Technology allows many of us to work from anywhere, but remote work was far from the norm before COVID-19. Then, with the pandemic, companies had to go remote overnight. Now, while some organizations return to the office, many will remain partly or fully remote. And they must continuously check in with employees, investing in engagement and well-being. And surveys are at the core of these practices.
Pre-pandemic, 47% of U.S. workers never worked remotely. Now, the number of people who only work remotely has risen from 17% up to 44%. There are different reasons a company may decide to move to a remote or hybrid model. It may be a matter of workplace culture, a choice to cut back on expenses, a strategy to attract more talent, or a way to prevent the high employee turnover faced by organizations that don’t offer flexibility.
But just going remote isn’t enough to boost employee morale, engagement, and embrace the future of work.
With the right people practices in place, remote work can be productive and fulfilling. But the hardships of the pandemic (including loneliness, loss, and the burnout of juggling work and caretaking duties) proved that a wholesome approach to remote work requires more feedback loops between companies and workers, as well as people-focused management.
In fact, when they are managed effectively, fully remote teams can substantially outperform on-site teams. Management makes the difference between success and failure.
[F]ully and nearly fully remote employees who strongly agree they received meaningful feedback in the past week are 4.6 times as likely to be engaged than those who do not strongly agree. — Managing Remote Teams While Maintaining Company Culture, Gallup.
Employee engagement surveys focused on remote work are crucial for building a strong company culture and helping your team perform at their best while feeling fulfilled at work. These efforts should come not only from executives and People Ops teams, but especially from managers. And developing informed leadership strategies that support high-performing teams requires meaningful data.
You can only benefit from employee surveys if you ask the right questions, listen, and dig deeper. To help you gain insights to support your people, boost alignment, and enable managers to become leaders, Leapsome’s people enablement experts created a list of best-practice questions to ask remote employees.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- How to gather meaningful qualitative and quantitative data about remote work;
- What to ask (and not to ask) remote employees;
- How to analyze survey data and turn it into high-impact initiatives;
- How to present survey results...
And more. 😉
📥 Download the free survey template for remote teams (but keep reading for more insights and an infographic) 👇
What to measure in an employee survey for remote teams?
The template includes questions in the following key categories:
- Crisis management
- Remote connectedness
- Remote manager support
- Remote performance
- Remote well-being
- Remote environment
- Open questions
Enabling the option to add anonymous comments to clarify the chosen scores is a recommended practice, but most questions should be quantitative. This way, you can follow progress and trends over time. Survey participants can assign a score from 1 to 10 for each quantitative question, with 10 being the most favorable outcome.
We also recommend rotating open questions for qualitative insights.
How to send an online survey to remote teams?
We’re happy to provide a free template for you to use in your remote work survey!
The easiest and most time-effective way to set up and send out surveys (including recurring ones) and turn survey data into insights is to use an employee survey platform. The right platform can do the hard work for you while preserving your employees’ anonymity and protecting your company’s data.
A platform with advanced analytics will also help you examine and present findings in an easy-to-visualize way. Even qualitative data can be better understood via sentiment analysis, and a platform like Leapsome will also provide ideas on how to turn insights into action to improve employee engagement, development, and performance.
Other ways to nurture employee engagement and support remote workers
Gallup research shows that companies with high employee engagement levels benefit from the following performance outcomes (and many more):
- 41% lower absenteeism;
- 24% less turnover (in high-turnover organizations);
- 59% less turnover (in low-turnover organizations);
- 70% fewer safety incidents;
- 10% higher customer ratings;
- 17% higher productivity;
- 20% higher sales;
- 21% more profit.
Remote work surveys should not replace thorough employee engagement surveys — these will help you uncover essential insights to boost your people’s engagement (and performance), no matter the work model.
Learn how to run employee engagement surveys and download our free template with 72 best-practice questions for engagement surveys in 22 categories.
Also, check out 39 ideas on how to give employees recognition and appreciation — even remotely. Recognition and appreciation are strong engagement drivers.
Tips for creating surveys for remote teams* (including what not to ask)
- Listen to your employees and be empathetic in all matters they decide to share with you. However, don’t include questions about your employee’s family or other personal issues in your surveys.
