Remote work exploded onto the scene during the pandemic, and it isn’t going anywhere. Businesses must therefore find ways to ensure their employees remain productive and engaged when working remotely. Here are the top 20 ways to bolster remote productivity to help businesses adapt and thrive in this new era of work.
1. Set clear expectations and goals
One of the most effective ways to maintain productivity in remote work settings is to establish clear expectations and goals for your employees. Communicate deadlines, targets, and performance indicators upfront, and regularly check in with your team to ensure they are on track to meet their objectives. This not only helps to keep employees focused but also helps to prevent misunderstandings that could lead to decreased productivity.
2. Prioritize communication
Communication can become more challenging due to the lack of face-to-face interaction for remote workers. To mitigate this, prioritize regular communication through multiple channels like email, video calls, and instant messaging. Encourage your team to share their progress, challenges, and ideas with one another. Make it a point to provide feedback and recognition for their efforts.
3. Provide the right tools and technology
Having access to the right tools and technology is essential for productivity. Invest in high-quality software and hardware for your employees so they have the necessary resources to complete their tasks efficiently. This includes laptops, monitors, and other necessary equipment, as well as software for project management, video conferencing, and file sharing.
4. Encourage a healthy work-life balance
Burnout is a real concern for remote employees. It can negatively impact productivity. Encourage your team to maintain a healthy work-life balance by setting boundaries and respecting their personal time. Encourage them to take breaks throughout the day and make time for hobbies, exercise, and socializing. When workers don’t do this, burnout is just around the corner.
5. Regular check-ins
Regular check-ins with your team members can help to identify any challenges they may be facing and provide the necessary support to overcome them. Schedule one-on-one meetings with each employee to discuss their progress, address any concerns, and offer guidance as needed. This way, your employees feel supported but also receive a sense of connection and engagement within the team.
6. Offer flexibility
One of the biggest advantages of remote work is the flexibility it offers. Allow your employees to set their schedules and work at the times that are most convenient for them. This can help to accommodate different time zones, personal commitments, and individual productivity patterns, ultimately leading to increased productivity and job satisfaction too.
7. Provide a culture of trust
Trust is a vital component of a successful remote work environment. Be transparent with your employees about company goals, expectations, and any changes that may affect them. Empower your team members to make decisions and take ownership of their work. When employees feel trusted, they are going to be more engaged and more productive.
8. Provide opportunities for skill development
Invest in your employees’ professional development. This can have a huge impact on their productivity. Provide opportunities for skill development through online courses, webinars, and workshops to help your team members grow and develop new competencies. This not only keeps your employees engaged but also ensures that they have the skills needed to perform at their best.
This is important considering wages have increased by 6.4% in the UK and by 4.3% in the US alone over the last year. Increasing your employees’ skills is the sure-shot way to get the best bang for the salary buck.
9. Encourage collaboration
While remote work can make collaboration more challenging, you must find ways to encourage teamwork and cooperation among your employees. Leverage collaborative tools like shared documents, virtual whiteboards, and project management platforms to promote collaboration and keep everyone on the same page.
10. Forge a positive company culture
A positive company culture is key to keeping employees motivated and productive, especially when working remotely. Promote a culture of support, recognition, and camaraderie by celebrating successes, recognizing individual achievements, and encouraging social interactions through virtual events and team-building activities. This is how you create a sense of belonging and unity in spite of employees being physically apart.
11. Use employee monitoring with caution
While employee monitoring can provide insights into productivity and help identify areas for improvement, it’s crucial to approach it with caution. Overzealous monitoring can lead to a lack of trust and negatively impact employee morale. Be transparent about your monitoring practices, and focus on using the data to support your team and provide constructive feedback, rather than using it as a punitive measure.
Monitoring cautiously can be even more difficult in industries like healthcare when laws like HIPAA come into play. For example, maintaining compliance with a remote team means meeting several requirements including risk assessments, data security and only using HIPAA-approved applications. Monitoring remote employees can cause privacy breaches as far as the law is concerned.
12. Solicit feedback and act on it
Your employees are the best source of information when it comes to identifying challenges in a remote work setting. Regularly solicit feedback from your team members and take their concerns and suggestions seriously. Address the issues they face and implement their suggestions. If you do, you can create a more productive and enjoyable remote work environment for your team.
13. Set up a virtual mentorship program
Mentorship can play a big role in employee development and productivity. Set up a virtual mentorship program – you can connect experienced team members with newer employees, spur knowledge sharing and grow skill development. This will accelerate the learning process for remote employees and improve their productivity.
14. Recognize and reward success
Acknowledge and reward employees’ accomplishments and hard work. It is absolutely essential for maintaining motivation and productivity. Implement a system of recognition and rewards for your remote employees that highlights their achievements and reinforces positive behavior. You could include shout-outs during team meetings, bonus structures, or virtual award ceremonies.
15. Create opportunities for informal interactions
Informal interactions and water cooler conversations play a crucial role in team bonding and can have a positive impact on overall productivity. Encourage virtual coffee breaks, virtual happy hours, or other informal gatherings that allow employees to connect and socialize with their colleagues, even if they are working remotely.
16. Optimize workspaces
Encourage your employees to set up dedicated and comfortable workspaces in their homes. A well-organized and comfortable workspace can significantly impact productivity and focus. Offer guidelines and tips for setting up a productive remote workspace and, if possible, provide financial support to help employees create a conducive work environment at home.
Another way to optimize productivity is to use CRM (customer relationship management) software. A CRM essentially serves as a tool for employees to interact with customers and for employees to interact with one another as well. Specifically, look for CRM software that comes with critical features such as knowledge-based training, ticketing systems, and AI-powered automation.
17. Encourage regular physical activity
Regular physical activity has been proven to radically boost mental well-being and productivity. Encourage your remote employees to incorporate physical activity into their daily routines. This could be taking a walk, practicing yoga, or engaging in a workout. Consider organizing virtual fitness challenges or offering gym memberships to help employees stay active and healthy.
18. Monitor and manage stress levels
Remote work can lead to increased stress levels due to factors such as isolation, lack of boundaries, and increased workload. Monitor your team’s stress levels and implement strategies to help them manage stress effectively. This could mean offering mental health resources, promoting relaxation techniques, or implementing a company-wide wellness program.
19. Provide ongoing support
As remote work becomes the norm, it’s essential to provide ongoing support to your employees to help them adapt to the new work environment. Offer resources, training, and tools to help your team navigate the challenges of remote work and ensure they are well-equipped to succeed in their roles.
20. Continuously evaluate and improve remote work policies
Lastly, it is crucial to continuously evaluate and improve your remote work policies and procedures. Regularly assess the effectiveness of your current strategies. Identify areas for improvement, and be open to adopting new practices that may better serve your team’s needs.
Keeping remote work productive is an ongoing process that requires a proactive approach. By implementing the strategies outlined above, you can create a supportive and engaging remote work environment that fosters productivity and success.
Set clear expectations, prioritize communication, and provide the right tools, and you’ll be on your way to fostering a supportive and trusting work environment, and you can ensure your employees remain productive and engaged, no matter where they are working. As remote work continues to evolve, staying adaptable and open to new ideas will allow your business to thrive and make the most of this new era of work.
About the Author
Nahla Davies is a software developer and tech writer. Before devoting her work full-time to technical writing, she managed—among other intriguing things—to serve as a lead programmer at an Inc. 5,000 experiential branding organization whose clients include Samsung, Time Warner, Netflix, and Sony.
See also: The Top Retail Trends in 2023