Sanika Tamhane

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nurturing sound mental health in remote work
Management

Show Your Employees You Care About Their Mental Health With These Simple Strategies

Employers can help workers tackle burnout and workplace stress by following these simple strategies for sound mental health care.

Does your organization care about its employees’ mental health? Does it take measures to improve it? If yes, do your people know? Research suggests that many employees feel their employers do not empathize with their mental health. A Forbes study, for instance,  revealed that 82 percent of American tech employees felt burnout while working remotely. Eighty percent of workers said they would consider quitting their current position for a job that prioritized employees’ mental health. Another study by Oxford’s Saïd Business School found that happy employees are more productive. 

In this article, we’ll look at why employees feel neglected, what’s happening as a result, and how organizations can buck the burnout trend:

Frequent dialogue helps alleviate feelings of isolation

Remote workers report loneliness as their biggest challenge. Research shows that loneliness can drive employee burnout and turnover. Organizations should encourage casual dialogue between employees as it helps tackle the feeling of isolation associated with remote work. Managers should focus on building a culture of connection through regular check-ins. Virtual coffee breaks and “watercooler” channels can help in promoting break-time chatter and collaboration. Virtual lunch hours, where employees log-in and have their meals together, could also be an excellent way to improve social connections. Similarly, using communication platforms to create a sense of community can help develop positive engagement in remote workforces. 

Conduct regular mental health surveys and sessions

Many employees share that they don’t receive the support they need to manage work stress. Mental health surveys help identify signs of mental distress in employees and provide insight to restructure organizational policies to boost talent well-being. Frequent check-ins with experts can help prevent stress and burnout among employees. They can also equip remote employees with tools to create a healthy and productive workplace. Including mental health coverage as part of health care plans can also be an effective strategy to improve workforce mental well-being. Managers should ensure that shame and stigma don’t stop employees from using their mental health benefits to seek treatment. Rather, management should encourage and normalize the use of these services.

Encourage regular breaks and time-offs

Remote employees work the equivalent of 1.4 extra days per month compared to their in-office colleagues. What’s more, remote employees often feel guilty about taking a break from work. This inability to unplug can affect their mental health, leading to burnout. And thus, a remote work schedule must consist of breaks at regular intervals. Thirty-seven percent of remote workers said that taking frequent breaks helped them refocus and relax. Encourage employees to reserve time on their calendars for a workout. Organizations can also offer fitness stipends to help employees cover costs related to their physical activities.

Let employees choose their working hours

Rigid work schedules reduce employee creativity and heighten stress levels. Seventy percent of employees said that flexible working makes a job significantly attractive, whereas 90 percent revealed it helped boost their morale. A majority of them also said that flexible hours helped reduce stress and increase productivity. Flexible schedules allow employees to work when they are the most productive. They establish a healthy boundary between work and home. 

What’s more, they can help in reducing employee turnover in the long run. Managers should work with remote employees to set measurable and achievable goals for these schedules to run seamlessly. Goal-setting will move the organizational focus from the number of weekly hours put in by the remote employees to the weekly output they’re delivering.

Provide mental health training to managers and leaders

Remote workers often worry about their performance because of a lack of facetime and feedback. Furthermore, nearly 40 percent of global employees said no one at their company had asked them if they were doing okay. These respondents were 38 percent more likely than others to say that their mental health had declined since the pandemic. 

Managers must demonstrate empathy with their employees. They should have regular one-on-ones with their team members to see how they are holding up. A sense of community is more likely to develop in organizations where leaders share their experience with mental health. This way, employees feel that there is a genuine and collective interest in their well-being. 

Organizations have a responsibility to support their employees’ mental wellbeing. Workplaces that promote mental health are likely to reduce absenteeism, increase productivity, and benefit from the associated gains. A WHO report states that for every US$ 1 put into scaled-up treatment for employee mental health, there is a return of US$ 4 in improved health and productivity. In addition, practices like flexible hours, regular check-ins, and mental health training can help create a healthy and stress-free work environment.

Turing is an automated platform that lets companies “push a button” to hire senior, pre-vetted remote software developers. Firms can hire from a talent pool of 500K+ developers with strong technical and communication skills who work in their time zone.