- Don’t ask generic questions that don’t reflect an overarching well-being pattern. E.g., “I’m in a good mood” might change day to day or even more often. It also isn’t specific enough to convey a relationship between the respondent’s well-being and their work.
- Surveys should be anonymous, and your employees must know that their privacy is protected to feel comfortable responding. Otherwise, you would risk insincere responses — or no responses at all.
- Although your survey should be anonymous, you might want to know which departments or seniority levels are most responsive. This can help you understand how to get everyone involved and pick up on potential issues.
- Single surveys can address specific situations, but investing in recurring surveys communicates that your interest in employee satisfaction is not a one-time effort.
- Don’t overwhelm your team with a survey that is too extensive. If running a recurrent survey, rotate questions and consider “smart sampling” — meaning that not every participant is asked the same questions.
- With an employee engagement survey tool, you can allow for comments to be left alongside quantitative responses. You can even run them through a sentiment analysis for more actionable insights.
* find more here.
Best-practice questions for remote work surveys
At Leapsome, we ensure that our survey templates are backed by scientific research, driven by best practices, and verified by experts. That’s what you need to get actionable insights and measurable results, and this is what “asking the right questions” means.
📥 Access the best-practice remote work survey questions template.
- I feel well-informed and connected to my company’s overarching mission and goals.
- The management at [company] communicates with everyone working remotely.
- My company offers the right tool stack to enable remote collaboration.
- Working remotely does not have a negative impact on teamwork.
- I feel included in team decisions.
- I feel connected to other team members while working remotely.
- I feel connected to other teams at the company while working remotely.
- I am satisfied with the communication processes chosen by the [company].
- I am satisfied with the communication processes chosen by my team.
Remote manager support
- It is easy for me to get input and feedback from my manager while working remotely.
- My manager is regularly checking in with me (both professionally and personally) while working remotely.
- I have regular 1:1s with my manager.
- I’m happy about the number of 1:1 and team meetings I take part in each week.
- I am able to effectively structure my day while working remotely.
- I find it easy to focus and resist distraction while working remotely.
- I feel productive while working remotely.
- Working remotely does not negatively affect the outcome of my daily work.
- Working remotely does not negatively impact my work morale.
- My expected output and responsibilities are clear to me.
- I have enough time to focus on learning and career development during my typical work week.
- The management at [company] has shown that employee health and well-being are priorities.
- I do not expect remote work to affect my mental health negatively.
- I expect remote work to affect my mental health positively.
- I am able to maintain a good work-life balance while working remotely.
- I am able to take breaks and recharge during my workday.
- I feel supported in adapting my schedule as needed according to caregiving and other personal duties.
Remote work environment
- I have the right equipment (e.g., desk, internet access) and tools to be effective while working remotely.
- I have the right environment (e.g., quiet and distraction-free space) to be effective while working remotely.
- What further support do you need while working remotely (including tech setup and tools)?
- What is one process you would like your team or our company to maintain?
- What is one process you would like your team or our company to stop?
- What are three challenges that you are currently facing while working remotely?
- What is your greatest work-related concern right now?
- What are your suggestions for what [company] could do differently or improve right now?
- Considering your role and responsibilities, how often would you prefer to work from home?
- What is the highlight of a typical day at work (if hybrid: both at home and in the office)?
- What is the lowlight of a typical day at work (if hybrid: both at home and in the office)?
- What do you like the most about working remotely?
- What do you like the least about working remotely?
Crisis management and in-office work
These questions were initially created to help companies navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, but they can be adapted to any sort of crisis.
- I know how to keep safe and healthy at home and/or at the office, considering the COVID-19 pandemic.
- I trust that [company] will always seek to make sufficient adjustments to adapt to a crisis.
- Despite the COVID-19 crisis, I am optimistic about the future of [company].
- Despite the COVID-19 crisis, I am optimistic about remaining employed by [company].
- For hybrid models: I trust that the management at [company] will continuously take the appropriate measures to ensure employee safety in the office.
- For hybrid models: The management at [company] has made the resources I need to work safely from the office available (e.g., masks, sanitizer).
📥 Download the best-practice remote work survey questions template here and access the infographic below. 👇
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— Interested in how you can boost employee engagement even further in your organization, no matter if your team is remote, hybrid, or back at the office? Book a demo and speak with one of our experts.