The Covid-19 pandemic has forced many people to start working from home. Many companies have had to adjust their working schedules and operations to accommodate the work-from-home modality. Many employees have never worked remotely and needed some time to get used to it. The situation is even more difficult since parents had to juggle working from home and home-schooling their children. It’s been a difficult year, but we have proven we can work with any situation and turn it to our advantage. If your team has been working remotely this year, and you feel they need a bit of a boost in productivity, we have compiled a list of five tips to help you encourage them. Read on to find out more.
Focus on a Schedule
Schedules are a must in every company and team to make everything run smoothly. With whole teams and companies working from home, keeping up with a schedule is more important than ever. Working remotely can often go two ways—overworking yourself or falling behind schedule. It can be challenging to balance work and life when both are happening in the same space. Working from home often happens without set working hours. That’s why keeping to a schedule is important so all the work gets done on time, without burning out. You also must be considerate that not everyone is handling this situation in the same way. Make sure your team has a set schedule for work, lunch break, and end time. When everyone is following a set schedule, you can be more productive and nobody gets left behind.
Create Boundaries and Reduce Distractions
When working remotely, employees should have a separate space where they can focus. Working from home when the whole family is around is distracting and trying to focus can take more energy than actually doing the job. Suggest to your employees to find a stress-free and quiet zone to work from. This can save time and energy in the long run, since they will be able to work without distractions. The best solution is to work in a separate room than the rest of the family. If that is not an option, find an area or corner of the home with the least traffic. Physical boundaries around your desk can also help you focus. A designated workspace will be even more productive if you only sit there within working hours. Take your breaks outside of that space, and stretch or walk around every hour.
Communicate with Your Team
Communication is what keeps work-from-home situations running more smoothly. Set a time at least once a week for an online meeting with your team to see where everyone is at, work-wise and in general. Use communication apps to keep in touch with everyone and inform them of work progress. Leaving your team without information will only lead to inefficient work and low productivity. Make sure everyone has an opportunity to voice their concerns, ask a question, and talk about the challenges they encounter. Open communication with everyone will result in your employees trusting you and increasing their productivity. Companies need teamwork to function perfectly, now more than ever. Encourage everyone to be more assertive and ask questions if needed. This is a challenging time, and getting support from all sides is what will help your employees do better.
Encourage Team Building
Team building is necessary to connect with your employees and create stronger bonds between everyone. This year it was not possible to connect face-to-face, but that doesn’t mean that team building is out the window. There are many ways your employees can work on their team-building skills, and one of them is remote virtual events. Virtual events can be scheduled in video conferencing apps like Zoom with all your employees in one place—virtually of course. These virtual events can be even turned into parties, with everyone talking, drinking, and hanging out from the comfort and safety of their home. Or you could use a service like BreakoutIQ which can organize professional online team-building exercises for your team to complete. Encouraging non-work interactions can strengthen your employee’s resolve and increase their productivity, as well as make difficult days easier. Encourage your employees to spend some time in their day to focus on themselves, and relieve stress with hobbies and self-care.
Working from home can often lead to isolation, negative emotions, and loneliness, especially for people who live alone. Employers should provide support to their employees, be it emotional or work-related support. Good leaders have the tools to uplift their teammates and help them refocus on the good side of things. Working from home can be extremely draining, and managers and team leaders should do their best to be available more often for employees who need support. When provided with the necessary support and encouragement, employees will feel better and be more willing to put more effort into the company. Have check-ins with your employees on a weekly basis at least, but be open when someone reaches out in need of support. Messaging apps can offer a quick and easy way to talk with your employees if video calling is not always an option.
It is difficult to view this time as normal, even though many have gotten accustomed to the situation. A sense of normalcy is sometimes very hidden, and your employees will have difficult moments. Try your best to be there for them, and they will hopefully reciprocate with higher productivity.