Remote work is here to stay. 

What started as a temporary measure has become a permanent movement for many businesses. More than half of executives intend to allow their office employees to work from home at least one day a week post-pandemic. And employees prefer the option, too — 72% would welcome the opportunity to continue working out of the office for at least two days a week.

But many remote workers are still figuring out how to work effectively outside the office. Here are a few things companies can do to help them out.

1. Activate the digital transformation

Technology is rapidly evolving, especially now that there’s a greater need for innovation. Companies that want their remote teams to be successful are tapping into new technologies that enable them to perform more of their tasks off-site. Here are a few examples: 

  • Moving to a secure, cloud-based system that allows employees to access work files, software, and other resources while off-site.
  • Automating repetitive tasks such as payment processing, scheduling, and mailroom management.
  • Using tools like virtual and augmented reality to remotely perform tasks that normally would require site visits (training, inspections, installations, etc.).

2. Equip to empower

For many employees, the work-from-home lifestyle is a brand-new experience — and they didn’t have time to prepare. While they likely have a home computer to work from, it might not be as powerful as their work computer, and their home office (if they have one), is probably not nearly as well-outfitted. 

To better equip remote employees, businesses may choose to provide:

  • Laptops and monitors 
  • Webcams and mics
  • Printers
  • Separate phone lines for company calls
  • Desks and office chairs
  • Internet plans/upgrades

Smart lockers can facilitate the safe and secure transfer of these items from the office to the home. Installed in office buildings, they serve as a contactless means of exchanging equipment, documents, and other resources while employees work from home, and they can even help with onboarding new hires.  

3. Support work-life balance

Another challenge for new remote workers is figuring out how to work in the same place where they live, particularly at a time when opportunities to leave the house are minimal. They may also have lost some of the comforts and conveniences they had at the office, like access to meal programs and fitness centers. 

Here are a few ideas for helping remote employees adjust to the new routine:

  • With children out of school and daycares closed, parents who work from home would benefit from homeschooling and tutoring resources, flexible hours, and paid caregiving leave.  
  • Subscriptions to meal delivery services and online fitness classes can substitute for workplace amenities that employees can no longer access.
  • Programs to support mental and emotional health are rising in popularity — more than half of the companies in a recent survey said they’re offering special programs to help their employees through stressful times. Some of these initiatives include providing counseling and therapy services, meditation and mindfulness apps, or even the opportunity to change the scenery and work from an Airbnb

4. Cultivate connection

If they’re used to regularly connecting in-person with their colleagues, employees might start to feel isolated when they’re working off-site. Regular check-ins through phone calls, video meetings, and other communication platforms keep people connected.

It’s important to make time for informal ways to engage, too, such as virtual happy hours and coffee breaks, online games, and creative competitions.

5. Strengthen productivity 

Working from home increases productivity for many employees — they’re no longer commuting to and from work, and they’re saving an average of 35 minutes a day that they used to spend on unwanted interruptions. 

But they need the right tools at their fingertips to stay focused and work efficiently:

  • Centralize and simplify company data and resources using solutions like business management software and comprehensive CRM platforms to make it easier for remote employees to work independently.
  • Encourage the use of productivity apps, time-tracking software, project management programs, and other tools to help team members overcome distractions and stay on task.
  • Recognize increased productivity by switching to a four-day workweek, designating time for self-care, and pursuing personal and professional development opportunities.

For a safe way to distribute equipment and other resources to remote employees, check out Smiota’s smart lockers