The Importance of the Remote Employee Experience, and How to Improve It

Unlock the secret to enhancing the remote employee experience. Find our tips, strategies, & solutions for a thriving work culture

February 21, 2024
Press the button to generate random icebreaker questions.
There are 300 more icebreaker questions at the bottom of the article
How would you describe your job to a five year old?
What season would you be?
What is a weird food you have tried? Would you eat it again?
What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Would you go in the mother-ship with aliens if they landed on Earth tomorrow?
What is your favorite season?
Do prefer working from home or the office?
What is your earliest memory of this job?
What is the best thing you have bought so far this year?
What is the earliest book you remember?
If you had to move to another country, which one would you choose?
You are the best criminal mastermind in the world. What crime would you commit if you knew you would get away with it?
What is your favorite movie genre to watch?
What was the last thing you ate?
What person from history would you add to Mount Rushmore?
What is a weird fact you know?
What is your favorite part of working from home?
Were the Spice Girls a good team?
Imagine you can instantly learn any language. Which would you choose?
If you could live in any state, which state would you pick?
Which fictional team is the best team of all time?
What did you want to be when you grew up?
What do you usually eat for a quick lunch?
What simple food will you never eat?
Show us the weirdest thing you have in the room with you right now.
Would you rather stay at a hotel or an AirBNB?
What is your favorite movie genre to watch?
Are you more productive in the morning or at night?
Who is someone in your community that makes a difference?
Who was your most unique pet?
Choose one famous person from history you want on your team during a zombie apocalypse.
What is a good way to give back to the community?
Which song could you listen to over and over again?
Is Hugh Grant funny?
What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
Would you want to have an imaginary friend today? Did you have one as a child?
What actor or actress would you want to play you in the movie about your life?
What is the best super power?
What is your New Years resolution?
You can only eat one food again for the rest of your life. What is it?
What is the best work holiday?
What is the first gift you remember receiving?
Would you rather join Metallica or Backstreet Boys?
What is the best example of a community you have seen?
What is an easy way to do something nice for someone?
Show us your phone background and tell the story behind why you picked this image.
What was your first job?
Pick any band to play at your funeral.
If you could have an unlimited supply of one thing for the rest of your life, what would you pick?
Which superpower would you give to your arch enemy?
What is the most obscure superpower you would want?
What emoji best describes how you are feeling right now?
If you could live in any country, which country would you pick?
Would you rather live in a city or a town?
What is your favorite holiday?
What is something you accomplished as part of a team?
What is your standard office lunch?
What is your most used phone app?
What is your favorite season?
Have you ever won something as a team?
Imagine you are a professional baseball player. What is your introduction song?
Beach holiday or ski trip?
Have you ever been to a funny comedy show?
Would you rather live at the North Pole or the South Pole?
What is your favorite song to sing?
If you could live in any state, which state would you pick?
Imagine you could teleport anywhere. Where would you go right now?
What is the most unusual job you have heard of?
What was the last thing you ate?
You can visit any fictional time or place. Which would you pick?
What do your family and friends think you do all day?
What movie do you wish you could watch again for the first time?
Show us your most-used emoji.
What was the most unique style or fashion trend you ever embraced?
What movie defined your generation?
You are stranded on a remote desert island. Are you alone or with your worst enemy?
What is your favorite knock-knock joke?
Have you ever told someone Santa is not real?
Do you know how to speak more than one language?
On a scale of 1 – 10, how much of a team player are you?
What is your #1 recommendation in this city?
What is your favorite holiday?
What bucket list item do you most want to check off in the next six months?
What is your favorite mythical creature?
What was the first way you made money?
If you could be great at any Olympic sport, which would it be?
Which song could you listen to over and over again?
When did you start liking/hating mushrooms?
Where is your favorite vacation spot?
Do you take your PTO all at one time, or another way?
Which show do you remember most from your childhood?
Which beverage goes best with pizza?
Would you want to have a personal assistant follow you around everywhere and do what you asked of them?
Have you ever met your idol?
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Would you rather live 100 years in the past or 100 years in the future?
What is your hobby?
When you are alone in the car, what volume is the music at?
Imagine you no longer have to work. How would you spend a Tuesday?
What is your favorite type of sandwich?

