Using Surveys to Support Remote Workers During Challenging Times

Philip Cleave
April 21, 2020

While remote working had already been growing rapidly – with a rise of 159% since 2005 and 11x faster than the rest of the workforce, the recent unprecedented change forced on businesses due to the emergence and rapid spread of Covid-19, means more people than ever before are currently having to work remotely.

When implemented effectively remote working allows firms to operate very much ‘business as usual’, with fully engaged and productive employees, and their customers experiencing no drop off in the service they receive. However, the level of success they’re able to achieve can vary depending on how well they have equipped and set up their staff for remote working. This is especially true for those that are new to this way of working and have not had as much planning time as they would like before introducing it.

At this point obtaining as much feedback from your employees as you can is vital, in order to better understand what challenges, they may be facing. An online employee survey is a great way of achieving this. From their satisfaction with the equipment, processes and security you’ve put in place to enable them to perform their jobs and connect with others, to their levels of happiness with the remote support you’re providing and instruction they’ve received from your leadership team. With the right survey and questions, you’ll be much better informed to know how they’re feeling and where you need to improve your support, to develop a happier and more productive remote workforce.

To help put you on the right track with your remote working policy, we’ve outlined some great questions below that you might like to include in your own online survey. We’ve also explained why we’ve included them, together with some further suggested questions that you might like to run alongside them.

Eight Great Questions to Help You Improve Your Support for Remote Workers

What’s your work setup like?

Follow up questions could include:

  • Are there any extra pieces of equipment or process improvements we could make to make life better for you?
  • Are there any technology issues you have encountered, that you might like to expand on?

With a work setup question, you’re able to gain a better insight into what you can do to help optimise your setup and workflow. It can also help encourage remote employees to speak to one another, and swap and learn from each other’s setup tips.

How strong and consistent are our information systems?

Follow up questions could include:

  • What apps do you most use in your daily workflow? – Slack, JIRA, Microsoft Teams, etc?
  • Do you ever feel confused about which systems you should be using?

Consistency of communications is extremely important when working remotely. So, this question will help you to spot if there’s any misunderstanding or confusion among your remotely located staff that you need to resolve.

In your opinion, are our meetings remote-friendly?

Follow up questions could include:

  • Is you audio clear?
  • Is your video clear?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how easy is it for you to contribute during a meeting?

This question can help you to assess the performance of your remote meeting capabilities and whether you need to improve your equipment, tools or set up to help staff carry out meetings online.

Who are you connecting most often with at work?

Follow up questions could include:

  • Are there co-workers or departments you wish you had more of a connection with?
  • Who do you go to when you need support, or have suggestions to improve processes or other ways of working?

This question looks to delve into the support networks that are provided for remote workers. By asking this specific question and its follow up suggestions, you will get a better idea for whether you need to build out your support network.

How is your daily routine?

Follow up questions could include:

  • What do you do to take breaks/recharge?
  • Are you able to fully disconnect when on vacation or at the end of the day?

Energy management is also important when working remotely. When work and life are blended, it’s all too easy to experience burnout. With this question you’re able to check whether staff have delineated boundaries for starting and finishing work, and ensure they have a healthy work/life balance.

What would you like to learn more about regarding our team or company?

Follow up questions could include:

  • Has any news surprised you recently?
  • How included do you feel in team decisions?

Good information flows are crucial when working remotely, as otherwise it’s all too easy for people to feel out of the loop. With this question you’re able to see if there are any further channels you need to include to help improve this flow.

Are you comfortable with and understand the security policy that you need to follow?

Follow up questions could include:

  • How easy did you find our security steps to follow?
  • Do you think there is anything we could have done better?

Security is also crucial, not only for your employees and your wider business, but in protecting your customers’ data too. So, whatever steps you have taken to protect your systems and data, whether that’s deploying a VPN or remote desktops, to employing two-factor authentication or a secure online password generator and storage platform. It’s essential that everyone understands how to use them and is familiar with your practices, which this question will enable you to get to the bottom of.

What do you like best and least about working remotely?

Follow-up questions:

  • What is the high point of a typical day (for example, yesterday)?
  • What is the low point of a typical day (for example, yesterday)?

Last, but not least, when you’re working remotely, it’s important to keep focused and motivated. By asking questions such as those above, you’ll be much better able to know what could be affecting the motivation levels of your employees and in a position to create a more stimulating environment for them.

Final Thoughts on Supporting Remote Workers During Difficult Times

During times of unprecedented challenge like the one we’re currently facing, it’s vital that firm’s keep communicating effectively, if they’re to keep their businesses operating smoothly. So, the performance of your remote workers is critical, if you’re going to achieve this.

Fortunately, if you’re using the correct communication channels and have employed an effective feedback process with the right survey and questions to better assess how your remote workers are coping, you’ll be in a better position to give them the support they need. And even if you haven’t yet implemented a feedback process and have already noticed a slight dip in your employees’ engagement levels, it’s never too late to implement one and to help re-engage them.

While it’s an extremely tough situation that we’re all going through currently, with the right remote working policy and support processes in place, you’ll put your business in the best possible position to get through all of this even stronger.


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If you would like more information then please get in touch.