The COVID-19 pandemic has enforced an unprecedented shift to remote work. Almost two-thirds of the American workforce were working from home by the end of April, according to Gallup data. As restrictions loosen, businesses are faced with a choice—go back to how things were before or experiment by keeping some elements of their business remote.
These decisions can’t just be made in the boardroom. It’s important to find out how employees feel about remote work and what they want companies to do to help them adapt faster. That’s why many businesses will be considering sending out an employee pulse survey.
What Remote Work Really Means
Before sending out any WFH survey to employees, a business needs to be clear what options are available—much will depend on your industry and employees’ specific roles. Is a remote-first approach sustainable long-term or will telecommuting need to remain a rare occurrence for some/all employees?
You’ll also want to know what timescales you’re talking about. Many employees are naturally afraid of Coronavirus, and so are eager to continue telecommuting in the short-term. This doesn’t mean you’ll have employee buy-in for increased working from home in the longer-term.
Here’s a more detailed look at the pros and cons of moving to a remote-first workforce.
Why Conduct a Work From Home Employee Survey?
The primary drivers of a new remote work policy will be safety concerns and potential productivity—but that doesn’t mean that employee opinion isn’t important. Making big changes without employee support could lead to high employee disengagement. Even if you already have a good idea of your ideal set-up, asking employees for their opinion shows respect and allows employees to feel involved.
You may also be surprised by their opinion—depending on an employee’s role and personality, telecommuting can be anything from frustrating to liberating. Opinions will likely also depend on an employee’s childcare situation, home-office set-up and the length of their commute.
Employee Pulse Survey Questions for Working Remotely
An employee pulse survey on work from home gives employers the opportunity to cover a range of topics. Think of it not just as a chance to gauge opinion but also an opportunity to discover ways you can increase productivity:
- What do they think about remote work?
The first question is easy: do employees enjoy working from home? While the COVID-19 public health crisis means that this hasn’t been a normal time for anyone, newly remote employees will likely have learned a lot about whether telecommuting appeals to them.
- How have they managed to adapt?
Of course, it’s not all about enjoyment. You also need to know to what extent employees are able to replicate their normal roles from home, and whether it brings any added difficulty.
- What can the company do to help this?
Even if employees don’t feel they have adapted well, there may be simple fixes. Ask how the company can help—this could be better communication, new work processes or by providing more equipment.
- What equipment do they need?
The rush to remote work means that many employees didn’t have time to create an effective home office. The remote work experience could be drastically improved by a second monitor, a printer or an ergonomic office chair. Of course, be careful of setting expectations too high if you’re not in a position to provide these.
Creating a Working From Home Survey Template
To save HR leaders time, we’ve prepared a template with sample questions to ask your employees. Download now and customize the text to your needs. You may want to use an online survey creator to send the questions to employees electronically.