Work from home has become the norm for so many workers, particularly in recent times, and chances are that more companies will adopt a flexible approach going forward to accommodate remote workers. There are many benefits for both employees and businesses to working remotely, from opening up the talent pool to encouraging a better work-life balance.
Offering virtual work opportunities can be a huge draw for businesses but dealing with staff in various locations can feel like a challenge for employers. Luckily, there are ways to utilize software and adopt management methodologies to ensure your team works cohesively and that performance doesn’t suffer as a result of not working in the office. Here are six tips to help boost the performance and productivity of your remote workers and keep everyone happy, wherever they are working from.
1. Host regular meetings with staff
Just because staff is remote doesn’t mean that you have to skip the usual structures of the working week. This includes meetings and check-ins as a team. Engaging with your remote workers on a regular basis through group meetings or one-to-ones will ensure that communication is maintained and that everyone is on the same page regarding projects and tasks.
It can be beneficial to host virtual meetings at the same time each week so that everyone knows to be prepared and present for greater organization. Video conferencing tools like Zoom make it easier than ever to hold meetings together regardless of where each individual is located. This will help to maintain performance within the team and keep everyone in the loop as to where projects are at.
2. Encourage social interaction (virtually)
Independent work from home can become lonely over time, which impacts performance and job satisfaction. It can also put a strain on team dynamics because the ability to get to know your colleagues is harder. But as a manager, something you can do to ease this is to encourage your employees to interact socially, not just for work.
Perhaps you could suggest that they have virtual lunches where they can put work aside for an hour each day and get to know one another. Or have a group on Slack where everyone can chat normally on breaks, separate from projects and meetings, to help everyone relax and feel connected even when distanced. Fostering a great workplace culture, even from a remote perspective, is paramount when it comes to keeping staff happy, motivated and productive.
3. Stay result-oriented when working from home
A result-oriented culture is a sure-fire way to boost performance and help everyone in the team feel accountable for the work they produce. Within the team, ensure that you have your own set of goals and targets, within the wider scope of the business as a whole, so that each employee knows what they are working towards.
There are tools to help you track time and maintain clear deadlines, such as Toggl or Asana, but really productivity comes from the results you achieve rather than how many hours you’ve ticked off each day. It helps to foster a culture of accountability that encourages everyone to keep working, even when there’s not someone standing over their shoulder.
4. Keep the lines of communication open
Nothing slows down productivity quite like not having access to the right information when working from home. But while your employees may not be in the office physically, you can still provide them with all the information they need to do their job properly. Having a central source of information for everyone to access, whether it’s Google Drive, Dropbox or another tool for storing documents, will ensure that no-one is held up waiting on someone else for information. But it’s also key to keep the lines of communication open.
Check-in regularly through email or messenger services to ensure everyone is OK and projects are progressing as they should. By ensuring regular communication is in place, staff will be able to raise issues comfortably, ask questions when they need to and trust that someone will be there for them if they need help with something.
5. Encourage productivity with rewards
Employee engagement and recognition is important in any workplace culture, but it’s especially key if your staff work remotely. Engagement can quickly decline if people don’t feel like they are part of a wider organization and are being recognized for their efforts and when people aren’t in your field of vision each day, it can be easy to forget and get side-tracked.
There are tools available that help to ensure that engagement is maintained even with remote teams and that there is a strong rewards system in place to enrich the culture of the business and boost productivity. By rewarding your staff for their hard work, they will be more likely to maintain high standards every day and ensure that their performance is up to scratch.
6. Schedule personal development meetings
We all work better when we have something to work towards, whether it’s a small goal or a larger ambition. Remote workers still crave this level of engagement and drive, so it’s important that you maintain meetings throughout the year with staff to work on development plans.
From online training to booking workshops or providing staff with the tools they need to improve their work on a daily basis, there are many ways to support the development of your staff. It’s wise to invest time once per quarter or at least twice per year in having a one-to-one video call where each of you can discuss what’s going well, what needs more improvement, and where you both see the role going.
It will give your employees a chance to talk about areas they’d like to progress their career into and what they’d like the chance to work on, as well as give you both the opportunity to outline clear goals. It’s also a great way of maintaining high performance from your staff, as they will feel valued and respected within the organization.
7. Final thoughts on work from home
Conditions under lockdown are unlike anything businesses have experienced in the past – but the same is also true for employees. Companies must do everything they can to make it easier for workers to work from home and carry out their tasks remotely.
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