With the world firmly moving toward remote work amid this ongoing global pandemic, everyone is adjusting to this new style of working and learning to create a smooth work-life balance. Everyone in the position of management can understand the relevance of this ‘new normal’ and is beginning to create all sorts of better ways to enhance employee productivity in work from home policy.
Companies of all sizes have ordered remote working without any degrees of preparedness to maintain employees productivity in this alarming situation. To contain the spread of corona virus, it may just become standard practice, at least for some employees even after the situation is resolved.
Corona virus has drastically changed the business landscape world over, but thanks to the advanced technologies, this paradigm shift will go smooth and productive for both the employers and the employees.
Researchers found that working from home is a win-win situation for both employers and employees which not only benefits employees by eliminating their daily commutes ( increased productivity, healthier lifestyles) but also benefits employers by cost savings ( on staff transportation, air-conditioning, cafeteria and furnishings etc.), convenience and productivity gains.
Experts say few companies might adopt the work-from-home working model permanently as it provides them enhanced flexibility to work according to business needs. Businesses are planning to make it more functional by compensating employees based on transactions. More an employee is productive, more they will be compensated. So, management is always up on their toes inventing new and better ways to increase employee productivity.
Work from home is dream come true for many, not for all!. Working from home means more distractions and no impromptu interactions with fellow employees — all of which can lead to a decline in productivity and bouts of depression due to isolation.
With companies mandating remote work, enhanced technological advancements and employees seeking greater flexibility, the number of remote employees is going to increase day by day.
Employee productivity is one of the major challenges in remote working faced by the management everywhere and managers are always exploring better ways to collaborate and connect with the employees for a better outcome.
From keeping the communications open to engaging in non-work interactions, employers are also finding better ways to maintain the productivity of their remote teams.
While working from home, there is an invisible boundary between personal and professional life which can create an imbalance on both fronts. So, managers need to be attuned with soft skills as well to interact with remote employees. They must put themselves in their shoes and then assess the situation of their remote colleagues.
Every employee handles the situations differently, based on their personalities, personal situations and various other life dimensions. Good management is that which understands the value of their employees and motivate them as per their basic nature instead of taking them as workers.
If employees are rewarded well for their productivity, they work harder to make things better for their management which results in better customer service and growth in business of the organisation.
This approach of understanding employee’s perspective for a better outcome is found to have many positive consequences by businesses all over the world. Henceforth, remote managers have also started deploying ways to bring teams closer by being compassionate and caring for their remote employees for better employee productivity.
In this post, we have tried compiling few of the most effective employee productivity tips for remote managers. Check them out-
Ways to Enhance Employee Productivity while Working from Home :
1. Encourage Dedicated Workstations
Since work-from-home is becoming a normal routine for many, remote managers must encourage their employees to create a separate dedicated workstation in their homes for better productivity.
Some companies have reportedly offered huge stipends to their productive employees for creating appropriate home offices if they choose to work remotely. It could be any free area of their home, a rooftop, a store-room or anywhere they feel comfortable to work better.
Specified workstations at home keep the employees away from home distractions which result in better employee productivity. It is just like having a separate room for studies to concentrate better and deliver results.
2. Equip your Team with Efficient Tech and Productivity Tools
First and foremost, management must ensure ways to help teams succeed by providing the tools they need to stay connected and work efficiently. Only a smart and intelligent manager can analyse these work hassles beforehand and prepare accordingly.
Equipping teams with advanced technologies allow managers and employees to stay on the same page while working from home.
- Equipping them with project management tracking apps like Asana and Airtable, chat/messaging apps like Slack and Microsoft Teams, and video conferencing apps like Zoom and Google Hangouts.
- Ensure that all of the office computers are working in top condition when employees plan on bringing them home.
- Keep all software updated and make sure no equipment crash unexpectedly.
- Ensure that all the employees have a good speed internet connection at home and they aren’t surrounded by distractions.
- Make sure that their homes have a functional environment to work productively. Some companies consider providing a home office stipend to their more productive employees ( who do a majority of work from home).
3. Fix Mutually Agreed Expectations
When ensuring employee productivity in a remote working pattern, it is essential to set guidelines and expectations in advance, to avoid clashes and misunderstandings. (Because when we are in physical proximity, we understand each others’ nature and working patterns, but all these intangible clues are missing in remote working).
