Remote Working: making it work for your employees

Remote Working: making it work for your employees

remote worker happy

Remote Work in an Experience Economy

In traditional office setups, employee engagement continues to be low. Active disengagement or even sabotage of work processes seems to be the norm for 20-25% of the workforce. Only 15% are engaged. Daunting numbers indeed and these numbers have been low for decades.

In response, many companies have been trying out ways to engage workers more, including providing options to work from non-office locations, from home or in co-working spaces. This Remote Working is not a trend, but is here to stay and intensify in the years to come.

At the same time we live in an Experience Economy: it’s the experience around the workplace that is becoming more and more important. Increasingly, the main reason for people to leave a company is the lack of flexibility and a benevolent culture.

A recent study about engagement also found that the experience around the workplace is getting more and more important for workers. More so than earning good money.

But how do you create that experience when people do not work together, physically, in that workplace? Self-motivation and focus is a big issue for people who work remotely.  So we have a major issue here for companies. An issue  that can cost them billions of dollars annually: more and more remote working, but a lack of engagement of these workers. 

Something has to change and fast. But what?

We already shared some guidelines about remote work setups , but we need to take it a big step forward.


Remote working:  costly long distance relationship?

If millions of people work many miles away from their peers, what needs to change in remote workplace engagement to ensure that they are productive and happily so? In the office there is a lot of social control, and “boss control”, to get people to work. And meeting colleagues at work at least gives some of the intrinsic fun to compensate for the behavior of some gnarly bosses.

But what if you sit at home by yourself? How do you stay motivated and focused? Many people find that difficult and fall prey to procrastination, playing games or just spacing out. 


It’s the system, stupid!

Many companies rely on CRM systems and other internal cooperation and communication tools for (remote) workers to do their job.Sometimes it is the ONLY communication tool with their (remote) workers. So when we discuss employee motivation we need to talk about the CRM systems they are facing during their workflow..

Now the problem is that these systems are mostly not suited for remote workers. Here are 2 reasons why:


Reason 1: CRM systems focus on efficiency only

Have you ever seen a truly engaging CRM system? The kind that you are looking forward to using every day? The kind that makes you interact with it for fun? In the long run? I bet you haven’t.

Most CRM systems look like this:



And this:


Remote work CRM

They do a few things very well: create nice graphs, to-do lists and progress indicators. They excel in making you feel accomplished. You are achieving progress, and are getting things done (Octalysis Core Drive 2: Accomplishment) on the digital to-do list. 

The problem is…that is all they do. To-do lists make you feel smart and in control, but it is a linear experience that mainly creates short term motivation. And if you have been ticking off to-do lists all day long, the motivation drops, and drops hard.  There is no mid to long term motivation. Definitely no fun and engaging user journeys for workers. Let alone for remote workers, who you have to engage from a distance. 

Despite systems like Salesforce being deployed worldwide successfully, long term sales numbers are not achieved by many companies that use Salesforce. The Octalysis Group gets asked to create designs that make CRM systems truly fun and engaging and we have done so successfully for a number of clients


Often the teams of these clients worked remotely or semi-remotely, and used to suffer from failing KPIs and demotivation. Applying the right human-focused design is the answer. Don’t just focus on adding a few game mechanics to clunky systems, a practice we unfortunately still see a lot.


Reason 2: Current CRM systems are not designed for remote workers

Systems at work still assume that there is an engaging office setting around the CRM system that will make people deal with the hardships of daily work life. Even in a non-remote setting, the assumption of “an engaging office setting” falls flat. But perhaps at least your bosses, especially if they have a ‘human’ touch, can create engagement with the right approach. 

In remote settings this ‘human touch’ is mainly absent and you are left with a boring CRM system and a manager checking your KPIs on his (evenly) boring CRM manager dashboard.


A New Hope for Remote Work?

We have seen that employee facing systems are not engaging at all. CRMs have functional, linear, boring interfaces. Remote working intensifies this issue even more, as office based social control is lacking.

So we need to design a system that creates engagement throughout your daily workflow. A system with interesting things to experience and to learn alongside your tasks. A place full of delightful surprises and exciting co-working challenges. Where you always know how you are performing, not just versus your bosses’ goals, but versus your own choices and interests as well? 

This is not just a pipe dream and not just a gimmicky thought. With more and more people working remotely, designing a system like that is a must. It will leave your staff happier and more productive. Yes, you need to give them a little bit more freedom and rely on their sense of responsibility. But I assume that is why you hired them in the first place. Right?

We can help you design a truly engaging user experience for your current CRM system. Not only do we get human motivation and design. The Octalysis Group works fully remote and has done so for the last 10 years. 

We know your pains and how to solve them. We have design experience in creating truly engaging user experiences on any CRM system. Salesforce, Zoho, SAP and many more.

Gift yourself and your remote workers the happiness of being engaged and productive, remotely.

For more information contact us to discuss how we can help.

Leave a comment