Saying that the year behind us was turbulent would be the understatement of the decade.
The outbreak of COVID-19 left no area of human society untouched, and the world of business is no exception. One of the most significant developments we have witnessed is the evolution of remote working from a novel option to a preferred work arrangement. And like any other tectonic change, this one also brought its share of pros and cons to the table.
One of the biggest challenges associated with telecommuting ever since its inception was ensuring the remote team’s productivity. Now that most of the workforce is moved to their home, this issue becomes even more critical. Let’s try to find a couple of usable solutions.
Poor communication was always considered one of the biggest productivity killers. In the remote work environment where clogged communication channels present additional obstacles, this issue requires even greater focus. One of the easiest ways to address this problem is to move away from the apps oriented like general users like Viber and start using the platforms designed around specific business necessities. Here are some of the suggested solutions:
- Project management: Trello, Basecamp
- Team communication: Slack
- Video and audio conferencing: Zoom
- Team collaboration: Microsoft teams
- Desktop virtualization: Citrix
Provide proper incentives
A crowded workplace represents a very stimulating environment for achieving high productivity. When we move things outside this environment, the initiative lies down in the hands of your employees and their personal motivation. Your job as a business owner is to provide them with the proper stimulus necessary for achieving the desired results. Fortunately enough, the ways in which you can approach this problem are numerous and range from surveys to various bonuses and gift baskets. Adding a slight personal touch to the rewards can only improve the results.
Find a way to measure the results efficiently
If we are to use the ages-old analogy, the incentives can be observed as a carrot. Calling time and attendance tracking a stick is probably not entirely fair, but it gives your employees a certain set of rules they need to abide by in order to avoid excessive idling and eventual penalties. Once again, the solutions to your problem can be found in the world of specialized software platforms. The professional time and attendance systems pack all the essential features like mobile clocking, automatic record-keeping, and timesheet approvals necessary for managing these cumbersome duties.
Work on the feedback and onboarding
Collaboration and problem-solving are much easier when your workers have an opportunity to interact with each other directly. When they are away, they are mostly left to their own intuition and available digital resources. Suffice to say, searching for solutions in such circumstances takes a lot of time and effort. That is why you should provide your employees with timely feedback to guide their future endeavors. The other thing you should try to improve and refine is the onboarding process. Well-trained are much more capable of working independently and thus efficiently.
Involve employees in the company’s goals
As we already mentioned in one of the previous sections, a great deal of productivity your employees will achieve at their home will depend on their personal motivation. That motivation will be tough to accomplish if your workers are not in tune with your company’s overall goals and values. So, until the workplaces become open again, you should double the efforts aimed at strengthening the corporate culture and brand values. Much like in normal circumstances, these goals can be met with employee empowerment, internal marketing, and promotions.
Encourage better work-life balance
It is not that big of a secret that telecommuting often leads to procrastination. As a result, accomplishing even the simplest takes lasts longer and takes a bite out of the time your employees would otherwise spend with family or resting. What follows are work frustration, contempt, and lower productivity. Cut this problem in the root. Encourage your employees to properly schedule work hours, take occasional breaks, eat healthy food, and spend enough time with their loved ones. Failing to separate professional and private life inevitably undermines both of them.
Focus on outcomes
Finally, the lack of direct control over the important operational processes causes a lot of managers to overcompensate and try to micromanage their teams remotely. This practice, unfortunately, clutters the communication channels and often dilutes the explicit instruction you had at the start. So, do your best to be available for your employees but still leave them to their own devices. The time spent on producing and browsing through endless microinstructions is a time that could be much better spent elsewhere.
We hope these seven suggestions gave you some insight into methods you can use to keep your remote teams suitably motivated and productive. Telecommuting is here to stay, and we will need to work around its various limitations even when this current crisis is long over. The sooner we learn to do that, the better.