As remote work becomes dominant in most organizations, reviewing the trend and improving productivity is vital. Typically, working from home significantly impacts employee productivity and experience. A recent survey shows that about 30% of human resource managers notice increased productivity after switching to remote work models.
However, the positive results depend on the employer's understanding of the worker's perception of remote work. While most workers tend to be more productive when working from home, maintaining productivity in a hybrid environment can be challenging. Regardless, you can implement the following strategies to boost productivity and efficiency across your remote teams.
1. Build a Reliable Documentation Process
Establishing a comprehensive documentation process is among the greatest ways to ensure peak performance in a remote work environment. While documentation is necessary for any workplace, it is critical in remote teams since it helps track information that can get lost.
Your project briefs, notes, and tutorials should be accessible from a central platform for quick reference. An organized documentation system helps keep the team moving in the same direction. Most importantly, your team can find resources and guidelines quickly, increasing productivity.
Depending on your company size, you can deploy a software solution that serves as the primary hub for work-related information. Digital tools help you categorize the information and grant special permission to specific people for advanced operations.
2. Prioritize Productivity Over Digital Presence
Navigating digital "presenteeism" is essential to ensure your distributed team exhibits peak performance. Remote work models allow organizations to avoid the conventional office models, where productivity is measured by the number of hours spent on the desk rather than tangible results.
Instead of having your team members glued to their computers, focus on creating a plan to guide their work outcomes and expectations. You can also start rewarding actual results rather than time spent working on a task.
This strategy ensures your team is free to work when they are most productive so they can accomplish more in a short time. The approach eliminates the degenerative culture that might compromise productivity. Typically, a flexible approach improves focus and allows workers to be creative on difficult tasks.
3. Ensure Seamless Communication
Effective communication is essential in teamwork, especially when team members are spread across different locations. Since in-person communication may be unfeasible, it's vital to establish various channels to eliminate communication breakdown.
You can leverage tools like videoconferencing, emails, and instant messaging to overcome communication challenges in remote work setups. However, choosing digital tools to satisfy your team's needs is important.
For example, instant messaging apps are ideal for quick conversations, while email is great for client collaboration. On the other hand, videoconferencing is essential for regular check-ins and virtual meetings. Regardless of your choice, ensure your team members understand the purpose of each tool.
4. Provide Immediate Solutions To Technical Problems
With all its applications, technology is often a ruthless double-edged sword. While computers and virtual work tools help you stay connected and productive, they are not foolproof.
Your remote team may face occasional technical issues that compromise the ability to complete tasks. Since the team is spread over different locations, relying on an in-house technical team to solve all issues may be impractical.
Ensuring your team is ready to address basic technical issues to avoid workflow disruptions is vital. Some remote work technical issues may include network errors and cybersecurity threats. Most importantly, you can include troubleshooting tutorials in your central information hub to ensure the team members know how to solve common technical issues.
5. Implement a Feedback and Performance Recognition Program
Employee recognition breeds productivity. In fact, productivity and performance are higher in organizations with employee recognition programs. It's easier to overlook employees' efforts in a remote work environment. As such, recognizing and appreciating your remote team can enhance their confidence, performance, and loyalty.
You can implement performance recognition strategies like bonuses and trophies to appreciate outstanding performance. Also, verbal and written appreciation can encourage workers to perform well. On the other hand, you can schedule annual rewards for top performers and offer paid vacations and parties in honor of your top talent. This doesn't mean you should neglect team members with average performance. Instead, find ways to help them hone their skills and improve their workflow and efficiency.
6. Avoid Overloading Your Remote Team
It's easy to identify overworked employees in a traditional office setup. For example, employees may regularly skip lunch or leave the office late. You don't have a detailed overview of your employees in a remote work model. This means employees can get buried in work without proper precautions.
Before assigning urgent tasks to a remote worker, determine the impacts on other existing commitments. This allows the employee to assess the workload and estimate the time required to complete the tasks without compromising quality.
Most importantly, avoid sending emails and messages to unintended team members. For example, emails with specific response commands may distract uninterested parties since they'll waste time screening information unrelated to their tasks and responsibilities.
7. Invest in Your Remote Teams
There's no better way of enhancing engagement than investing in employee professional and personal growth. You can empower your team by providing learning opportunities for career growth. For instance, offering sponsorships for a course like the online accredited MBA program prepares your employees to take leadership roles. Moreover, employee training fosters engagement and talent retention.
Employee-centric organizations allocate annual learning and development budgets to help employees advance their careers. Your team can enroll in online courses or buy effective development books if you have a sufficient budget. You can also establish a career development framework outlining a clear career path for your team. This helps attract top talent and motivates teams to improve their performance.
Managing remote teams can be overwhelming but not impossible. However, remote workers are more productive than teams in a conventional office environment. Communication, tracking, and technical issues are the most common hurdles, but modern technology can eliminate the bottlenecks. Enhancing remote workers' productivity requires constant identification and elimination of common remote work issues before they disrupt optimum workflow.