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In a study performed in September 2020 of 2,234 workers in three countries, Forrester researchers found that 31% reported their mental health had suffered in the pandemic; 37% felt like they were ‘working harder now than I did before the pandemic’, and 58% had a ‘clear sense of what it will take’ to continue working through the pandemic.

A future of inspired, fulfilling remote work that is mutually beneficial to the organization and to the employees requires a sharpened focus on employee experience (EX). The EX spills over into every aspect of the organization’s internal and external image and energy — and customers are also acutely aware of whether or not employees are happy in their roles. 

With knowledge work on the rise and a next normal around the corner, Forrester hosted a webinar with VP and Research Director Matthew Guarini and Principal Analyst David Johnson to discuss elements that tech leaders must consider for executing a successful EX-remote work strategy.

Key Findings

  • Employee experience and remote work is nuanced along the lines of human psychology – and factoring science into strategy – it includes a technology dimension, social dimension, and behavioral dimension.
  • Create a positive and engaging work environment for what employees experience every single day with consideration for how to help people feel motivated and engaged; providing an equal experience for those who are remote.
  • Employees that are satisfied with collaboration technologies and are able to access task-critical information that they need to do their jobs effectively are less likely to experience burnout and are more engaged overall.
  • Be careful of biases and disadvantaged people in remote scenarios. Not feeling recognized for contributions impacts employee morale and retention. To proactively address this potential issue, create a recognition and reward system bringing people into the circle sooner and providing constructive and supportive feedback.
  • Consider systems of employee support and systems of work (i.e., the things we rely on to get our jobs done each day). Tech investments that lead to engagement payoffs include experimenting with virtual worlds where people can go and collaborate and share ideas or virtual whiteboards. These “increase the richness with which we can communicate visually and otherwise,” says Johnson.
  • Communicate with empathy and care to promote trust and engagement. Employees want to feel remote work is a viable strategy and that there’s buy-in to make it supportive and worthwhile. This will also support hiring/recruitment and retention. Exclusive-Research-on-Why-Remote-Working-is-the-Future-of-IT-Industry-1

The overall experience of remote work to-date is a mixed bag with interesting findings around trust and communications. Organizations that consider technology, social, and behavioral dimensions have the greatest chance of benefiting from employee engagement, recruitment, and retention.  Global business futures are deeply intertwined with remote work and the Knowledge Age. Finding ways to integrate creativity, adaptivity, and resilience will build a foundation for rewarding work experiences.