By Jul 20, 2021
Healthy workplace culture
Management

Here’s How to Create a Workplace Culture Employees Will Never Want to Quit

Many employees quit due to bad workplace culture. Clear performance goals, constructive feedback, & employee recognition help build healthy remote work culture.

One in five Americans leaves their job due to bad company culture. The cost of this turnover is around $223 billion, according to a report on workplace culture. Replacing an employee costs up to 150 percent of their annual salary and has consequences on productivity. What’s more, 88 percent of job seekers say that having a healthy work culture is vital for organizational success. Organizations that want to succeed in the remote work era must ensure that employees feel valued to prevent them from switching jobs for better work culture. 

Key points for building a healthy remote culture:

Idea meritocracy and recognition lead to greater productivity.

Organizations with a culture of recognition are 2.5 times more likely to see enhanced employee engagement. Similarly, 90 percent of workers say recognition motivates them to work harder. Therefore, recognition from managers (or lack thereof) significantly impacts performance and workplace culture.

It is equally important to build a culture that implements and celebrates good ideas. This way, remote employees feel motivated to deliver high performance. A culture based on meritocracy promotes psychological safety, transparency, and permission to speak freely regardless of position. It prioritizes collaboration over competition. It empowers employees equally and overturns the arrangement where ideas from the highest-paid team members receive all the attention. It encourages remote employees to be vulnerable with one another. With such a culture in place, employees can share crazy ideas and freely differ from those they dislike, despite the absence of a shared physical workspace.

Setting clear goals leads to employee stickiness and accountability.

Establishing clear performance goals helps in improving employee engagement and decision-making. Engaged employees are 87 percent less likely to quit their organization. On the other hand, disengaged workers are 60 percent more likely to make errors in their work. 

A high-performing remote workforce is a product of transparency. Leaders and team members are most efficient when they have a good understanding of the company vision. Breaking the vision into smaller objectives can make it easier to track and manage progress. Using this method, business owners and managers can gauge if a goal is on its way to being completed on time or if it needs reevaluation. 

Employees are more committed to their work if they feel like they would hamper the team’s performance by lagging behind. This belief ensures that they are well-aligned with their colleagues’ tasks, leading to greater accountability. 

Daily rituals and regular feedback improve team performance.

Twenty-four percent of employees would consider quitting their jobs due to inadequate performance feedback. As opposed to this, employees who receive weekly feedback are 2.7 times more likely to be engaged at work. To build a healthy and sustainable remote work culture, managers must have regular check-ins with their teams. They should be sensitive to the needs of individual remote employees and find clever ways to keep them engaged. 

While delivering feedback, managers should address how the employee’s current contributions have helped achieve organizational goals and suggest ways to improve them. Good feedback highlights an employee’s strengths as well as weaknesses politely and strategically. Employees are more responsive towards business goals when they feel appreciated by their organization. 

Building a culture of constructive feedback shows employees that their opinions are respected in the workplace. Remote organizations should encourage employees to share feedback on the work culture and make adjustments accordingly. This practice helps in improving employee experience for future hires. 

Turing is an automated platform that lets companies “push a button” to hire and manage senior, pre-vetted remote software developers. Firms can hire from a talent pool of 500K+ developers with strong technical and communication skills who work in their time zone.

For more information, visit the Turing Hire page.

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By Jun 29, 2021
Communication challenges in a hybrid model of work.
Management

Three Communication Mistakes Hybrid Teams Must Avoid

Communication is key to organizational success. Hybrid teams should avoid these common mistakes to reduce transactional communication and encourage spontaneity.

The rise of hybrid teams has divided employees into two classes: information-haves and have nots. A recent report stated that it has reduced workdays to purely transactional communications and killed spontaneity between in-office and remote workers.

Additional takeaways: 

Uneven visibility and access to information leads to inconsistent decision making

Hybrid teams often face uneven information sharing. Consequently, in-office employees have a considerable advantage over remote employees. This contrast creates an uncomfortable information hierarchy between team members. Hybrid teams should acknowledge this challenge and establish a few ground rules to encourage consistent information sharing. Handbooks with organizational protocols, FAQs, policy terms, and training resource links can help here.

