Home office – good news for some, torment for others. And since the outbreak of the pandemic, it is a necessity to almost everyone. Neither the companies nor the employees had time to properly prepare for remote work, which applies both to the equipment and conditions, and (maybe even above all) mental preparation. Are the consequences of this visible after nearly a year after the start of the lockdown? Research by the Reuters institute shows that:

42% of people working remotely reported a decline in creativity. 77% of respondents believe that home office makes it difficult to build relationships in a team, which not only reduces the quality of work, but also causes… conflicts.

The purpose of this article is not to prove that remote work is a bad idea with only negative consequences. It’s actually quite the opposite – we want to show that by using modern technologies – including the possibility of conducting online surveys, you can have things under control when it comes to the employees working from home, and also make the most of this time – for the benefit of both, the company and the team.

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Why does remote work create problems?

Based on the results of the Reuters Institute survey, several basic problems related to remote work can be listed. Let’s divide them into two groups – the first one relates to the difficulties faced by employees:

  • lack of proper working conditions – although most companies equip their employees with the necessary devices, e.g. a laptop, telephone, most of them are not able to create conditions at home that are identical to working in an office. The problem may be not only the technology, including the quality of the Internet connection, but also the presence of other household members or roommates,
  • replacing direct contact with co-workers and superiors, email exchange and chatting which makes it difficult to understand emotions and creates conflicts,
  • changing the meeting mode to virtual, and at the same time the need to “learn” how to use new software, and replace training courses and meetings with webinars, which is a big challenge for people who have led and participated in meetings in a traditional way (face to face) throughout their careers,
  • problem with the separation of work and private life – the feeling that the employee never “leaves” work,
  • decline in creativity caused by a lack of direct contact with other team members and a problem with recreating the so-called brainstorming (especially severe for professions that require creativity – e.g. graphic designers, animators, marketing employees).

The second group is problems that relate to decision-makers and the entire functioning of the organization:

  • no possibility of on-going monitoring of the work of the team as much as when working in the office,
  • difficult assessment of the work of subordinates – no direct contact,
  • necessity to resign from benefits, increasing the level of motivation in the team, e.g. Multisport cards, delivery of fruit to the office, etc.
  • no possibility to organize team-building activities, such as regular meetings, events.

How does an online survey help with remote work?

Online contact will never replace working directly with your own team. However, there are tools that can compensate for the shortcomings and minimize the negative aspects of remote work. One of them is the online survey.

As experts in the area of employee research, we have distinguished three basic types of HR research that will help in solving the previously mentioned problems and facilitate the organization and course of everyday remote work: 

  1. Pulse Check Survey 

This is the most universal research we suggest used by HR during home office. Thanks to it, you can quickly explore all areas important for the company, such as: organization, commitment, evaluation, development and relationships.

Employee Pulse Check is a test that characterizes brevity and high frequency. It is carried out in the so-called waves, much more often than the traditional satisfaction survey, because every quarter, month, and even – every week. 

Employee Mood Testing

This type of examination is primarily used for a simple and quick diagnosis of problems that each employee may struggle with. In the absence of direct contact, based on the exchange of emails or even video calls, it is difficult to assess the mental condition of the team members. Therefore, the advantages of examining the employee’s mood include:

  • simple method of conducting the survey – sent regularly to the employee’s email address,
  • access to a ready template with the possibility of adapting it to the specifics of the company or even department,
  • easy comparison of test results over time, thanks to which you can quickly notice mood drops or disturbing symptoms in a single employee or, for example, in a team or department,
  • greater freedom of expression – it is easier for an employee to share real emotions and impressions in a survey than during a face-to-face conversation.
  1. Remote work report

This is a powerful tool of the employer, which will appeal specifically to those employees who want to maintain maximum control over the team’s work. The sample survey includes questions about aspects of home office areas – performing daily duties, place and preparation for work, planning breaks or even the employee’s mood.

The remote work report survey will be perfect for:

  • large organizations where other form of employee control is impossible due to their number,
  • in industries where timely execution of tasks is of key importance,
  • in companies where there was a problem with enforcement of official duties,
  • for new or recently hired employees who need more attention and control when taking their first career steps in your company.

Internal communication in the company during remote work

In addition to the examples mentioned above, surveys can also be used for improvement of internal communication in a team in remote work mode. Online forms can come in handy in such situations as:

  • organization of office work – e.g. when someone wants to come to the office, if there is a limit of people in the rooms,
  • online voting e.g. employee of the year, the most friendly person, etc., i.e. all internal company polls, which, despite the change in working conditions, may take place as usual. 
  • arranging virtual meetings – an attempt to replace team-building outings and shared coffee in the office kitchen with online meetings. The survey will help you choose the most optimal date and time and vote for the activity you want to organise together (e.g. viewing photos from last year, drinking coffee, online karaoke, games)

Use employee research to improve remote work

When conducting research in Startquestion, you have access to several dozen ready-made survey templates thanks to which HR questionnaires can be ready for mailing in just minutes. The survey patterns can be adapted to the needs of the organization in a very simple way, by adding questions, changing their order and content, etc. 

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