In fall 2023, more than half (53.2%) traded office chairs for comfy couches. Most of them were doing the hybrid work thing and going into the office a couple of days a week. However, there was still a good chunk (19.6%) who had bid farewell to the office completely and fully embraced remote work.

But let's be real. Remote work isn't all smooth sailing. It brings its own set of issues. Your team might grapple with isolation, feel overwhelmed by digital tech, or struggle to balance their work and home lives.

No worries, though. We're not here to dwell on problems but to provide solutions. In this guide, we're giving you the lowdown on all things concerning the remote employee experience—what it is, why remote culture matters, and some winning strategies for HR leaders to improve it. 

Sound good? Great, then let’s get started.

What's the employee experience?

Every single employee at your company has their own experience. Whether it's in-person or virtual, they're continually interacting with you, the employer. The employee experience is the cumulative result of these interactions.

The significance of these experiences and how they affect staff well-being can determine whether it's a good or bad day at work. Feeling appreciated, fulfilled, stressed, or burnt out—all these are aspects of an employee's experience.

Why does the employee experience matter?

The employee experience isn't just about keeping employees engaged and working hard. No, it's much more than that. It can enhance crucial metrics such as retention, turnover, and even productivity.

When individuals have a positive experience with your company, they’ll invest more effort, deliver superior work, and be inclined to stay with you for an extended duration. Let's face it, what company wouldn't want that?

Now, throw remote work into the mix, and employees have more options than ever before. They can work from anywhere, be it their living room or, in some cases, a beach in Bali. This has resulted in 98% of remote workers stating they’d like to keep working remotely at least some of the time and the same amount saying they’d recommend remote working to a friend.  

This places a heightened responsibility on companies to go the extra mile to maintain a positive remote work experience.

How does remote work affect the employee experience?

Establishing a positive culture for remote workers poses several challenges. These include:

Feelings of isolation 

Being on the remote work train can sometimes make you feel like a lone wolf, missing those water cooler moments. Sure, we all rolled our eyes at the Friday afternoon drinks when they were happening, but now they’re gone, many people feel isolated.

But don’t just take our word for it: Microsoft found that 55% of hybrid employees and 50% of the fully remote crew admit to feeling lonelier now than when they were office regulars. 

The absence of casual interactions and impromptu conversations has created a void, leaving individuals yearning for the social connections that once flourished in a traditional office setting. As virtual workspaces become the norm, finding effective ways to alleviate these feelings of isolation is crucial.

Work/life balance

The boundaries between the professional and personal often blur when it comes to remote working. One example is that a lot of people struggle to unplug. A staggering 44% of remote workers were working more in 2023 than the year before, and one in five reported feeling burned out. 

The same study found that many remote workers checked their work emails outside their designated hours. Weekends were no exception, with 63% immersed in work-related correspondence. Even vacations provided no escape, with 34% unable to resist the pull of their professional inboxes.

Team collaboration 

Fostering a collaborative culture can be another major hurdle when team members are physically scattered around the country (sometimes even the world). One survey revealed that 43% of leaders thought that building relationships posed the greatest challenge with remote and hybrid work. 

The struggle isn't just about coordinating tasks either: it's also about maintaining a sense of teamwork and connection in a dispersed landscape.

Overcoming this requires innovative strategies and technologies to ensure your team remains interconnected, engaged, and able to collaborate effectively despite geographical constraints. 

Proximity bias

The idea that remote work might impede career growth is another persistent concern, and Owl Labs' 2022 findings underscore this worry: 48% of remote workers fear their voices won't be heard, harboring the belief that their in-office counterparts enjoy more opportunities for professional advancement. 

They're not that far off either. The same study found that 49% of workers are more likely to ask the opinion of those they physically work with over their remote colleagues. 

How to improve the remote employee experience

Okay, so we’ve established that a lot of people love remote working. We’ve also seen that it’s not all flowers and rainbows and that there are certain challenges HR teams need to overcome to improve the remote employee experience. 

In this next section, we’re going to give you the low-down by sharing our top strategies to do this. 

#1 Revamp your onboarding

When it comes to bringing in fresh talent and kickstarting their training, the onboarding process heavily shapes the overall atmosphere of your workplace. 

