How You Can Help Your Remote Employees Improve Their ProductivityAUTHOR: Noah Rue
In the past two years, firms around the globe have moved their operations online in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has brought a host of benefits, from reduced overheads to greater freedom for employees.
However, some managers are concerned that remote working will lead to a drop in productivity. After all, how’re employees meant to work hard when their couch is just a few meters away? But this kind of thinking is faulty — remote workers can get just as much done while working at home, and may even have a boost in motivation due to a greater work-life balance.
Instead of monitoring employees constantly, managers and business owners should invest their time and effort into helping remote workers, as this is far more likely to boost their productivity and overall motivation. Here are a few small things you can do to help your remote workforce.
Remote work is supposed to help employees regain a healthy work-life balance. Remote workers save time commuting, spend more time with their loved ones, and no longer have to deal with the stress that comes from working in an office environment. However, all that freedom can be stifled if your business doesn’t give your employees the autonomy they deserve.
You can start giving employees greater autonomy by involving them in decision-making — particularly around the deliverables you’re asking for, and the expectations you have for them. For example, if you work in a creative field where productivity is linked to production, you can give employees greater autonomy by agreeing upon their daily deliverables and allowing them to work towards them at their own pace.
However, before you set your employees free and let them work with complete autonomy, you need to ensure that you have an adequate support system in place, so that remote workers know how to reach out for help if they need it with work or wellness-related issues.
Remote working has been a fantastic development for employees who now spend commute times on activities they love like reading, running, or spending time with their families. However, for some remote workers, the remote model can leave them feeling isolated and can wreak havoc on their overall health.
To deal with this, you must ensure that you have a wellness program that supports remote employees. This will look different depending upon your industry, but should generally contain resources that support workers’ mental and physical health.
You can start a remote working wellness program by addressing the common health issues caused by remote work. For example, remote workers tend to sit more, as they don’t get up and move around an office space anymore. This causes conditions like hip misalignment and poor circulation. In response, you could invest in at-home office chairs that support proper posture for improved circulation.
As an employer, you can use the funds you recouped when closing down physical operations to offer access to things like physical therapists, gym memberships, and spa treatments. This will help remote employees maintain their health, and will show them that they are valued by your business — even if you don’t see them face-to-face anymore.
Offering flexible hours is a trend that has risen in unison with remote working. This is likely due to the pandemic, which shifted the way we work and helped employees to reconsider their values and what they look for in a workplace. As a result, managers are scrambling to provide greater flexible working options for employees to attract and retain top talent.
Flexible working allows employees to schedule work around the rest of their lives. This is deeply motivating and will improve the well-being of folks still suffering from pandemic behaviors like Coronasomnia. Coronosomnia is caused by the pandemic’s disruptive nature, leaving many folks to feel as though they don’t have control over their life. Flexible working opportunities can fix this, as employees will be able to schedule activities they love like exercise classes, social events, or simply spending time with their family.
However, before rushing into flexible working opportunities, you need to consider how a flexible model will affect your entire businesses’ operations. For example, if you offer flexible work to your IT department, and they choose to work hours that don’t align with most people’s schedules, then you’ll find productivity completely derailed by technical issues.
No one likes mandatory meetings, but they’re even worse for remote workers who have to interrupt their groove to log in for a video call. Unlike in-person meetings, your remote employees will not get the same feeling of sociability from a virtual meeting, and will likely find themselves counting the seconds while you talk to them through your computer camera.
Fortunately, overcoming this is rather simple: carefully consider whether or not the meeting you’re planning is actually necessary for remote workers, and do your best to stay on track when meeting on a virtual platform. This will show employees that you value their time, and will ensure that they can carry on with their work with greater productivity.
Managers and employers don’t have to reinvent the wheel for remote workers. Like most employees, remote workers do best when they aren’t being micro-managed but are still supported by wellness programs that help employees rest and rejuvenate after a day at work. You can boost remote workers’ productivity by investing in wellness programs, and introducing flexible work options which give employees great autonomy during their workday.