote workers though, often seemed and felt a bit left out. Typically, if you were working from home (WFH), you were one of a few people on the team that worked that way. Most others would be in office, collaborating directly with one another. This was especially true during team-wide meetings. We’ve always been heavy users of video meeting, but if there were a group of us in an office we wouldn’t always default to the video being on, so our remote team members would not get the same experience. This left them feeling out of the loop and sometimes disconnected.

How has the employee experience changed day-to-day?

LM: We all seem to be in more meetings. I’ve been encouraging my team to make meetings more concise. Meaning, a 15-minute check in to replace a 30-minute or even 60-minute meetings we’ve all begrudgingly become accustomed to. The top tip is simply to cancel any meetings without a pre-shared and set agenda. No agenda, no meeting. This allows the team to opt out when meetings don’t pertain to them.

Probably one of the more beautiful things in this whole ordeal is every employee can connect because video usage has now become a norm since no one is in the same room anymore.

With all that said, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any negatives. OVERBOOKING is real. And it’s something as an employee and manager you have to be aware of and diligent about encouraging your team to police – let them have a voice and tell them it’s okay to set REAL boundaries. Make sure you and your team know that you expect them to block off time during the day to better manage work and life. If your kids (or whoever) need you every day from 8:30 to 9:30, then block that time off.

As a manager, it’s important for you to adopt and allow flexible scheduling. Everyone’s day will be different, you cannot change that. Some employees have kids at home, spouses working by their side, etc. Don’t make this time any more difficult for your employees. Focus on outcomes not hours logged. Give real KPIs to help keep them going in the right direction and be willing to adapt in real time when needed.

Can you share both an expected and unexpected result of our new employee experience?

LM: For LogMeIn, we are in the ‘Work-from-Anywhere’ business – that’s what we do, we provide the tools and technology needed to enable remote work, so we did not expect the shift to be too dramatic from an enablement and technology adoption standpoint. (LogMeIn is the organization behind solutions like GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar, GoToMyPC, LogMeIn Pro and LastPass, all of which are beneficial to remote work.) Since we have a very distributed workforce, our team was already accustomed to having video-first meetings with team members across the world.

The unexpected result for us was probably very similar to most organizations. There was a real lag with adjusting to this forced home/life merger. We’re all wearing multiple hats and filling multiples roles, and all at the same time. We have to be a parent or caregiver while simultaneously being a manager/employee. Separation between work and family often doesn’t exist.

However, this set us up to have impactful conversations around priorities and what our goals are, and we’ve been able to zero in on what really matters. Specifically, in terms of performance, we all have different working situations; if someone can figure out a way to get their job done, regardless of maintaining a 9-to-5 schedule, that’s what matters.

Conclusion

Adjusting to our new employee experience has had its ups and downs for sure. It seems some core best practices that you can take from Lauren’s experience is to BE FLEXIBLE with your team’s working environment and schedule. Trust that they’re holding themselves accountable for getting their work done. Moreover, ensure you’re meeting with your team, but keeping it concise and not too time consuming. Finally, be empathetic and work with your team to make sure they have what they need to be successful. That might mean a quick 15 minute coffee break check in or ensuring they the right tech tools and access to resources.

About Akumina

Akumina is the employee experience platform that empowers global enterprises to quickly create personalized digital experiences that help every employee in every role work smarter, not harder. By offering a customizable, brandable and multilingual platform that seamlessly integrates with leading enterprise cloud applications, Akumina delivers a contextual, collaborative and engaging workplace experience to every user on any device. Akumina’s customers include Whole Foods Market, GlaxoSmithKline, Vodafone, the Boston Red Sox and the United States Department of Defense. To learn more visit www.akumina.com and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

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