Influence is a product of visibility. Those who are “visible” influence the flow of work and decisions. Naturally, in-office employees have the edge over remote workers in this aspect too. Remote employees often find it challenging to share their opinions during discussions; when the rest of the team is collectively debating an issue in the office, all they can do is rely on their laptop screens. Remote employees may be working longer hours and increasing productivity but still going unacknowledged compared to in-office workers. And thus, hybrid teams should adopt practices to even out these disparities.

One way is always to encourage input from members that logged in virtually before the rest. Additionally, managers must focus on equalizing employee experience by ensuring equal information accessibility. They should ensure that employee benefits are beneficial for both in-office and remote workers. 

The “Zoom gloom” dampens team morale

Hybrid teams tend to suffer from the “zoom gloom.” This phenomenon is a result of the stress and lack of human contact brought by virtual meetings. Zoom offered advice for eliminating the gloom of too many virtual conferences. It shared that seeing oneself during meetings heightened anxiety levels. And hence, hiding self-view could help in reducing stress. Another research found that when participants got a break and meditated between sessions, their stress levels dropped significantly and did not build up over time. 

Using informal communication channels to build employee relationships is a big challenge for hybrid organizations. More than two-thirds of workers wish to spend more time with their in-office peers to develop better connections. The virtual workplace gets work done but ends up losing out on ‘hall talk.’  Hall talk is crucial for organizations as it encourages new ideas, information-sharing, and relationships. What’s more, virtual workplaces eliminate spontaneity and hamper the quality of communication. Eventually, this can dampen team morale. 

Promoting relationship-building activities in day-to-day work calls can help fix this issue. Activities like ‘creative introductions’ and ‘team kudos’ can help build a rich hybrid workplace. 

Inconsistent engagement leads to misunderstood concepts

The physical office space does not serve as the central hub for engagement in hybrid teams. The absence of a central hub makes it challenging to conduct events that require high levels of engagement, like high-value client meetings. Video calls, although convenient, cannot replicate the richness of face-to-face communications, especially when complex issues are under discussion. As a result, 53 percent of remote workers fear being left out of crucial team meetings and other activities in the office. And thus, managers are in a constant quest to find arrangements that satisfy the communication needs of hybrid teams.

Managers should design a selection guide that allocates workplaces based on the task. This guide can help in identifying and harmonizing activities that genuinely require face-to-face conversation. Similarly, leaders should invest time into equipping hybrid teams with the tools and resources necessary for rich engagement. 

Read the complete article.

Turing is an automated platform that lets companies “push a button” to hire senior, pre-vetted remote software developers. Firms can hire from a talent pool of 500K+ developers with strong technical and communication skills who work in their time zone.

For more information, visit Turing’s Hire page. 

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By Jun 28, 2021
Communication challenges in a hybrid model of work.
The Future of Work

Don’t Forget To Do This Before Switching to Hybrid

Managers who adopt a hybrid schedule of work for their employees should follow these best practices to help workers avoid burnout and improve team performance.

Two studies recently shared insights on developing hybrid policies that blend remote and in-office work without burning out employees: organize regular team discussions to avoid employee burnout, offer flexible working hours to improve team performance, and train managers to ensure smooth operations. With over forty percent of the global workforce considering leaving their employer this year, a thoughtful approach to hybrid work is critical for attracting and retaining talent. 

Key takeaways from the reports include:

$1 spent on the hybrid policy redesign program led to $1.68 in savings

Organizations that invested in a redesign program before going hybrid saw a healthy return on investment. They saw improved work-life balance and job satisfaction among employees and a drop in employee turnover costs. Voluntary employee exits decreased by 40 percent in these organizations. 

The talent landscape has shifted, and employee expectations have changed. Leaders must rethink employee engagement before adopting a hybrid setup. More than 66 percent of business leaders are redesigning spaces and policies for hybrid work. They are investing in technology to bridge the physical and digital worlds. 

Regular team discussions prevent overload and increase transparency

Structured discussions helped overloaded employees reduce engagements that did not require their inputs. They also helped increase efficiency by eliminating low-value work. Sixty-one percent of employees from organizations that did not conduct such discussions said they felt overburdened by work. Thus, leaders must urgently address digital exhaustion and work on solutions to reduce employee workloads.

Regular team discussions also set clear performance expectations. They helped hybrid employees overcome their fears of being judged based on their work hours instead of their contributions. They improved transparency by providing a clear picture of the hybrid workplace.

