The COVID-19 pandemic has taken the world by surprise prompting many organizations across the globe to shift to remote working. While many employees do have some prior experience in working remotely, many managers and workers are still finding it difficult to adjust to this paradigm shift. So how do we ascertain that the employees adapt to this new requirement and be productive at their work while doing WFH (Work from Home)? Here, we will be discussing 7 proven techniques that can help your employees and the organization to overcome these issues.
1. Start the work early
When employees are working in an office, some of them might get up early and move to office in order to avoid the peak time traffic. However, while working from home their transition from pillow to the computer can be bit irritating. This problem can be overcome by having daily team huddles in the morning. Waking up early in the morning and working with fresh mind can fetch great rewards. There will be uniqueness, freshness and a new perspective to solve problems when the team starts work early in the morning.
There are lots of conventional wisdom that have supported the benefits of working early in the morning. This wisdom is well supported with scientific research as well. A study published in year 2014 reveals that people who go to bed late are more likely to be disturbed with repetitive negative thoughts. Another research by Christopher Randler, from the University of Education in Germany revealed that Morning people are more cooperative, persistent, conscientious, agreeable and proactive. Which manager would not like to have his team mates with all these characteristics!
Aristotle said “It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom.”. Benjamin Franklin wrote “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”
2. Ask your employees to create a To-Do list
According to a survey done by Airtasker on 505 employees working remotely; it was found that 30% of these employees found their productivity improved by creating a simple To-Do list for their work for the day. The managers should encourage their employees to create a to-do list for the tasks they plan to do at the beginning of their day itself. This will help them to avoid jumping from one assignment to the other. Other than that, the team should also set up daily or weekly meetings to discuss and prioritise projects based on the deadlines so as to avoid last minute rush.
3. Equip your teams with the right tools
According to a survey conducted by the Forrester group, 38 percent of employees have claimed that their remote working environments are not often optimised for productivity, as a result of noise distractions, personal messages to technology issues. If an employee working at home is provided with a slow speed computer, inappropriate software, inaudible conference call equipment, then manager cannot expect quality work from the him. The manager or the employer should take up the responsibility to ensure that the team is provided with the best tools to succeed in their works. The various tech options that are provided to the employees should be flexible, mobile and inclusive.
4. Find ways to Eliminate Distractions
Until now, many regular office going employees would have never required the dedicated workspace at their homes. However, with the present situations, the companies are left with no choice but to ask their employees to work from home. The brings a lot of flexibility and time for the employees, but at the same time attracts other issues with it. According to the 2018 Avast Mobile Workforce Report, 46% of the employees working from home have mentioned that the biggest disadvantage of having to work from home is related to the distractions. It can be distractions related to social media, phone calls, texts, domestic issues etc.
At home, employees can have many distractions throughout the day, therefore steps should be taken to avoid these disturbances. The managers should encourage their employees to create a small but separate space for work related to the office. Organizations can offer some bonus or extra pay to help their employees to create appropriate, focused and dedicated spaces to work remotely.
5. Encourage Non work interactions and Team building
It is important for the managers to facilitate non-work interactions among employees working from home. Companies can encourage the use of multiple online communication tools like Google hangouts or slack for this purpose. Working for long at remote setup can lead to social isolation for the members of team, which can take a toll on their mental health. Some amount of time should be given to the employees to talk about news, hobbies or other non-work topics. This can relieve a lot of stress from them and make them feel better connected. One way of achieving this can be through a few minutes of video conferences before and after the work for the people to catch up. Alternative to this the company can also host an end of week Friday Virtual Happy hour (without drinks of course!) for a virtual team building exercise.
6. Encouraging team to take regular tea and lunch breaks
Although it may sound basic, but we are all aware how it is easy to get caught up in work and spend long hours without taking breaks. This can be very stressful and can often be treated as a classic reason for burnout to happen. Managers must ensure that their teams are taking breaks, by not just eating lunch or snacks at their desks, but also getting up, stretching and walking around inside the home. This can do a world of good to their teams by making them more productive with improved mental health and increased creativity in thinking and work.
7. Trusting Your Team
Trust is one of the most important aspect in the professional community when it comes to working remotely. The major reason for organizations to show their unwillingness to remote work is because of the lack of certainty on whether the work will get completed or not on time. As the present COVID situation demands work from home, the managers should trust their employees and avoid doing too much of micro management. Instead of setting up strict work from home guidelines like demanding response to an email within an hour, expecting every day work deliverables etc, the work culture should replicate normal style of working at office. This will not only make the employees feel trusted but also give them less stress and enhance their productivity.
In Conclusion, the shift towards working from home may not just be an option but may soon become the new normal. Following the above mentioned 7 strategies can be a great investment in the team – thus helping a manager or a company beating the odds in a tough time.