For many industries and organizations, some form of remote work will remain for the foreseeable future. As COVID-19 risk fluctuates and surges in some areas, or in others where high-risk employees continue to work from home, the need for a flexible workforce isn’t likely to go away any time soon. Now that many organizations have embraced remote work, though, maximizing remote productivity is essential.
It’s especially important to find a balance with teams where some employees are returning to the office, while others continue to work from home. Collaboration and coordination between employees and teams is essential to keep your business moving forward, surviving and growing through this pandemic.
Remember these keys to remote productivity
So, whether your organization has returned to the office, or whether you are currently mapping out a framework for your “new normal,” here are some tips to help you ramp up remote productivity for your team:
Talk to all your employees about what worked (and didn’t) while working remotely.
The simplest piece of advice is also likely to be the most powerful. Your employees are a fountain of information — they’ve been fine tuning their remote processes and setups for months now.
Ask your team to share the processes they’ve developed, and feedback on your organizational processes, to identify potential changes or upgrades. Similarly, ask them to assess any technology they used on their own or that was provided by your organization to make their remote work simpler and increased productivity. You may want to ask for this feedback anonymously to get the most candid responses.
Google Forms are a simple way to send anonymous surveys to your team (and are free). Your employees will feel more comfortable that their feedback is anonymous, and you’ll have a simple way to collect input.
You or a member of your team could also decide to host one-on-one calls in order to discuss these elements “in person.” Of course, this option isn’t anonymous, but it has the advantage of literally demonstrating how you want to listen, hear and act on the input.
Eliminate the unnecessary wherever possible.
Feedback is important, but it’s tough to remember everything that worked or didn’t over the last few months, especially with everything else going on in the world.
Yet, knowing what’s working and what’s not is essential to removing roadblocks and productivity drains.
When it comes to technology that empowers remote workers and on-site collaboration, these tools thankfully provide some pretty robust data and insight. User adoption is a key metric, but depending on your specific tool, you may be able to see time using the tool, which elements of a tool were used, and so much more.
Many organizations scrambled to purchase the hottest virtual work tools to help their teams get up to speed quickly once we started quarantining. But you may have bought more than you needed, or maybe some tools just aren’t necessary at all anymore. Or perhaps some tools had elements that could have helped, but your team didn’t take advantage of them much.
Dig into the data and use all the reporting tools your tech stack provides. Then, consider sending a follow-up survey asking more pointed questions based on insights you gather from the data. An example could be something like, “We noticed that only 20% of you participated in individual conversations using Slack during quarantine. How did you prefer to have these one-on-one conversations? Was there a reason why you didn’t use Slack for them?”
Digging deeper and going beyond the data itself is where the magic is, and where you’re likely to gain extra insight to help your team be more productive, while maximizing ROI on your tech spend.
Provide as much structure and “normalcy” as you can.
You may have been super flexible with your team’s work schedule when they first started working in quarantine. With so many parents struggling to balance taking care of their kids (or pets!) with work, that extra grace was surely appreciated.
But now that everyone is in their groove and has been working from home for quite some time, adding some traditional structure to your remote employees can be extremely helpful. This is especially important if you have some team members who are back in the office.
Some extra grace for employees who are still trying to balance kids and work will still be appreciated, though, to be sure!
Don’t be afraid to add some accountability back.
It was pretty chaotic in those early days of quarantine. Along with schedule flexibility, you may have been extra forgiving of gaffes, mistakes or missed work. But, now that we’re all adjusting and moving forward, adding in normal accountability can help your team stay focused and productive.
Hosting regular meetings for the team (even your in-office staff can hop on a Zoom), setting expectations for reports and input, and setting expectations for chat platforms can further nurture the structure mentioned above, and provide a more realistic work-like environment for those who are still working at home. It can also help ease productivity roadblocks for your in-office staff when they need to collaborate with their remote colleagues.
Stay on top of communication with all of your employees.
When you’ve made changes to expectations, structure, technology or any and all of the above, it’s especially paramount that you communicate these changes or updates effectively to your entire team. This will help set expectations and ensure everyone is on the same page, regardless of location.
Thoughtful, honest conversations will help your employees feel valued and heard, and keeping them in the loop of changes and updates helps them work as efficiently and productively as possible. It’s a win all around!
Having the right people on your team is the biggest productivity boost.
Here at Matlen Silver, our network of on-shore, engaged and highly professional talent is adept at seamlessly integrating with your team to help boost productivity and drive results. Our recruiters understand your business and its challenges, and provide the most exceptional talent to help you reach your goals. Contact us today to speak with a member of our team or learn more about our recruiting solutions.