Large employers like Google, Amazon, LinkedIn, Apple, Twitter, and many more are urging their employees to work from home to mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19.
But before this outbreak, working from home started becoming popular around 15 years ago. Since then, employers have seen the benefits this modality brings to their bottom line. This might explain why the number of remote employees has increased by 115%, according to a report from Global Workplace Analytics and FlexJobs.
Although this might sound like heaven for many employees, it comes with its challenges, primarily when it comes to staying focused and maintaining a high level of productivity.
How can you make sure you are maximizing your remote staff's performance during these challenging times?
To help you better manage your remote team, we've come up with 4 pillars to consider to help boost productivity.
1. Optimize Communication
Let's start from the premise that every meeting that takes place is crucial.
When it comes to developing meetings that involve your virtual staff, it is highly recommended to implement video calls, instead of phone calls, as recommended by productivity experts. If you limit yourself to just phone calls, employees are naturally tempted to do multi-task during meeting.
Try to ensure that both you, and your team, can rely on assertive communication tools, which implies that you use technological systems that allow you to communicate quickly, orderly, and clearly with your collaborators.
Platforms like Basecamp, Evernote, GotoMeeting, and Skype, among others, can help you better manage your remote team and their responsibilities.
2. Focus on Building Trust Every Day
Employees who work from home can bring significant value to the company, impacting your bottom line.
However, if you do not have an employee engagement strategy in place for these types of workers, you run the risk of losing their interest in playing a part of your team and, therefore, in your company.
According to a Harvard study, additional measures must be taken to build and develop trust and connection between your in-house and remote workers.
The same study reflected that 52% of the respondents felt that the rest of the team began to have less trust in them, and started leaving them aside from important work-related decisions.
As previously discussed, the lack of commitment can significantly affect your bottom line.
3. Promote Leadership From a Distance
I have seen how particular employees are terrific leaders when they are in the office. They get involved in projects, communicate effectively with high-level leaders in the company, provide constructive feedback to their colleagues, among other actions that can rank in the highest level of leadership.
However, when they are working from home, their leadership goes unnoticed.
It is critical to consider the following points to promote leadership in both scenarios:
- A collaborative mindset must be established,
- Clear performance standards must be established,
- Every managed member come to a narrowed communication channel,
- And the professional development of the team is always present and accessible to them, even at a distance.
4. Promote the Well-Being of the Team
It is a perfect opportunity to motivate the employee to improve their quality of life.
Experts recommend motivating the employee to find a balance between work and health, as long as it does not affect their productivity, or interfere with the time of the rest of the team. That is, it does not affect their participation in work meetings.
If an employee that works from home needs to adjust his or her regular schedule because he or she is willing to go to the gym, allow it.
It has been found countless times, how beneficial it is to have a team that is physically active. The results range from exhibiting better stress management, improving rest and concentration, reducing anxiety, and even reduced sick days!
Before the coronavirus emerged, it was reported that only 29% of Americans could work from home, as stated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
I'm sure that number will increase once the crisis has passed, as many employers will start noticing the value that virtual staff brings to the table when it comes to maximizing output.
The key is to adapt the workforce to emerging challenges.
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If you have questions about how to implement any of these tips in your organization, we're here to help. From job board optimization, social media strategy, and applicant communications, we have the team to help you get the job done.