When working remotely, productivity can inadvertently suffer, especially if you are used to working in an office setting. Whether you’re just not used to your desk at home, feel distracted by all the comforts readily available, or miss having someone to bounce ideas off – staying on top of your game can be quite a challenge.
Let’s explore five things you can do to ensure the productivity of your team when they are working remotely.
Set clear rules
Having the freedom to work at your own pace and on your own time is great, but employees do need to work within some guidelines in order for the experience to be fully productive.
Start by setting mandatory office hours – times when everyone needs to be in, so they can have meetings, catch up, or just be there to answer questions.
Also, make sure everyone knows what is expected of them at all times – deadlines, timeframes, expectations, deliverables all need to be written out very clearly. When in an office, you can answer follow-up questions easily, but not everyone will ask questions in an email or over an app, so make sure you are detailed.
Communicate every day
One of the downsides of working remotely is feeling isolated and lonely. To prevent this, make sure you communicate with everyone every day.
You can set up chats for different topics, make sure all teams who normally work together have a way to keep communicating and check in on everyone from time to time.
It doesn’t have to be much – just ask people how they are doing and if they need any assistance. This will make them feel like they are still a part of a group, and not all alone.
Provide the right tools
It’s easy to forget that not everyone has access to all the tools and software they need when not in the office. To make everything run smoothly, check with everyone if they have the right passwords and access, and ensure they are working on the proper computers.
Sometimes, something as simple as an outdated operating system or a slower internet connection can slow an employee down significantly, so offer to upgrade your employees who are working from home. After all, it’s just like investing in new computers in the office.
Also, do your best to teach your teams how to use the tools they do have. For instance, you can show them some new Windows 10 shortcuts which will help them switch tabs and windows faster, helping them be more productive.
Show them you trust them
It can be very easy to fall into the bad habit of not quite trusting people to do their job when working remotely. You can remedy this first by checking in with yourself and noticing why you have this lack of trust. If it’s just fear on your part, do your best to not let it show. If there are concrete reasons behind your thoughts, work on remedying the causes.
You can use an efficient project management tool to ensure everyone knows what they need to do and where you can keep track of the progress they are making.
Provide enough flexibility so that everyone has the chance to get organised and get the work done.
If you notice someone slacking, talk to them, but don’t play the blame game. See if there is a reason for their poorer performance; only if you eliminate all doubt should you take action.
Work on work-life balance
A work-life balance is tricky to achieve when working from home – where exactly does the working end and the home begin? Unsurprisingly, getting enough sleep when working remotely can also be a challenge, so make sure you talk to your employees about rest, relaxation, and the importance of taking time off work.
You can establish no-work hours when no one is “allowed” to work – unless they have a very compelling reason to do so. If you track their time, this can be easy to manage, but you can also just work on trust.
Show your teams that you care about their wellbeing, and they will start to care more about it too.
To sum it up
Working on being productive from home can be a challenge at first – but with some dedication, it can become a habit that makes remote work all the more enjoyable. Hopefully, these tips will help you establish a routine that works.
More on supporting the well being of your employees whilst working remotely and HR and staff management.
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