Better Tech Equals Better Productivity For Remote Work
Implementing remote work technology without a strategy will result in poor performance and decrease productivity levels. As we go forward, there are ways to keep employees working efficiently (and happily) at home.
The coronavirus pandemic forced the business world to adapt quickly and with little time to plan. Now the business world relies on virtual, as opposed to face-to-face, connection with one another.
For many, lockdown meant sending their employees home to work or massive layoffs. In such a short time span, approaches were ad-hoc at best, which is to be expected given the circumstances. According to Gartner, most organizations plan to embrace a hybrid approach between remote and in-office work, while also varying shift times and even alternating days in office.
How Do You Keep Your Remote Workforce As Productive As Possible?
How do you transition from an unplanned and hastily deployed work environment into a cohesive, secure approach that allows for greater productivity? Is it truly possible to have employees working as efficiently from home as they would in the office?
In our experience, absolutely. Remote work isn’t a new concept – we’ve helped many businesses embrace remote work prior to the pandemic – experiencing many benefits, including:
- Shorter commute time, increasing job satisfaction
- Greater employee satisfaction, and in turn, less turnover
- Lower costs associated with office spaces and supplies
- Increased productivity across all departments
If you’re ready to make remote WORK for you, then here are our top recommendations for keeping your remote workforce as productive as they are in the office:
- Use Microsoft Office 365 to schedule “work hours” in the calendar: Your remote workforce is bound to have a different schedule than usual, especially as many of them have kids at home. Encourage each employee to set a schedule for their work hours so they’re working at the same time each day. They should communicate these hours with their friends and family so they’re free of distractions during this time. Once you have picked your eight work hours, give them each meaning with specific daily task names, and label each time accordingly. You can even assign “do not disturb”. This allows colleagues to quickly look at the Microsoft Teams app and know the availability of their coworkers.
- Offer trust without limitations: As a business owner, give your people the freedom to schedule their days as they see fit and submit meetings around their schedule. If there is a conflict, asking your employee as to their status goes a long way to make them feel empowered and trusted.
- Make the upfront financial investments: If you have employees that will be working from home and in the office, make the proper investment: laptops, firewalls, VPN access, docking stations and multi-monitor environments – whatever your team needs to succeed. Yes, you will pay a bit more upfront, but those commitments will pay dividends in security and overall performance.
- Keep everyone engaged as much as possible: When you are in the office, it is easy to drop by someone’s desk and have a 5-minute chat. In a remote environment, you can use Microsoft Teams for daily “micro meetings”.
- Hold one another accountable: Create weekly tracking metrics and let people know on Monday what you expect by Friday. Use the to-do and Task features of your CRM (you do have a CRM, right?) to clearly show what is expected of everyone and manage to: weekly, monthly and quarterly objectives.
- Invest in the right collaboration tools: Yes, we love Microsoft 365, but we also recognize that there are many options in this market and it is important to select one based on your specific needs and goals. By working with a third party vendor you gain the benefit of learning how multiple diverse organizations are using these tools and then you can select the best one for your business
- Use project management software: Much like collaboration tools, CRMs provide tools for sales, project management, accounting, invoicing, and hundreds of other needs. Take the time to review as the market is wide open, from free platforms to enterprise and everything in the middle. The right investment here will make the difference between “surviving” and “thriving.”
- Time tracking software: Time Tracking software can integrate with your CRM and other tools to give a clear snapshot of each person’s time spent and evaluate productivity.
- Switch to an outcome focus: This rule is less about technology and more about people skills. Remember, technology will only take you so far. Everyone working for you wants to do a good job. By focusing on outcomes rather than activities you can give guidance to maximize benefits.
- Set some ground rules: Although trust is important, it’s also important to have some ground rules in place. Your management team should get together and decide on some ground rules, even if they’re as simple as “communicate once a week and no distraction on video calls.” Ground rules help keep your remote workforce efficient.
Have questions about keeping your remote workforce productive? Need help setting up the right tools? Get in touch with us via the chatbox.