Five Tips for Keeping Your Remote Workforce Productive
It is a challenge that many businesses have been grappling with in recent years, but the disruption caused by Covid-19 has brought the question into stark focus in 2020: How do you keep a remote workforce productive?
As we try to drive business continuity in such unprecedented circumstances, many of us are having to quickly reengineer our workforce operations to keep the wheels of our business turning. Yet we also know that some elements of remote work will probably remain with us, with 80% of workers now preferring jobs which offer flexible working, and 30% of people valuing remote work options over holiday time.
Thankfully, we have the technology for keeping a remote workforce productive if we use these new tools in the right way. By combining the right technology with our people and processes, we can continue driving productivity well after the current disruption is over.
Encourage a schedule to prevent burnout
It may seem counterintuitive, but many employees will actually end up working longer hours in remote work scenarios. This is due to two factors:
- A lack of separation between their work environment and home environment makes it harder to switch off.
- Managers creating unreasonable levels of work to be completed in an attempt to maintain accountability.
To prevent burnout, we need to remember that employees shouldn’t be working longer hours just because they aren’t commuting. Encourage employees to stick to an office hours schedule for completing their work.
Provide the right tools for each role
Few factors will limit productivity more than not providing your employees with the technology and tools to do their work. Yet an astonishing 80% of the workforce were reporting back in 2019 that they don’t have the technology to do their jobs properly.
Whether we like it or not, our employees will find the applications they need for completing their work with or without our permission. To limit the use of shadow IT and malware, it’s a good idea to create an inventory of the applications each employee needs on their device and ensure they’re consistently updated.
Create accountability in every role
Although we still want to maintain a level of mutual trust with our employees, there is obviously a need to maintain some level of accountability, particularly when we can’t physically see our employees’ working.
Tools such as Slack can be great for tracking project progress but it’s a good idea to create a similar tracker for each employee’s workload. This could even be a simple cloud-shared document or spreadsheet that outlines their list of tasks and deadlines for completion.
Regular meetings provide reassurance
While accountability is important for productivity, so is the reassurance employees need that they’re on the right track. Even if there aren’t any specific priorities to discuss at the time, it’s still important to hold regular meetings to understand any challenges they might be facing and to check their all-around engagement and mood.
Modern conferencing tools such as Microsoft Teams or Pexip offer tools for bringing the face-to-face element of these meetings to life. Combining weekly one-on-one meetings with twice weekly team meetings seems to be the ideal mix for most managers.
Keep the morale high with engaging comms
Remember that many people appreciate the general chitchat that takes place in the workplace each day. Just because you aren’t all in the same room, doesn’t mean you can’t maintain some polite banter about current events, or even which shows you’re all watching on Netflix.
Use messaging tools such as Skype, Slack or Microsoft Teams to keep a lifeline of communication across your team or the entire business. While it’s helpful to share success stories about completed projects, try to balance the work chat with some fun conversations so that people don’t just feel like robots.
Of course, keeping your workforce productive requires the best available technology so your employees can complete their work each day. Here at MicrotechDPS, this is why we’ve partnered with HP to offer industry-leading PCs, powered by Intel® processors, that are designed with remote workforce productivity in mind. Find out more by visiting our productivity portal - Explore Workplace 2020.