Additionally, set rules and expectations beforehand on mutual agreement that what is accepted and what isn’t acceptable during work-from-home. These expectations can cover things like time tracking and communication policies.
Maintain a “General Calendar”, where all employees can mark when they plan to work from home. Employees should also be openly communicative of their availability by letting their team know their plans.
4. Establish Daily Check-ins
The tech and productivity tools provided to remote employees can be vital for maintaining regular check-ins. Creating daily check-ins via video-chat, phone-call or instant messages creates a sense of belonging and normalcy among all the employees. Also, it is a crucial way to set priorities right in place at the beginning of the day itself.
With managers no longer getting daily face time with employees, these check-ins can foster connections one-on-ones or in small groups as per the situation demands.
Set virtual office hours and be present on instant messaging apps throughout the day to help employees. Revamped meetings that adapt specifically to remote workers can help you maintain productivity.
Don’t forget a lousy manager can dampen the spirits of the whole team, so the remote manager must be always instantly available as other members are dependent on him.
5. Maintain Regular Contact and Make it a Routine
Communication is a big part of any relation to grow and prosper in the right way. And in this remote work situation, it is even more necessary to help lower the chances of misunderstandings. For better communication, use an “instant chat” so that all the team can quickly communicate with each other.
Regularly maintain a cordial contact with all your employees and ensure that they are clear on exactly what is expected of them. Also, ensure that you and your employees immediately respond to work-related emails and other messages during working hours.
To avoid costly mistakes in case of emergencies, ensure you all have each others’ personal phone numbers as well to quickly respond while working from home.
6. Trust Your Team Members
All of you must have heard that ‘faith can move mountains‘ and this is true for almost anything in this world. When we start trusting our team, our productivity concerns at the workplace automatically fades away.
In a work-from-home scenario, it is even more necessary to trust your employees that they will take care of their duties so that they perform best. Trust is always built by your behavior, your communication skills and your management skills. You need to grow up yourself to grow your business and build a trustworthy team.
Although, communicating with your team members is a must to ensure that you two are on the same page, but it shouldn’t feel like you’re breathing down their necks. You must do it subtly not like they are being constantly watched or are under your scrutiny for some task. At such instances, your leadership skills and humane side must come out to ensure trust between you two.
When you work with a team you can trust, you’ll find that concerns about their productivity will disappear.
7. Set Goals
Goal setting is a great way to achieve work targets and boost employee productivity. Fix up long-term and short-term goals with each of your employees and check in with them on their progress.
Make sure that they are reporting to you about their work progress and any roadblocks in achieving their goals to you. Encourage them to achieve their goals by helping them resolve their issues on an immediate basis.
Ensure they are reporting directly through emails about daily work progress like – “I have completed X and I have X left to do until reaching my goal of X.” or “Today planning this and will do X tomorrow.”
8. Give flexibility to your employees
Giving your employees flexibility extends beyond just allowing them to work from home, it means that you trust them with completing their targets on time in their desired work hours outside of standard 9-5 office routine.
Focus your mindset on achieving the targets, instead of time spent on each day. It will automatically build trust between you two and their productivity levels will drastically improve, as they will be performing tasks in their productive hours when they are in the correct headspace to do it.
Allow remote team members to work hours outside of the standard office shift. As long as your remote employees are productive and getting their work done at the appropriate pace, don’t fret over petty issues like time spent etc.
Work smart, not work hard!
9. Provide them Opportunities for Growth and Upgrades
Workspaces are opportunities for growth and development for careers, if you are not providing your employees with upgrades on their current skill-sets, you surely are missing out on a good employee in the coming future.
Good management is one which focuses on business development by employees growth as well as employee retention by providing them opportunities to learn and upgrade their skill sets from time to time.
When you stop learning, you stop growing
When an employee doesn’t feel growth opportunity at a workplace they will leave the organisation quickly, looking for a better opportunity somewhere else.
10. Keep Things Transparent by Providing them Regular Feedbacks
Encourage your remote employees by regularly providing feedback on their performance, whether positive or negative. This way they will be on alert to improve and will strive hard to perform better next time.
Providing feedback is one of the best ways to boost employee productivity and increased retention rates of the employees.
When they get feedback from their employers, it automatically conveys that they are being valued for their contribution and employers are making sure employees perform better to grow more in their career.
