Five ways employers can support remote workers

Over the last year, the concept of working remotely has experienced some sharp growing pains as thousands of workers in the UK have re-located their work from office to home or external locations to work.

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Over the last year, the concept of working remotely has experienced some sharp growing pains as thousands of workers in the UK have relocated their work from office to home or external locations to work.

It’s a multi-dimensional issue for employers.

For some it can be as simple as setting up their workers with extra hardware like a laptop or monitors.

For other businesses it’s a huge adjustment, quickly implementing new technologies and adjusting the job descriptions and expectations of many roles.

Here’s five ways you can support your employees who are working remotely.

#1 Having enough information and resources to do their job

There are a few things to consider when your team or entire business is working remotely.

With 49% of workers interested in technology to boost their productivity, there’s more than a workstation setup to consider.

As well as essentials such as hardware, ergonomic equipment, and office supplies, consider:

  • Software – can your employees access the same programs as they did in their on-site workspace? Do your licences need to be upgraded to include more or fewer devices? Other productivity measures worth considering are the use of project management tools, utilising screen sharing or creating a shared calendar.
  • Mental health support – will you support your employees by procuring an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)? Or will you make a list of current third-party resources available? Is everyone aware of what tools are available for mediation or dispute resolution?
  • Additional support – do your employees know what additional support is available to them from the Government? Are they aware of any reimbursements or support your company is providing? These may include utility bill substitutions, rent ‘freezes’, monetary support, salary sacrifice, cashing out any leave etc.

Make sure whatever support you choose to provide is readily available, communicated clearly and the links and contact details for the appropriate person or service, are provided.


#2 Rewards and recognition

Take time to acknowledge successes and contributions of your employees.

Where you might have previously popped into someone’s office, perhaps cut a cake, signed a card or presented a certificate or token of recognition – restrictions have forced us to change.

But you can still reinforce staff morale through things like:

  • Sending a token of appreciation (digital gift card, or certificate) via email or a delivery service.
  • Making special mention of the person(s) and their efforts in team meetings, or in a group email.
  • A personal thank you over the phone, or via video call.

It’s easy for employees who are working remotely to feel invisible, especially in a long-term lockdown. Taking the time to recognise and express positive sentiments to your team helps them and their efforts feel recognised and valued.

woman smiling on the phone with a laptop

#3 Remember the benefits of picking up the phone

Email and instant messaging in the workplace have, unsurprisingly, become more widely used.

If used well, these platforms improve the opportunities for simple interaction between your employees, wherever they are.

However, the humble phone call must not be forgotten.

Whether it’s via mobile phone or a video call (VOIP) platform, just hearing a human voice can help with feelings of isolation.

Voice calls are a time efficient means for discussion and negotiation and adding a more personal touch to interactions. Sometimes it can be hard a gauge tone or a priority level when delivered by written text. The humble voice call has not lost its impact.


#4 Supporting and encouraging their wellbeing

You can invest in the wellbeing of your employees in many ways.

This can include (but isn’t limited to):

  • Employee Assistance Programs or equivalent counselling support service.
  • Providing a list of third-party mental health resources (if necessary).
  • Encouraging staff to take breaks.
  • Daily, or routine check-ins.
  • Facilitating social distancing and safe socialising in the workplace (where possible).
  • Rotating workloads.
  • Understanding their leave and pay entitlements when they work from home.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) every £1 invested in treatment for depression and anxiety leads to a return of £4, due to better health and an improved ability to work.

Even though the financial reward is less than this according to Price Waterhouse Coopers, for every £1 spent on creating a mentally and emotionally healthy workplace, companies can have a return of £2.30 in benefits.

These estimates show some encouraging incentives for prioritising wellbeing for your employees, during and beyond a period of lockdown.

Man working from home as flexible employee

#5 The serious prospect of long-term flexibility

As of October 2020, only 30% of UK workers indicated they were considering returning to the office five days a week.

This has already heralded a significant shift in what full time work will look like in future.

With the number of dual-income families in the UK, more often both parents are working, looking after children and older relatives. This group of workers has been nicknamed the ‘Sandwich Generation’.

It should come as no surprise, in ‘The Future Workforce’ Report, a survey of more than 3,000 workers, 77% said flexibility at work is important to them.

For this demographic of employees, flexibility isn’t an “added bonus” it will be essential to meet their needs.

For workplaces who are seeking to enshrine this flexibility, a good place to start would be to develop a home working policy.


The way technology will eventually create more jobs than it has displaced will be supported hugely by the actions of employers.

The support you give to remote workers today and accounting for necessary role flexibility in the long-term will create a well-rounded, more sustainable workforce.


Further Resources