While once considered a perk, working from home has become the norm. It is true that many people enjoy remote work, there are some who cannot wait to get back to the office once it is safe to do so. Other professionals fall somewhere in the middle, adapting to the Zoom calls but missing the in-person interactions and relationships.
When you are leading a team through a challenge, it helps to understand how your team members feel about working remotely. Some of your people may be excelling while others might be struggling more than they let on. Data from The Martec Group reveals that four types of remote workers have emerged during the pandemic: thriving, hopeful, discouraged and trapped employees.
This female-dominated group of employees (72 percent) make up 16 percent of remote workers. They tend to be younger and the most introverted. Without a commute, these professionals feel they are more productive working from home.
How to help these workers: Whenever possible, let these professionals continue to work remotely. If it is working well for them, you will see the results in what their production and creativity.
The Martec Group data shows that about one in four workers are hopeful, meaning they feel like their company has handled the pandemic well, but they also do not love working from home all the time. They often miss the social and relational aspects of working in an office and find it difficult to communicate via email.
How to help these workers: Team members who fall into the category want communication from their leaders and colleagues. Look for ways to make up for lost interactions in the office, whether that is setting up more frequent check-ins or scheduling time for virtual get-togethers.
According to The Martec Group, about 27 percent of remote workers can be classified as discouraged employees. The most extroverted group, they miss social interaction at the office, but they do not miss the daily commute. This group also tends to be more stressed, less focused, less productive and feel like their work-life balance has worsened since the start of the pandemic. Often manager-level and above, these employees might have extra stressors at home, such as a lack of workspace or a need to manage children doing virtual school.
How to help these workers: If you feel your team members fall into this category, find out how you can support them. For example, maybe they could use more flexible hours or a new laptop.
The Martec Group study says that 32 percent of remote workers fall into this category. These professionals crave social interaction and the structure of a typical workday. They also often disagree with how their company is handling the pandemic. They are stressed and need a break from being at home.
How to help these workers: Try to get them back to the office as soon as it is safe to do so. You could also help them address their emotions head-on by providing training or counseling.
Not everyone views remote work the same way. Consider which category your team members fall into—thriving, hopeful, discouraged or trapped—and look for ways to help them accordingly. And this will help you thrive.