11. Dress for success
While it is not necessary to dress well for business in remote working but psychologically it is found to have a great effect on workers when they dress well while working. It creates a sense of responsibility and keep them upbeat for their projects.
Dress appropriately for video chats with clients and co-workers to convey a message that its a serious business we are doing. Also, it feels good mentally when you are dressed for success.
Some employees do feel more productive when dress well, instead of hopping on in sweatpants all day which may bring in sense of lethargy while working. So, power dressing helps you stay productive and alert.
12. Provide Opportunities for Collaboration
People who enjoy working with teams, often find remote working a bit isolating, so identify the personality traits and offer them opportunities as per their working styles. Give them more opportunities to collaborate with other team members by working on projects together on Google drive etc. to boost their productivity.
Make sure you provide your remote employees with enough opportunities to collaborate for team building as well by doing regular video chats etc.
13. Understand the Specifics of Personal Situations
Always try to understand the background of the employee and then handle him accordingly to make him/ her more productive resource for the benefit of your company.
If she is a working mother alone, try to adjust schedules as per her children’s priority hours and give her flexibility to work in her chosen hours.
Similarly for other employees as well, when the manager is smart instead of rigid, he can do wonders with remote teams.
14. Cultivating Company Culture in Remote Team/ Office
Most of the companies in the corporate world are famous for their culture and vibes, which employees remember for ages. The overall vibe of a company can make or break an employee’s experience in that organisation, which results in them being productive or unproductive. So, it is essential to maintain a positive vibe for all employees for better work experience.
Extending your in-house culture into the virtual world can be tough, but it will be worth doing. This means finding ways to make remote employees feel valued and instil them with a sense of belonging.
A few things you can do to build this vibe in remote teams:
- Give virtual shout-outs,
- Schedule conference calls
- Utilizing a company-wide chat/messaging platform to constantly connect
- Organize virtual happy hours/ some events
15. Provide Steady Emotional Support, Show your Human Side
As working from home can sometimes create loneliness and negative emotions, employers should focus on their energies in providing emotional support to their remote employees by regularly asking them about their difficulties in getting the tasks done etc.
Leaders should additionally encourage self-care among their employees, who mentally are trying to adapt to remote work. Leaders should set the tone for their virtual offices with a calm and upbeat presence, which helps create a level-headed workplace where people feel relaxed not overwhelmed.
Managers should advocate to exercise, get quality sleep, take showers, and continue on with lives as normally as they can amid COVID-19.
16. Don’t Forget about Non-Work Interactions and Team Building Exercises
This one is the most important productivity tip- Never underestimate the power of a good laugh and good conversation between your employees.
Remote managers must encourage frequent interactions amongst their teams related to non-work topics as well by creating time and space for employees to talk about their hobbies, other topics, news etc.
It will build a great feeling of camaraderie and help them relieve stress as well, resulting in enhanced productivity.
Additionally, you can plan a weekly or monthly happy hours (without drinking), or can get them engaged in some team-building exercises to bridge the gaps of misunderstandings.
17. Treat them as Investors in your Company
Never do the mistake of treating or thinking your employees as your workers, they are the biggest untapped secret weapons of branding and marketing. If treated well by their employers, they will automatically spread a good word of mouth about the organisation, resulting in great future benefits.
Yes, treat them as investors who are investing in their knowledge, skill and time to your dream ventures. By thinking on this line, you will automatically witness a huge boost in their productivity levels.
18. Be Appreciative of Tasks Well Done
An employee will automatically deliver his/ her best when feel appreciated of his efforts. So, always be open in praising their efforts. Be appreciative of them to make them more productive. It could be a simple well done hand-written note or a personalized email.
Hope you find these employee productivity tips useful, you can use the above to stay ahead of the curve and ensure your employees are happy and productive, bringing about a pleasant experience for employers as well.
- Once you experience the joy of not having to commute to work, you’re never going to want to work in an office again.
- Not having to deal with in-person office politics is a big relief for many, making them more productive and constructive for their projects.
- Remote managers must be smart enough to read their employee’s personality to make them more productive.
- More employers will choose work from home as functional normal way of working to boost employee productivity and saving on logistical expenses.
- Work from home is a great way to tap the hidden potential of the women workforce, who leave their careers because of family responsibility.