How to Help Employees Stay Productive When They Work from Home
We’re at a crisis point right now throughout the world, and it’s leading many companies to have their employees work remotely if possible. Even when there’s not a crisis like the Covid-19 pandemic, however, remote work can be beneficial for employers and employees alike.
There are challenges, though.
For employers, it’s important to properly manage remote employees to ensure they stay productive and accountable, and the following are some ways to do that.
Using an intranet, email, video chat, or a combination of tactics can help you keep employees in the loop. If you use an intranet, for example, you can provide news and updates to employees in a centralized place, let them know what’s going on and what the plan is, recognize employees and more.
This is important because the more connected employees feel to the workplace, the more productive and accountable they are likely to be.
Additionally, if you’re recognizing employees’ good work, they’re also going to be more accountable and productive.
It’s necessary that employees who are working remotely can quickly and easily access the information they need.
Finding answers to even very basic questions can be a lot more difficult when working from home. That can impact productivity significantly, but with things like an intranet, you can deliver the needed information in a streamlined way.
Employees can feel lost during a time like we’re currently facing, and that’s especially true if they’re moving to remote work when they’re used to working in the office.
To settle some of their uneasiness, make sure you set very clear expectations for remote work.
For example, without expectations, some employees might think they have to work much longer hours than they would ordinarily or be reachable at all times. This can quickly lead to burnout, and then accompanying problems with accountability and productivity.
When you set clear and manageable expectations, it’ll be much more effective to keep employees on track.
Along with expectations, you also need to make sure you’re outlining goals you have for employees, so they know what you need for them to achieve.
It’s a good idea to write all goals and objectives, and then you might want to offer some ways of meeting these goals to be tracked across teams.
You might think about having a daily schedule, too, if your employees are in the same time zone. This gives not only accountability but also a sense of structure more similar to what employees might be used to in the traditional workplace.
Connect Employees with the Right Tools
There are a lot of tools that make it easier to work remotely, so check in with your employees to figure out what they most need so you can then make sure they have access.
Slack and Zoom are two especially popular platforms for communication right now, although there are many others.
For physical tools, make sure your employees have working computers at home. You may have to set aside laptops and monitors and have them ready in case someone’s computer breaks down.
Useful computer accessories, like multiport USB hubs, can help create a more efficient and organized WFH setup. Your staff members can maximize their laptop’s limited number of USB ports to connect their USB flash drives for work files, keyboard, mouse, and more.
When you have the right tools in place, then it’s easier to keep people accountable because you can check in with one another, including in a virtual face-to-face way. You can also manage tasks more effectively and track progress.
Think About Emotional and Mental Health Needs
Employers may feel like it’s best for them just to focus on business during this time, but your employees are your most valuable asset and they are also people.
As an employer, you can keep your employees productive by encouraging them to focus on their mental health.
Provide them with guidelines and tips for staying mentally healthy and encourage them to maintain work-life balance, even when it’s a challenge.
You can also have some fun during this time.
For example, you can have team-building exercises that are done virtually, or you can have virtual happy hours, although of course no one is required to drink.
Provide Opportunities for Teamwork
With remote workers, teamwork is still so important in many different ways. First, it can combat isolation to feel that you’re working with others. It can also help you stay innovative during times of crisis.
Beyond that, when people are working together on projects, then they are going to be more accountable to one another.
Try to provide assignments that require collaboration at some level.
What you may find with proper management is that even if your workers are remote for Covid-19 that it becomes something you can integrate into your business even after the threat passes to reduce overhead and provide more employee flexibility.