Working from home creates a few challenges – more distractions, an inability to work in the same room as your coworkers, etc. Each of these realities can have a direct impact on productivity. With more employees working from home than ever before, it’s important to take steps to set telecommuting employees up for success. Here are four ways that you can help your employees stay productive when working from home.
Set Regular Check-ins
Just because you’re not in the same place as your employees doesn’t mean you can’t connect with them. While emails and group chat platforms are helpful for regular communication, regular face time is still very important. As such, consider scheduling regular check-ins that can help you or appropriate managers set work priorities and build a rapport with the team.
In terms of facilitating these check-ins, phone calls and video chats can help employees hear other people’s voices and even see faces to help create a sense of normalcy. Depending on the size of your company or specific departments within your company, you can hold group check-ins and sprinkle in some one-on-one meetings as well. You’ll also want to figure out a frequency that makes sense for you and your employees. For some groups, you may want to consider daily check-ins. That may sound like a lot, but a 10-minute video chat every morning can mean a lot if it helps employees set priorities and feel less separated from their coworkers.
Use Technology and Productivity Tools to Your Advantage
Speaking of group chat platforms and video conferencing technology, you should consider investing in some tools to help everyone stay connected. These tools can take on a few different forms, including:
- Group chat
- Video conferencing
- Project management platforms
Group chat tools like Slack and HipChat are a great way for people to quickly connect with each other in a way that’s more convenient than an email chain. Whether someone has a quick question or needs to pose a question to a group, these tools can help people communicate in a more natural and immediate way. Similarly, video chat platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams add an even greater level of connection – when someone is stuck at home, seeing a friendly face can help increase engagement between coworkers and even clients during meetings.
Finally, project management platforms like Trello and Asana allow people to track tasks, share details, and set deadlines and priorities in a place where multiple people can see them. That level of transparency can be very helpful when you or a manager needs to identify which tasks are falling behind or need more attention.
Help Establish Dedicated Workspaces
Not only are dedicated workspaces a good safety measure, they can make a big difference in terms of productivity. Working from home offers a lot of advantages for employees – no need to commute to work, more time with your family, etc. Those same advantages can also tank employee productivity if they’re not careful.
While you can’t completely cut out the normal distractions of home life, dedicated workspaces can help mitigate their impact on your employees. If you haven’t already, encourage your employees to create some form of home office that helps separate them from communal spaces and potential disruptions. You can also give them some pointers as to how they can help improve at-home work life. For example, you can share these tips from Fast Company with your remote workers.
- Follow ergonomic rules to create a healthy working space
- Embrace natural light when possible and use lamps to provide ample lighting when necessary
- Set up a storage system to make sure you have papers and files on hand when you need them
- Create some comfy space for occasional breaks or if you need to work in a different position
- Personalize your space and rotate items to add some spark to your environment
- Hide items you don’t want to look at, such as bulky power cable or items that will distract you
- Overstock on items you may need so that you don’t need to leave your workspace every time you need something
Provide Ongoing Support
While working from home has its advantages, it’s a much less social experience than being in the same space as coworkers. It’s not uncommon for remote employees to feel lonely or more detached. As such, it’s important to provide emotional support to employees as they’re separated from everyone else.
One way to offer this support is through frequent, clear communication. Regular emails, company messages, and check-in meetings can help ease concerns and restore some sense of normalcy. You also want to make employees aware that you and appropriate managers are readily available for employees. Consider setting up regular “office hours” for any employees who have questions or concerns, or share preferred ways that workers can contact you if necessary.
Another method of support is to encourage employees to take time to de-stress and take time to get away from work. It can be easy for remote employees to develop bad working habits when they live where they work. Take some time to stress that quality sleep, exercise, and mental health breaks are an important part of every work day.
Give Employees Non-Work Socialization Opportunities
You can also help break up some of the telecommuting monotony by embracing team building events and other non-work interactions. Video happy hours, game nights, and other social interactions can help employees relieve stress and connect, so consider adding in a few regular events to give workers a chance to decompress together.
Put Your Business in the Position to Succeed
No matter where your employees work, it’s important to have procedures in place to help your employees succeed. Want to find out other ways you can set your business up for success? Contact GMS today to talk to one of our experts about how human resource outsourcing can help you free up more time to focus on your business and prepare for the future.