The majority of 2020 hasn’t been business as usual for anyone. By March, it became clear that the best-laid plans of many companies were quickly going awry in the scramble for new work solutions during a global pandemic. COVID-19 has disrupted nearly all industries, forcing workers in many different roles to adapt to working online and from home instead of in their usual customer-facing or office-based context.
Even if you’re lucky enough to have workers who were able to adapt easily to remote work, you’re still going to have to make significant changes to your management techniques to ensure that you always get the best from your team. Here are three different ways that managers can encourage staff productivity among team members working from home:
1. Encourage and Enable Open Communication
While a team is operating on a face-to-face basis, communication is simple and straightforward. People can pass from one desk to another to ask questions or clear up confusion. Managers can quickly call team meetings to set out projects, gather ideas, and ensure that everyone knows both what they’re doing and what’s expected of them.
When workers operate from home, it’s not surprising that communication can become stifled and limited. The importance of well-functioning. Employee communication shouldn’t be underestimated. Effective communication between team members can:
- Maintain workplace harmony,
- Increase productivity,
- Encourage innovation,
- Improve crisis management, and
- Expand interdepartmental cooperation.
As manager, you have the responsibility to better the communication between remote workers within your team. You can do this by creating a positive, helpful culture where employees feel comfortable asking questions and receiving feedback. Set a precedent for regular remote communication by arranging video calls to check on everyone and setting up group chats.
You may need to invest in the right tools to increase team communication. Chat software such as Slack, Google Hangouts, and Chatwork allows conversation to flow as naturally as if all your workers were still in the office. Video conferencing programs like Zoom and Skype are easy to use for even your less-than-technical employees. Other software packages like Microsoft Teams include both video conferencing and chat features to cover all of your communication needs.
2. Establish Routines
Wherever employees are working, good routines are essential to staying productive and focused.
When working from home, the temptation always exists to roll out of bed five minutes before clocking in. But productivity is augmented when workers behave as if they were coming into the office daily.
Encourage workers to rise early, get ready, and start their work day at the same time each day. Any pre-work routines that were established before the switch to remote work should still be followed. This will help workers to be in the right mindset when they start working.
Employees should also be encouraged to take set breaks to help them focus better while they’re actually working. Advise your employees on creating structure in their work day from home and create a routine such as using routine meetings to give some predictability to work-from-home schedules.
3. Help Employees Create a Focused Environment
Commercial offices are typically designed specifically to be work friendly and to promote productivity. The best offices are filled with natural light, free from distractions, and comfortable to work from.
Encourage your team members to create the same type of healthy working environment in their own homes. Advise them to work from a table or desk instead of a bed, and to separate out a designated working area as much as possible to replicate the feeling of going into the office.
Perhaps the most important part of creating a focused work environment is having the right kind of technology. Employees working from home often don’t have access to the same conveniences that in-office employees do—conveniences such as high-speed internet and the right kind of hardware.
Your team can get access to technology like remote desktop services and cloud solutions by working with a Managed Service Provider (MSP). The right Orange County IT company will increase the efficiency of your remote workers by providing them with all the necessary resources.