Productivity ebbs and flows even amongst the most established companies, and remote working hasn't made it any easier. Even the NHS has gone on the record to say that working from home can lead to feelings of boredom, anxiety, and isolation — and these mental health issues are just some of the many hurdles that people are facing.
There are undoubtedly days when productivity just isn't there, but life must go on as our "new normal" becomes less new (and simply just "normal"). On that note, below are a few tips that Managers can use to keep their remote workforce as productive as possible.
Break your week down according to goals
Flexible work hours are one of the best ways to keep remote workers productive, but that's only half of the equation. While it’s still important to measure the hours worked by your team, you can also shift your team's focus and instead make sure that everyone's keeping track of their work according to the goals set per week. This kind of mindset allows your team members to take control of their own schedules and easily plan everything from Microsoft Team meetings to client calls. Remote teams that follow a strong plan and set deadlines can structure their week according to which tasks are the most important, ensuring that no one is under or over working.
Digitising information where possible
A remote workforce survives on the seamless transfer of information. “The faster your staff can access the data needed to do their jobs, the more agile and efficient your organisation,” says Holly Dempster, Marketing Specialist at Verizon Connect. What's more, streamlining shift schedules and keeping them updated on a regular basis minimises the potential for bottlenecks which will cause delays and frustration. This is very important as waiting for assignments is one of the biggest pitfalls of remote work. Remote teams are much more reliant on the work being set for them, which is why leaders must ensure that they have ease of access. One way to do this is through a cloud server that allows teams to collaborate and share files as they would in an office. While it's true that such tech solutions may require further training, the long-term benefits make a few days of training well worth it.
Encourage staff to set boundaries
Encouraging your team to take breaks throughout their workday helps them avoid getting burnt out in the long run. Entrepreneur notes that Hollywood producer Shonda Rhimes explicitly mentions in her email signature that she doesn't check work emails after 7PM on weekdays, and not at all on weekends — and if she can take time off of her busy schedule to cool off, so can you! While it's true that some workers may be more efficient at night, what's important is that Managers ensure that workers are not on call at all hours of the day. By setting boundaries, you're also sure that your employees are churning out their best work when they actually do clock in.
There are lots of other tips and tricks to encourage productivity within a remote workforce, but these more specific tips will largely depend on how your team functions. These three foundational aspects are key to a making sure you're approaching your remote work policies in a way that puts a premium on employee wellbeing.
Blog Author: Alessa Murphy