Flexible work hours lead to improved employee well-being and performance

The research revealed that hybrid setups worked best when employees were given control over their work instead of mandating specific hours for remote and in-office work. Organizations with flexible work cultures reported fewer work-life conflicts. The employees reported improved well-being and family time. 

Looking at these benefits, 63 percent of high-revenue growth companies have adopted the ‘productivity anywhere’ models that give employees the option of working remotely or on-site. Organizations that focused less on when, where, and how work happened saw optimum results and enabled employees to work in sustainable ways. 

Training managers is essential for ensuring seamless hybrid operations

Remote employees often feel disconnected from their in-office colleagues. Manager training should focus on building an inclusive work environment and give equal attention to all the team members irrespective of where they work. It is equally important to watch out for silos that may arise in the hybrid space. Managers must ensure that in-office and remote employees have access to the same resources and are equally involved in decision-making. They should encourage cross-team collaboration to strengthen the hybrid team. 

Additionally, they should encourage employees to share when they feel overwhelmed by work and allow them to unplug to focus on particular tasks or even recharge. 

Read the complete studies.

Turing is an automated platform that helps organizations go hybrid. It enables companies to hire and manage senior, pre-vetted remote software developers. Firms can hire from a talent pool of 500K+ developers with strong technical and communication skills and who work in their time zone.
For more information, visit Turing’s Hire page.

By Jun 22, 2021
Worker juggling multiple tasks to show work from home productivity
The Future of Work

Remote Work Boosts Productivity & Innovation, Say Multiple Studies

Multiple reports show that work from home increased productivity and creativity in workers, and empowered them to be more innovative.

Several tech giants like Qualcomm, Lenovo, and Google have shared that remote work boosted productivity. A study published in the MIT Sloan Management Review revealed that remote work developed big-picture thinking in employees and made them more creative. Yet another found that empowered remote workers led to more innovation. 

Additional findings: 

Remote work spurs productivity and innovation

Qualcomm and Lenovo said they saw a rise in productivity after going remote. The former even added they filed more patents during the pandemic than ever before. 

A report published in MIT Sloan studied 1,000 remote innovation leaders across 17 countries to understand how innovations occurred. The analysis revealed that the companies with a radically progressive approach to remote work saw increased innovation, leading to better employee and customer outcomes. These companies, referred to as “stormers” in the report, were some of the best industry innovators. The report also revealed that the constraints of remote work led to more creativity among employees.

The other report showed that remote employees are more innovative because virtual communication, paired with the perception of being distant, activates the higher-construal thought process, also known as big-picture thinking. Thus, remote workers develop big-picture thinking because of virtual collaborations. 

The empowerment of remote employees promotes innovation

Ninety-four percent of stormers said replacing the command-and-control structure with a culture focused on customer-facing teams helped them perform better. It gave them more autonomy while serving customer needs. This approach transformed customer communication and provided a sense of purpose to employees. What’s more, it also increased customer loyalty by 62 percent for stormer organizations. 

The report also revealed that entrusting remote employees with customer relationships led to innovation. Ninety-one percent of stormer workforces said they enjoyed the recognition their work received through this approach. It motivated them to innovate further. As a result, 96 percent of stormers prioritized self-empowerment over leadership.

Remote work demands intelligent technology, connectivity, and consistency

Qualcomm and Lenovo shared that connectivity and high-quality technology are crucial to support the shift to remote work. They said that having access to the correct devices and connectivity led to greater output. 

Meanwhile, 84 percent of innovators said they could maintain their work-life balance and prevent burnout by sticking to a consistent schedule. They also shared that establishing transparent communication systems within teams was essential for maintaining this balance. In addition to this, virtual lunch breaks engaged remote employees in casual conversation that helped build bonds across teams.

