Without all the time spent chit-chatting in the pantry area, gazing at the clock longingly, avoiding their boss, or trying to look busy, your remote employees can actually get a lot more work done. In fact, 77% of remote employees say they’re more productive when working away from the office, and 52% are less likely to take time off.
While the statistics are certainly favourable, that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to further your remote team’s productivity and ensure they remain engaged and motivated at all times. And so, let’s take a look at the top four productivity hacks you can incorporate into your remote team’s work environment to boost productivity.
Encourage Open Communication and Quick Collaboration
First off, your remote team’s productivity largely relies on your ability to facilitate strong open communication amongst your employees. Simply put, open communication and quick collaboration are key to ensuring your team stays on the same page and on the right track.
Sure, you can just rely on good old email, but you’ll likely agree that email isn’t the best for quick two-way communication and quite dull. Rather, create a casual remote environment where your team can openly communicate and share feedback without hesitation.
Consider using communication apps like Slack or Skype that have an informal and fun vibe, at the same time being feature-rich and cost-effective. Essentially, allowing an informal approach to communication, endorsing the occasional use of GIFs and memes, will likely result in more transparent communication along with better team unity and productivity.
And for seamless collaboration, a central, online place to store and share files, such as Google Drive or Dropbox, makes sure that team members can gain access to what they need at any moment and from anywhere. If you’re recruiting new employees, ensure to have an employee on-boarding process (a digital adoption platform can help here) that outlines all these communication guidelines and tools so they start contributing as a valued team member right away.
Also, consider holding a short (say, 20 minute) video huddle meeting each morning so everyone gets to know what their colleagues are going to be working on and their schedule. This helps keep all team members in accord.
Provide Flexibility and Trust Your Team
Routinely checking in on your team is fine, but every individual has their own way to tackle their workload. Ultimately, what should matter is their output, not the number of hours they put in to complete their tasks.
Trusting your team and their ability to hit deadlines means allowing them to work flexibly on their own pace without micro-managing them. Employees would take ownership of their work and automatically be more productive if you provide more flexibility.
So let your employees know that you have confidence in their work ethic and at the end of the day, you value the team’s output rather than their working hours. And if an employee is not outputting the work they’re expected to, politely ask them if there’s anything you can do to help.
In fact, it’s a good idea to promote healthy activities, such as taking regular breaks away from the desk, working out, and getting enough sleep. Not only does it help increase their productivity, but it shows that you care about your workers, not just the business profits that they produce.
Thus, cultivate a remote culture that’s founded on trust while favouring flexible working hours with more work-life balance, and you’ll see a huge uptick in the productivity levels of every team member.
Give Employee Recognition
Just because remote workers are out of sight doesn’t mean their efforts shouldn’t be kept in mind. To keep every team member engaged, productive, and motivated, you must see to it that their contributions aren’t gone unrecognised.
There are many ways to give employee recognition so they know they’re a valuable part of the company. For instance, do you have an employee who is proactive in communication, even when working from home? Write them a personalised message to show your gratitude for that employee’s ability to remain energetic from their new work environment. When shared publicly, recognition drives motivation further for everyone on the team, resulting in more of the same good behaviour in the future from other employees as well.
Another great way to give employee recognition while also supporting local businesses during these testing times of COVID-19 is by purchasing gift cards that your employees can redeem as soon as it’s safe to venture out again. Many employees like to be rewarded for their efforts with gift cards rather than cash, as it shows a personal touch from the employer.
You can even show your appreciation by getting a delicious yet healthy meal delivered to your employees, they’ll be grateful for one less meal to cook and a little less stress on their plates.
Host Virtual Team-Building Activities
Last but not least, in a remote setting, building a sense of camaraderie can be tricky. And the feeling of being united as a team in order to achieve a common goal is important for employees to remain motivated and productive, especially when working remotely.
An effective way to strengthen the sense of solidarity in your remote team is to regularly host recreational team-building activities. This could be anything from virtual happy hours and online gaming (such as a first-person shooter or racing game) to charades and fun quizzes.
So coming together on video (say, the last Friday evening of every month) for such team bonding activities is an amazing way to create a positive remote working experience and thus, improve productivity levels.