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The (Remote) Employee Experience


The COVID-19 pandemic crisis has confined us to our homes, while at the same time forcing organizations to pull out all the stops to implement teleworking across the board.

David Barroeta, Adjunct Professor of Human Resources and Behavioral Organization at IE Business School. 

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Many employees who had never before worked remotely are now doing the same tasks from their homes that they once performed on-site at their workplaces.

For many, it is a new experience in every sense, including the way in which they now relate to the organization. Technological tools and work protocols adapted to the new situation have taken on unprecedented importance and we now have a new appreciation for the warmth and closeness of our human interactions.

An “experimental” paradigm

Over the past few years, many organizations have made an effort to reorganize the way they manage their people. These efforts have been driven by the “experiential” paradigm, that is, the subjective perception of employees, in an attempt to understand employees’ key moments of contact with the organization and the emotional impact they generate—just like the customer experience.

Our new circumstances provide a good opportunity to think about this model of company-collaborator interaction as another employee journey, running parallel to the face-to-face journey, with new touchpoints and transactions as well as new perceptions and expectations.

Four key actions

Guided by the employee experience management model, now is a good time to undertake four key actions:

  • Redefine a remote employee journey that envisages these new interactions between the employee and the company.
  • Redesign the moments that your collaborators consider relevant in this new environment, which will likely be conditioned by prolonged physical isolation and by the technological tools provided to workers.
  • Emphasize your internal communication practices, which must now account for the lack of physical contact and the uncertainty generated by such a situation. Special attention should be paid to the conversations that will take place in this virtual reality.
  • Redefine your leadership model and management styles, which must now include specific skills for coordinating remote teams.

In short, we must bear in mind that the experience of our collaborators—which ultimately shapes their involvement and their engagement—will be determined not only by the organization’s capacity to organize work under these new circumstances but also by its ability to understand the desires, expectations, fears and uncertainties generated in such an extraordinary situation.