  • Assign a remote mentor. Offer your new remote sales crew members a personalized introduction to your company courtesy of a designated mentor. The mentor’s role includes offering guidance and being readily available for meetings, with an open calendar during the first onboarding stretch.
  • Harness training videos. Leverage training videos, too, for efficient information delivery. These could be about specific aspects of the job, like how to use your lead management solution or other technology your company has introduced, or about your company culture and collaboration opportunities. Be sure to maintain a constant feedback loop with your new hires to ensure they feel connected despite your virtual setup.
  • Articulate your remote mission. This might involve highlighting the unique contributions of each remote employee and emphasizing your core company values.

#2 Set the stage for remote employee success

For your grand ideas to take flight, you and your team need the right tools. Building a strong remote work culture means making sure your employees have what they need to get the job done. 

Here's a list of necessities to keep your remote team in the game:

  • Laptop or desktop computer
  • Reliable, secure internet access
  • Paper and other office supplies
  • Quality webcam and computer microphone (if not integrated into the computer)
  • Ergonomic desk and office chair
  • A reliable team communications platform

#3 Establish a clear remote work policy

Now your team is geared up for remote work success, it’s time to outline the ground rules. In the same way that you’d have an HR checklist for startups, give your remote employees a policy document to keep them in the loop. Share this digitally, ensuring your team understands and signs off on it. 

Here are key areas your remote work policy should cover.

  • Communication guidelines. Specify preferred communication channels (e.g. email, messaging apps, or video calls). Establish response time expectations for emails and messages and encourage regular check-ins to maintain team connection.
  • Scheduling policies. Define the core working hours your remote employees will have to be around for. Be sure to provide flexibility, but clarify expectations on availability. You’ll also want to carefully outline the process for requesting time off or adjusting working hours.
  • Use of tools and equipment. Detail approved tools for virtual collaboration in your business, such as Assembly, Slack, or Zoom. Address the responsibility for maintaining and securing company-provided equipment and don’t forget to include a clause on your reimbursement process for necessary work expenses.

By introducing a remote work policy, you’ll set clear expectations from the offset, which can improve productivity and happiness. 

#4 Set clear collaboration guidelines

As remote work becomes the norm, the massive amount of communication tools on offer can be both a blessing and a curse. While these often provide tailored solutions, managing multiple channels can nonetheless overwhelm remote workers who are already juggling various tasks. 

To streamline collaboration without causing chaos, consider the following.

  • Choose unified platforms. Opt for popular collaboration platforms with corporate account options. This will simplify team communication while respecting your employees’ work/life balance.
  • Utilize the time management matrix. Prioritize tasks based on urgency and importance to optimize productivity and allocate time effectively.
  • Clarify collaboration policies. As mentioned above, you’ll want to have some policies in place so your remote workers are in the know. In terms of collaboration, specify approved collaboration tools for work purposes and clearly outline expectations for response times and posting frequency.
  • Streamline virtual meetings. By communicating the amount and frequency of scheduled virtual meetings, you’ll reduce any ambiguity (and hopefully any feelings of isolation) by defining where and how often these will occur.

#5 Strengthen virtual bonds with online team-building

Traditional team events might seem like a distant memory to remote workers—but fear not. You can still foster a sense of community among your virtual employees through imaginative online activities, including virtual team building events. 

Here are some ideas:

  • Unwind with a virtual happy hour, transcending geographical boundaries for some relaxed team bonding.
  • Host a virtual trivia competition featuring questions related to each team's domain specialties.
  • Arrange sessions where team members from different locations share insights about their respective cultures.

By embracing these ideas, you'll not only strengthen virtual bonds but alleviate the feeling of proximity bias that many remote employees experience. 

TIP: Check out our ‘How to Win at Virtual Collaboration’ guide for more great ideas.

Final thoughts

So, there you have it: our complete guide to the remote employee experience. We’ve considered the perks and challenges, from the bliss of flexibility to the difficulties of isolation and proximity bias. 

Remember, remote employee engagement may not be smooth sailing, but it’s far from impossible. Simply revamp your onboarding, gear up your team, establish clear policies, and infuse some virtual fun into team-building—these are your keys to forging a successful remote work adventure.

By embracing these strategies, you should witness a positive shift in your workers’ experiences. They'll be happier, more engaged, and more satisfied with their remote setup too.