Brainwriting,  bias elimination, and minimal production blockers can maximize virtual productivity

  • Reduce production blockers: Production blockers can hamper creative thinking. Frequent conversations with the team, for example, can act as a production blocker for an employee. Setting aside time for individual work away from the shared screen can help in limiting such blocks and increasing productivity. 
  • Practice brainwriting: Encourage employees to write down their ideas and discuss them together. Brainwriting fixes the flaws of brainstorming by eliminating self-censorship and promoting honest criticism. Virtual communication is ideal for brainwriting because participants can contribute to a shared document without group influence. 
  • Amplify individual input through virtual platforms: Virtual platforms allow only one person to talk at a time. Thus, they make it easier for less vocal participants to share their views. Most importantly, they serve as records of information, allowing organizations to go over previously discussed ideas.
  • Eliminate bias and encourage diverse interactions: People evaluate ideas from colleagues more harshly than those from outsiders. Anonymity helps in evaluating ideas without prejudice. Similarly, conversations between different team members bring diverse perspectives and stimulate creativity. 

Read the complete reports.

Turing is an automated platform that lets companies “push a button” to hire and manage senior, pre-vetted remote software developers. Firms can hire from a talent pool of 500K+ developers with strong technical and communication skills who work in their time zone.

For more information, visit Turing’s Hire page.

By Jun 18, 2021
Digital transformation leading to the rise of tech companies
Tech Talk

Is Every Company a Technology Company Now?

Tech companies have a significant competitive advantage over their non-tech counterparts. As a result, digitization has become a vital part of business strategy.

Is every company a technology company now? According to a new report from Deloitte, they should be. The global consulting firm recently shared research revealing that digitally sound organizations have a significant edge over others. 

More digitally mature companies performed better than lower-maturity companies during the past pandemic year, according to Deloitte. They were about twice as likely to generate net profit margins and annual revenue growth significantly above their industry average, the report stated. 

Meanwhile, nearly two-thirds of respondents in the Deloitte study said that organizations that don’t digitize in the next five years will be “doomed.” 

Additional findings from the report: 

Going digital helped organizations deal with the pandemic

More than 75 percent of organizations said digitization helped them cope with many pandemic challenges. Such companies were twice as likely to cite digital transformation as their core strategy. 

Digitized organizations generate higher net profit and annual revenue 

Digitally-informed organizations have financially outperformed their competitors in almost every aspect. As a result, 69 percent of respondents plan to increase their investments in digital transformation from an average of US$10.9 million to US$12.6 million in the next 12 months. That is 0.6 percent of their annual turnover and 15 percent higher than the amount they’d spent last year. 

Today, digital is a vital part of competitive strategy. It helps organizations improve customer experiences, upgrade products and services, and promote agility in their business models. As a consequence, all strategies will be digital strategies in the future. Going digital will help organizations secure their future in a world of uncertainty. 

Read the complete survey

By Jun 11, 2021
working parents enjoying the benefits of remote work
The Future of Work

No Remote Work? Get Ready For Working Parents To Quit

A recent survey revealed that working parents greatly value the many benefits of working from home, such as increased productivity and higher savings.

Employeesworking parents in particularhave grown fond of working from home. FlexJobs surveyed more than 1,100 parents with children 18 or younger to get insight into their experience working remotely and their expectations from post-pandemic workplaces.

Top takeaways from the survey:

Sixty-two percent of working parents would quit without remote work

Two critical concerns for parents returning to the physical workplace: exposure to Covid-19 infection and the impact of in-office work on their personal lives. Working parents are willing to work more hours, give up on vacation time, and even take up to a 10 percent pay cut just to continue working remotely. 

Fifty-one percent state remote work increases productivity

Remote work allows parents to work in an environment that sets them up for success and makes them more productive. In addition to this, flexible working schedules help them manage their professional and childcare responsibilities with greater ease. 

Ninety-eight percent say remote work saves them money

Working parents have saved significant money working from home. Twenty-one percent report saving around $10,000 per year. Meanwhile, 33 percent and 22 percent report saving $3,900 and $2,000 per year, respectively. 

Sixty-six percent say remote work will improve gender equity

Female labor force participation in the US plummeted to its lowest in 33 years in 2021. What’s more, the pandemic resulted in $800 billion in lost income for women in 2020. But, working parents say they believe that allowing remote work will help improve gender equity. 

Read the full article.

Turing is an automated platform that lets companies “push a button” to hire and manage senior, pre-vetted remote software developers. Firms can hire from a talent pool of 500K+ developers with strong technical and communication skills who work in their time zone.

For more information, visit Turing’s Hire page.

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By Jun 8, 2021