Creating positive employee experiences in a remote working environment

Laura Kemp, Cluster Manager

Home working has been significantly accelerated this year, with many businesses that would not have been likely to consider a home working model now accepting that it is possible to have an effective remote workforce. The change was forced upon us so rapidly that the initial emphasis was operational, ensuring continuity of service.

Now that teams are set-up to work from home it is important that we understand how to support them, creating an inclusive culture and ensuring wellbeing. Managing a remote workforce brings its own set of challenges, but add to that the strange times we’re all currently living through, with ever changing restrictions, home schooling and not always being able to see loved ones or relax in the ways we’re familiar with, we’re all experiencing additional stresses.

Having an effective wellbeing strategy is a sound investment according to Marie Ranson, director & co-founder Teesside based workplace wellbeing experts – Key Wellbeing.  A Deloitte report recently showed that £1 invested in wellbeing = £5 saved on costs such as sickness days, low engagement, employee burnout and even company reputation.

We recently invited Marie to speak about wellbeing, along with two other employee engagement specialists to offer their words of wisdom, and there was one strong underlying theme; communication.

Communicate regularly with your team, with perhaps weekly or even daily check ins. Make sure your door is open for communication outside of these times so individuals know they can approach you when they are ready to talk.

You can’t communicate too much, but you can do it badly, so make sure it’s meaningful – don’t just pay lip service, really hear what they’re saying and if necessary, act upon it. Naomi Crozier, lead people scientist at Hive HR told us authenticity, compassion and empathy are the key skills leaders will be judged on in the future.

Above all else, remember each member of your team is an individual and needs to be treated as such. Impala’s  remote experience manager Mikaila Read recommends having agreements rather than policies; get your team’s buy in by having them set their own preferences.

Watch the full webinar here for more detail on this, their other recommendations and advice.

Here’s what we cover:

Marie Ranson talks us through:
– The key components of a great workforce wellbeing programme
– Creating confidence amongst managers to handle mental health in the workplace
– Fostering an environment of workforce inclusion whilst remote/hybrid working

You can view Marie’s slides here.

Find out more about their online support hub here.

Naomi Crozier tells us how people-first organisations are engaging employees during Coronavirus:

Employees will be making their biggest ever judgements on the integrity and authenticity of their employer, based on how they are responding to the current global health crisis. And so now, more than ever, businesses need to engage with their people, listen to them, and make them feel supported. In this session, Hive will provide some insight into how true, ‘people-first’ businesses are continuing to use technologies to communicate with and get feedback from their people – and the impact this is having on brand advocacy and engagement.

View Naomi’s slides here:

Mikaila Read shares 3 key takeaways:
– Going Beyond the Virtual Coffee Break; Two remote employee engagement initiatives you haven’t heard of.
– Supplementing Policies with Team Agreements; Why you should intentionally engage your team in setting communication preferences, values, and sub-cultures. (Going ‘Slackless’ in response to ‘work-life integration’ & our remote communication agreements.)
– What’s In Our Remote Working Guide?; Self-assessment tools, home-office ergonomic tips, time management apps, ‘switching off’ guidance, and pledge sheets you’ll want to steal asap etc.

View Mikaila’s slides here:

And the additional resources shared; Mikaila’s favourite icebreakers, games, and so on (; the power of team agreements (; ‘switching off’ guidance and ‘proper wind-down pledge sheet,’ (; what your own Remote Experience Manager can lead day-to-day (; and No Small Talk: A Card deck for diving deeper

Whilst this has been a tough year for many businesses it has also presented us with a fantastic opportunity to reinvent the way in which we work and what we expect from our employees. We’ve learned we can offer flexible working and still be productive, that whilst many enjoy an office environment some prefer to work from home and we’re no longer bound by a 9-to-5 office working model.

I’ll leave you with that thought while I go to check how my kids are getting on with their home schooling….

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