With this in mind, we’ve put together our top 5 tips for helping your team to be more productive when working remotely.
It’s important to ensure that your team is equipped with the necessary technology to enable productivity when working from home. Without having access to the same (or similar) technologies that they would have in the office, it is unrealistic to expect your team members to maintain a high level of productivity.
Project management apps such as Trello, Asana and Jira can help your team to manage their time more efficiently and ensure they are on track to achieving specific goals or tasks; whilst chat/messaging apps such as Microsoft Teams and Slack can help colleagues to feel more connected and communicate more efficiently. It is also worthwhile to use video conferencing apps such as Zoom and Google Hangouts, which will help your team to build quality face-to-face relationships with colleagues and clients, whilst maintaining the ‘human’ feel of your organisation.
Having a designated workspace can encourage your team members to separate their working life from their home life. By having a workspace which is free from any potential distractions, employees can set themselves up to be more productive throughout their day.
The benefits of compartmentalisation should also be emphasised to your team. By having a working space which is away from your usual living area, you can ensure that the spaces in your home which you usually associate with relaxation (e.g. your living room, bedroom, etc.), do not instead become associated with work. In essence, your chosen workspace should be somewhere where you ‘check in’ for work, and ‘check out’ after work – helping to distinguish some important boundaries between your work life and personal life.
With managers not being able to communicate as freely and regularly with colleagues as they would in the office, it is important to establish a daily check-in routine which outlines priorities and fosters collaboration on key projects. By utilising morning check-ins with your team, either on a one-to-one basis or in small groups, you can create a sense of normalcy and set your team up to have a focused and productive day.
If you usually have a face-to-face check-in routine, you can use some of the productivity apps mentioned above to create a virtual version of the same meeting. For example, you could schedule daily Zoom meetings at 9:15am, helping to ensure each team member knows their specific role and tasks for the day ahead.
When working from home, it can be easy to abandon your usual work attire for something more comfortable, such as your pyjamas. Whilst comfort should remain a priority when working from home, your team members should be encouraged to dress for success, especially if they regularly interact with clients, customers, or colleagues via video conferencing. Dressing well can also give you a much-needed psychological boost, helping to increase self- confidence and allowing you to focus more clearly on your daily work tasks. This doesn’t mean you have to be suited and booted every day, but just looking and feeling the part can have a big impact on your productivity levels.
Working from home can often be a lonely place, especially if you are used to the hustle and bustle of office life. Without things such as in-person team bonding events, company sports teams, or even meeting face-to-face with colleagues and clients every day, it can be extremely difficult to build up connections and relationships with your co-workers.
So, how can we do this when working from home? Whilst it is great to connect via written word through email or apps such as Microsoft Teams, some people much prefer face-to-face interactions. Considering this, try to make use of Zoom, Skype or Facetime which all allow you to see the other person who you are communicating with. By encouraging face-to-face interactions, or at least the use of voice chat, your team members will be able to maintain and build stronger relationships with colleagues and clients, whilst reconnecting with the ‘realness’ of your organisation as a whole.
Above all, it is important to remember that the current lockdown has affected everyone in different ways. Therefore, you must set realistic expectations of your workers and deploy empathy if their productivity levels fall below usual standards. However, by providing proactive support and implementing the 5 tips outlined above, you will certainly set your team up for success when working remotely.