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Productivity From Workers Shouldn’t Take a Dive When They’re Remote
We’re all working from home more than ever before, even as lockdowns are lifted around the world. Many organizations rushed to embrace remote work as soon as the coronavirus pandemic started. Still, now, it’s time to improve your remote work strategy as opposed to having an ad-hoc approach. After all, the majority of organizations will continue working remotely – at least to some degree – for the foreseeable future.
Why Continue Working Remotely?
Essentially, most organizations will still embrace remote work as a way to maintain social distancing, and therefore, keep their team members safe. Also, most organizations are enjoying the benefits of remote work in terms of:
- No commutes, which means more time spent productively working
- Greater employee satisfaction, and in turn, less turnover
- Fewer expenses associated with large office spaces and supplies
How To Increase Productivity For Remote Workers
If you’re worried about productivity going forward, especially now that remote work is here to stay, here are a few tips to help you increase productivity for remote workers:
Encourage Regular Breaks
This may surprise you, but people tend to work more productively with regular breaks than working straight for hours on end. When you’re home, it’s easy to forget when work starts and ends. This can result in working far too many hours at a time, and in turn, starting to lose focus and make mistakes. Encourage breaks during the day.
Decide On A Schedule
Although each employee may have different availability, try to aim for a standard schedule for each person. This way, everyone knows when they’re going to be available to help, answer questions, or join meetings. Naturally, they may have more distractions sometimes, but a standard schedule for each employee helps keep tasks moving along.
Keep Staff Members Engaged
Schedule some time each week for an activity that keeps your staff members engaged, such as a contest, virtual lunch-hour, or even “social time” over a video conference call. For many, social distancing is difficult because they’re not able to connect with others the way they’re used to. This will help keep your team engaged, and ultimately, feeling like a team.
Don’t Put Limitations On Trust
When employees don’t feel like they’re valued, appreciated, and trusted, they’re bound to become less productive. For management, it can be difficult to trust that people are doing their jobs while they’re home. We urge you to trust without limitations and empower those you hired to do what they’re paid to do.
Find Ways To Increase Accountability
Although trust is paramount, accountability is still crucial. You can hold your staff accountable without questioning their ability to do their jobs. Host a morning meeting or something similar to check in, see what’s on each person’s to-do list, and ask if they have any questions or need any help from others.
Take Advantage Of Collaboration Tools
There are tons of collaboration tools on the market to help you maintain communication seamlessly with your team. Zoom, Microsoft 365, and VoIP systems are great options that allow you to connect as needed. Microsoft 365, in particular, gives you access to email, contacts, applications, and video conferencing.
Use A Project Management Software
If your employees aren’t used to working at home, they may struggle with keeping track of all of their work, tasks, and projects. A project management software can be incredibly useful for organizing your day-to-day workload. Asana, Slack, and Basecamp are great options that allow you to assign, track, and complete tasks.
Focus On The Outcomes, Not The Hours
Instead of putting your focus on the hours worked each day, pay attention to the outcomes achieved. If an employee can do their job incredibly well within 7 hours, it’s not a huge deal if they don’t log that extra hour. It’s important to understand that productivity shouldn’t be measured in hours, but outcomes.
Use A Time Tracking Software
Although we stated that it’s important to focus on the outcomes, not the hours, a time tracking software can keep your team from losing track of their schedule. This is particularly true for those who will end up working countless hours from home because the lines between professional and personal time become blurred.
Implement A Remote Work Policy
Lastly, don’t forget to implement a remote work policy that outlines all of the above, as well as your expectations regarding cybersecurity, video conferencing etiquette, sick days, and other important information. You may also outline your expectations in terms of communication with management.