As the workforce becomes more remote-work friendly, many employers are searching for ways to improve remote team productivity, especially when one team is based in another state or country.
Interestingly, many studies suggest that working remotely has increased the overall productivity of certain employees. 90% of full-time remote workers feel that working from home has increased their productivity and performance.
Why? Thanks to the virtual workplace experience that remote work enables, your remote employers don’t have to worry about commuting, which diminishes the stress of going into the office everyday and saves time.
Although remote work has its advantages for businesses, there are still some noticeable productivity challenges for team members, especially if workers don’t feel engaged.
Here we share our 8 essential strategies for improving your remote team members’ productivity.
Even in an office setting, having good communication practices can help build rapport with your employees, which is crucial for running your business.
However, you don’t want to over engage or force your employees to track and talk about every menial tasks, especially busy work that bogs down their day. Micromanagement usually backfires.
Try to stick to one messaging chat app, like Slack or Microsoft Teams. Whichever messaging app you choose should be the gold standard for employee communication. Make sure that you have guidelines for how employees are expected to communicate once you move to the remote work setting.
Communication goals and guidelines should be included in onboarding documentation. That way, new hires are set up for success and everyone is on the same page during the entire process.
If you’ve taken the leap from being an office-centric company to a remote-first business, update your organization's handbook with a note about changes to company culture that are relevant to this move.
You may want to:
Establish flexible working hours that improve work/life balance
Prioritize mental and physical health
Set aside time for employees to get to know each other and socialize
Whatever your work culture was in-office, try to recreate it in your new remote-first structure while also making the necessary changes to ensure flexible work options.
As a remote worker myself, I begin to lose focus when I do not have a clear list of goals or an action list of what I’m planning to do each day.
Encourage your employees to use their Google Calendar or other calendar software to block out time for their daily tasks. This will give them reminders throughout the day that will help them stay focused and avoid meandering.
By treating the remote experience with the same organization as you would in an office setting, you’re ensuring that productivity is a priority.
You may even want to encourage your team to record when they’re most productive during the day and have them use that time to complete the majority of their tasks. Every team member will have different hours when they work best, so try to figure out what they are and encourage productivity during this time.
The point of the remote environment is to offer flexibility. Find times that work best for each individual employee and offer flexible working hours, instead of forcing employees to all work on the same schedule. Without being a micromanager, review their work throughout the day to see when they are most productive.
Remote collaboration is one of the tricker aspects of moving to a remote-work model. You may want to overindulge and give your employees a bunch of collaboration, but honestly less is more.
Some great collaboration and project management software tools include:
Research and find different team collaboration tools that track deadlines and goal setting that everyone across the organization can use together.
Encourage your team to work on one assignment at a time. This seems like it would be a no-brainer for improving employee productivity, but avoiding multitasking can be difficult.
Studies have found that most people actually become less productivity when they switch from one task to another in different contexts. In fact, this is where the majority of common mistakes are made.
When we work on too many items at once, we don’t devote the right amount of energy to each project or task, and in turn, short-change the outcome.
You’ll need video meetings to keep communication channels open, but avoid overindulging in meetings. Why? New research suggests that too many meetings cause Zoom fatigue, which leads to:
Instead of focusing on meetings, try to make employee engagement activities or encourage one-on-one conversations. Limit your team meetings to once a week instead of multiple times a week or everyday, if possible. If you need to hold a daily standup, keep it short.
Besides scheduling Zoom or Google Calendar meetings, consider using other communication tools such as:
Too many unnecessary meetings decrease employee productivity and engagement. If you don’t need to say something to the entire group, consider scheduling a one-on-one meeting instead.
You would think that employees working from home would take a lot of breaks, but that’s not quite true. In fact, many people choose to work through lunch because they aren’t in an office.
Encourage your employees to eat nutritious meals throughout their day. Give them the opportunity to decompress in between tasks, like 30 minutes to take a walk or an hour to attend a yoga class or go to the gym.
If they’re able to take breaks in between tasks, they won’t experience burnout as quickly. In the long run, this will drastically increase your remote team's overall productivity.
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