Productivity refers to the rate at which people complete their tasks, with the best businesses striving for more productive work every single day. This push can seem especially difficult when working remotely due to the lack of face-to-face time between managers and employees. Take a look at ten tips for improving the productivity of a remote workplace and getting a business running at its best.
1. Provide the Right Tools
A cook can’t make a steak with a hammer, and a carpenter can’t build a wardrobe with a stove. However, get the right tools and equipment in the right hands and your staff members can be operating at the standard you need.
Make sure that your employees have the right hardware to complete all of their tasks at home and the software licences necessary to access workplace systems. Upfront investment can be expensive, but it pays dividends over a longer period of time as people work more effectively.
2. Help People Understand Their Role
It can be difficult to adapt to a new role in any circumstance, but this is especially the case when a workplace is remote. Successful candidates on their first day can’t approach people and ask what a specific task is or what falls within their remit, with a “digital wall” acting as a social barrier between a newcomer and their co-workers.
In these instances, giving people extremely thorough documentation and support, as well as making it clear that there are options for support to any recruits.
3. Set Expectations
A mistake that some workplaces make when focusing on remote employees is being inconsistent in the expectations that you set for your employees. Companies hire people for specific purposes, and effectiveness is measured by someone’s ability to do those tasks.
Let people know on a daily basis the tasks that are expected of them and the specific timeframe that those tasks should take. Not only is there a greater level of clarity in these cases, but having specific targets gives people something to push towards.
4. Implement Live Captions
Live captions are becoming more and more common in video conferencing software packages, with artificial intelligence and machine learning getting better and better at recognising distinct features in someone’s voice, such as their accent or dialect.
Those with disabilities such as hearing loss can struggle in meetings and feel like they are out of the loop, so adding captions to your work both improves accessibility and lets differently-abled members of the workforce be at their productive potential.
5. Create Bespoke Remote Training
Working remotely is a vastly different challenge from working in a physical office and tends to require advanced software options such as accessing workplace networks with a VPN or using proxy servers.
This doesn’t have to be a challenge if you spend time creating training programs designed especially with remote work in mind. Try to work with people that have expertise in remote training to get the standard of your training as high as it can be, as the sooner someone can work remotely, the sooner their work meets your exacting standards.
6. Keep Employees Social
Take steps to keep your company as socially connected as you can. This involves having day-to-day conversations, “coffee break” style meetings, planned events such as quizzes and even away days. If someone feels like they are a part of an organisation then they are more likely to become more emotionally invested in it, going the extra mile.
Try to plan these events ahead of time wherever possible to increase attendance and give people time to plan their schedule around getting to the event.
7. Accept Flexibility
Flexibility is one of the main tenets of remote work. The entire idea is based on being more flexible than a standard workplace, and there are plenty of opportunities to embrace flexible work beyond simply location.
People work at their best at different times of day, in their own unique environments and at varying paces. Choosing to accept this flexibility by letting people work at hours that suit them means that you get employees at their most effective, boosting productivity and meaning you get greater returns on your spending.
8. Listen to Feedback
Not every business implements remote working in the same way, with each method having its own unique advantages and disadvantages across a variety of businesses. You can’t be certain about the efficiency of a method until you test it and get comprehensive feedback from the people working in the system.
Have a regular system of forms, polls and conversations with employees to build your understanding of how people work in your organisation and make tweaks, building a more efficient team over time.
9. Put Employees First
Mental health is growing in importance across the world, as more industries and management professionals are becoming aware of the severe impact mental health issues can have on both a workplace and those within it.
When working remotely, welfare can feel sidelined with staff members not able to give non-verbal cues if they are struggling. By taking the time to reach out to members of staff, understand their struggles and meet any of their needs, companies benefit from staff being at their most effective. More importantly, employees receive the assistance they need in tough times.
10. Invest in Your Team
People want to feel valued when they are in a workplace, like they are a part of something larger. That means investing in them and folding staff members into your organisation whilst making it clear that they are a fundamental part of the way you work.
Remote working provides lots of opportunities for staff members who can move from workplace to workplace quickly and easily. By making it clear that they are important, you encourage better work and more emotional investment in company success.