Ready to elevate your team's performance? Then our award-winning employee engagement solution can help you do just that. You can celebrate achievements, keep your staff in the know, and nominate your top performers all from one seamless solution. Why not book a demo today? 

Browse our Free Employee Recognition Guide

Get the foundational knowledge on creating an employee recognition program that boosts employee engagement and helps them feel valued.

Explore Guide
Employee recognition guide

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Assembly SOC 2 compliant?

Yes, at Assembly, security is a top priority. Each quarter, we have ongoing security work that is everyone’s responsibility. While we maintain a strong security posture, it was important for us to prove to our customers that we do everything we claim to do. This led us to pursue a SOC 2 Type II report that would provide evidence of our compliance with industry gold-standard security practice.

What's the ROI for employee recognition?

There is study after study showing that employee recognition leads to increased engagement. This in return creates an environment where employees are happier and more motivated which increase productivity and reduces voluntary turnover significantly. In order to filled critical roles, companies tend to spend nearly twice the value of an annual salary. Assembly is an investment in your employees that supports your bottom line.

Does Assembly offer longer-term contracts?

Yes, we will offer contracts for companies with longer-term agreements to help larger customers have more certainty around future costs.

The minimum agreement term is a 12-month subscription.

Does Assembly offer onboarding support?

We do and for FREE! Any new customer needing further support to get started with Assembly to ensure you're set up for success can request custom onboarding support. Improving your employee experience is about much more than just using our amazing software; it’s about transforming your business to create a workplace that people love. That’s much easier to do with the personal support and advice from our passionate people experts.

Is there a free version of Assembly?

Yes. We offer a completely free plan for up to 50 team members. This plan is intended for teams or organizations that are looking to get started with an employee engagement tool. Keep in mind, this plan is limited in features.

All customers can open an Assembly account for free and get started without a credit card. Then you can change plans as necessary.

How much do rewards cost?

At the time of redemption (when your employees exchange their points for a paid reward) you'll pay face value. If a reward is a $10 Amazon gift card, your cost will be $10. All paid rewards are billed for on a monthly basis.

The good news is that you don't have to pay for rewards upfront because we only charge you when points are redeemed, not when they're earned.

Does Assembly offer discounts?

We offer discounts or educational or charitable organizations. In order to secure a discount, you'll first need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

For all other organizations, we are willing to consider longer-term agreements in exchange for discounts. To set up annual plans or longer, you will need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

How do I cancel my plan if needed?

If you're on a month to month plan, you can go here and cancel anytime. If you're having concerns or need help setting up your account for success, you can always book a demo with a customer support specialist.

If you're on a longer-term custom plan, you'll need to reach out to your customer support specialist to cancel your account or email us at support@joinassembly.com.

What customizations are available?

Great question! You can customize your core values to match your organization's to boost and track alignment. You can change your currency from the 🏆 emoji (our default) to any emoji of your choice. You can swap our logo for your own. You can also set up company culture rewards such as, "Lunch with the CEO," "Buy a book on us," and so much more!

Who can give or receive recognition?

While we recommend a peer to peer set up where anyone in your organization can give or receive recognition, you can set up Assembly however you want. If you need to limit the people who can give or receive recognition, that's perfectly fine and can be done from your Admin, here.

What integrations are available?

Assembly connects to the tools your employees use every day to offer an easy, seamless experience with minimal change management.  

Assembly has integrations with HCM/HRIS systems like ADP, Google, Office 365, and Slack. We also integrate with communication tools like Slack and Teams so you and your employees can access Assembly wherever they work now.

What's your average adoption rate?

That depends on the company's permissions set up. That said, over 90% of the employees on Assembly's platform are recognized on a monthly basis. That means nearly every employee across all of our customers are receiving regular recognition from their peers, managers, or leadership. We're extremely proud of this.

Must rewards be set up to use Assembly?

They are not required. You can use Assembly without having rewards set up. However, we don't recommend it if you intend to have a high adoption and usage rate. You can always keep the costs down by offering internal culture rewards that are fulfilled by you internally.

Are points required to use Assembly?

No, you can remove allowances from anyone or everyone. It's up to you but we do recommend using points whether they're worth a real dollar value or not. Companies that use points have a much higher engagement rate even if those points don't exchange for real dollars.

Could find the answer you are looking for?

Please schedule time with an expert and we will help you to get all your questions answered