It’s the age of remote work.
In 2019, 115% more people worked from home as compared to 2018. And, now with the COVID-19 scare, this number has increased even more. From enterprises to startups, companies of all scales and sizes have jumped on the remote work bandwagon.
While remote work has obvious benefits (cost savings, better work-life balance, etc.), it can take a toll on employee productivity. Companies like Google and Amazon actually called their employees back to the office when they noticed a performance dip.
But why does employee productivity decrease in remote setups?
Sometimes, it’s a lack of supervision that tempts remote workers to go off-track. Other times, it’s feelings of isolation, communication lag, and unhealthy morale. Whatever be the reason, the fact is that remote work is here to stay. In short, you need to make the arrangement work for you.
Just implement the productivity hacks I’ve outlined in this post. Let’s discuss them in detail…
3 Productivity Hacks for Remote Teams
There’s no denying that remote employees don’t enjoy facetime with managers and easy access to information like their onsite peers. But with the tactics mentioned below, their productivity can be maintained and even increased.
1. Equip Workers with the Right Tools
Invest in tools that keep you connected with your remote workers so that they can reach out to you if they face challenges at work. It’s also important to teach them how to use the tools efficiently.
Your tech stack should consist of video conferencing tools for daily team meetings and training. Using platforms like GoToMeeting, you can share screens, give presentations, conduct surveys, and share files with ease.
You also need task/project management apps for allocating work, checking task status, and keeping the pipeline uncluttered.
On top of that, tools for team communication like Slack and Skype can help to keep all team members on the same page.
Before you share sensitive business information on these platforms, ensure that your IT team secures and leak-proofs these platforms.
2. Boost Employee Morale
Remote workers often feel pangs of isolation and detachment. They can feel bored working out of the same set-up day in and out. All of this can hamper their productivity and overall morale.
To keep your employees upbeat, touch base with them frequently over calls and text messages. Celebrate their accomplishments and bond informally outside of work. Set a ritual of daily meetings to help team members create a rapport with each other.
Despite all of these measures, if your remote employees feel dejected and unproductive, the issue may be deeper than just a change of environment. In that case, they might benefit from tips to stimulate the mind (as shown below).
If your teams are from diverse backgrounds and geographies, language barriers can impede their communication. They can feel self-conscious and misunderstood. When there are gaps in communication, work and individual and team productivity can suffer.
To avoid this situation from cropping up, hire people from compatible backgrounds if possible. If you work with international teams, use translation software to improve communication.
3. Set Expectations
Right from the get-go, set protocols that you expect your remote workers to follow.
- Convey clearly the deadlines and quality standards expected from them. You need not be overly rigid about these requirements, but ensure that they are met nonetheless.
- Explain the importance of dedicated workspaces to eliminate distractions, especially during team and client meetings. If you have the resources, lease co-working spaces for your teams to operate out of.
- Set “rules of engagement” for meetings (no-pajamas, check-in on time, etc.).
- Emphasize the gravity of informing managers about status updates, time-offs, and glitches in task completion. Have a proper system to address serial offenders.
- While flexibility is one of the biggest perks of working from home, it’s important that workers adhere to regular working hours. This way, you can plan tasks and deliveries ahead of time and avoid chaos.
You can use the project management apps (from point 1) to automate task follow-ups and report employee productivity. This way, you can take proactive action when your teams are lagging.
As you can see, employee productivity issues can be resolved easily if you have the right tech stack and a result-oriented mindset. You also need to have an empathetic, supportive attitude towards the unique challenges your remote teams face. With all of this sorted, nothing can stop your remote teams from being super-charged and productive every day.
Do you have questions about the hacks I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments. I’ll be happy to answer them.