Ever since the start of the COVID 19 pandemic, companies across the globe have grappled with the challenges of adapting to remote or hybrid workplaces.
Regardless of what happens with COVID in the months and years ahead, it’s clear we’re never going back to the way things were before the pandemic. Companies that never would have even considered hiring remote workers three years ago now make it a regular practice.
According to statistics compiled by Zippia.com, there are expected to be 36.2 million American employees working remotely by 2025, up 417% from the 7 million remote workers before the pandemic. The statistics also show that 85% of managers believe that teams of remote workers will become the new norm.
PubSEG never had to make the transition from an on-site to a remote business model. Because we formed during the pandemic, we’ve always operated in a remote environment. But that doesn’t mean we had everything figured out from the start.
“When people are remote, you’re not always sure whether they’re working or not,” says Dawn Stolte, PubSEG’s Senior VP of Operations. “At the beginning, we did have some problems with that.”
But PubSEG quickly took steps to rectify that concern, implementing processes that maximized worker productivity and engagement. It’s one of the reasons we’ve grown steadily as a company these past few years while continuing to attract top-quality talent from throughout the country.
Here are three of the biggest reasons we’ve been able to make the remote model work:
If an employee feels isolated from their co-workers, it’s likely to affect both performance and attitude. This can occur even within a physical workspace, but can be especially harmful in a remote environment.
According to the Zippia statistics, 50% of remote workers feel lonely at least once per week. Among work-from-home employees, 19% listed isolation as their No. 1 problem, and 70% felt left out of their workplace.
PubSEG takes multiple measures to ensure no employee ever feels forgotten or ignored.
“The biggest reason we’re successful with remote work is our communication,” Dawn says. “We communicate with employees throughout the day, with different people posing questions to their teams just to keep everyone involved. By keeping people engaged, they know they always have to be on their A game.”
The downside to this strategy is that employees might think they’re being checked up on, but PubSEG has successfully created an environment where team members don’t feel like they’re being micromanaged.
“I think it’s because everybody is given different responsibilities at different points for helping new people and answering questions,” says Assistant Manager of Operations Caitlin Tucker-Melvin, whose previous roles at PubSEG include contact tracer and Quality & Training Specialist. “This helps each team build a certain amount of camaraderie. People don’t see it as micromanaging.”
Caitlin continues: “It starts with training. From the jump, people are given the expectations that they can reach out to any people any time they need to, but they’re also expected to be available to answer questions from other people. It really makes everybody feel like part of the team.”
Office happy hours, morning watercooler chats, and other morale-building activities might not be the same in a virtual environment as they are in-person, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still occur.
From the beginning, PubSEG has worked hard to create a warm and welcoming workplace, hosting a variety of activities designed to keep employees motivated and engaged. We take our jobs supporting our clients’ disease case management needs extremely seriously, but we also leave plenty of room for laughter.
The mindset stems directly from our parent company, VSA Prospecting, and our Founder and CEO Valerie Schlitt. Ms. Schlitt has always emphasized VSA’s and PubSEG’s core values, one of which is “We build up a workplace that is motivating, supportive, and fun.”
“Valerie established some great practices at VSA back when they were still onsite, and she was able to carry that mentality over to the remote environment,” Dawn says. “We’ve been able to build on that at PubSEG, and that’s been a huge reason we’ve been able to thrive. I do feel like we’ve created a workplace that is motivating, supportive, and fun.”
3. Encouraging a work-life balance
One of the biggest drawbacks of working remotely is there is no physical separation between home and work.
According to the HR Daily Advisor, “Working from home can actually lead to more burnout in some cases. It can be more difficult to mentally switch off at the end of the workday, which can also result in employees working longer hours.”
PubSEG has always emphasized the importance of maintaining a work-life balance. Over the past year we’ve hosted a series of mini-sessions for our employees, focusing on topics such as desk health and video conferencing etiquette to help employees feel both physically and mentally comfortable in their home office environments.
Caitlin is proud of the way PubSEG has dealt with balancing employees’ work and home lives. When handled correctly, she believes it’s far more of a pro than a con.
“Being able to work in the comfort of my own space allows for work/life balance around meals, small breaks for walking or stretching, and getting outside right before or after work,” she says. “This does a lot for my mental health and giving me time for all the other aspects of my life. It also allows me to feel refreshed and focused.”
You can’t build a successful remote work environment without contributions across the entire company, from the team leaders implementing new procedures and policies to the technical department ensuring seamless communication, to the employees whose typical workdays have changed dramatically these past few years.
The PubSEG team has successfully risen to all these challenges while at the same time working to protect our clients and the communities they serve from the ever-evolving COVID virus. Through surges and quieter times, we’ve never lost our focus—no matter how spread out our workforce might be.
If you’d like to learn more about PubSEG and our disease case investigation work with schools, colleges, universities, municipalities, and other organizations, give us a call at 856-240-8117 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to see how we can help.