It’s one the biggest hurdles to having remote workers. How do you know they’re doing the work? After all, when they are in the office you can see what an employee is doing. It is far easier to monitor their work and manage expectations.
But with so many companies forced to implement remote working measures, what can be done to ensure remote workers stay productive? And more than that, because while productivity sounds nice, what’s important is that they are actually carrying out the work on time and to specification.
To ensure your employees are both productive and really working when they’re at home, there are quite a few things that can be done. And this article is going to explain 7 tips.
Some of these tips include: hiring people you trust, making sure two-way communication is possible, and providing the right tools to track workflow, accountability, and goals.
Working from home has its perks: you don’t have to pay for parking or public transport. You do not have to worry about traffic or travel time.
It can be relatively convenient. Working from home also has its distractions. Your bed, your couch, that movie, book, or game you want to finish.
The hard part for employees is staying motivated and on-task. The hard part for employers is tracking the work employees are doing to ensure everything is being completed on time and to specification.
Read more on what to do when employees are unproductive.
Here are 7 tips to ensure remote teams stay productive:
When working in the office it is easy to get up and quickly discuss something with a colleague or your boss. Not so much when you are working remotely.
That is why it is so important to communicate as often as possible (or necessary) to reduce the chance of miscommunication and misunderstandings. And to make sure everyone understands exactly what is expected of them.
Keeping lines of team communication open can be as easy as having access to an instant chat feature. This enables coworkers to communicate in real-time with other remote workers. And their bosses.
Of course, there is a fine line between open lines of communication and micro-managing. You do not want to constantly bombard your staff with messages every five minutes, and you do not want to pretend like they do not exist.
Finding the balance make a big difference in helping remote workers with their productivity.
To help employees stay productive give them clear expectations and guidelines. Clear guidelines give employees the best chance of understanding exactly how work they need to get done and by when.
Tools like project management software are a great way of keeping track of time on a task and keeping a detailed record work completed throughout the day.
Project management software also has options that allow everyone on a given project to see who has to complete what by when in order for another person or department to complete the next step.
With real-time commenting, instant chat, and modern Gantt charts, creating clear expectations, guidelines, and goals has never been simpler.
Making sure remote workers have the best tools to do the work from home is in every business owner’s best interest.
This includes having access to all necessary files and documents as well as the most updated versions.
And it also means having something like a comprehensive project management software tool. Project management software helps with communication, accountability, organization and goal setting. It enables employers to see what employees are doing, and when they are uploading their completed work.
A good project management software will also offer real-time commenting on projects, an instant chat feature, and ways of tracking short and long-term goals.
Other things include a small stipend for home office supplies or helping them find a cheap home warranty for their home office. These may seem small but they can make a world of difference to remote employees.
Perhaps this should be at the top of the list. But remote working will not function well if you do not trust your employees. It is one thing to communicate when it is necessary. However, it is another thing to micro-manage your team.
If you trust your employees, and trust they will get the work done. Working with a team you can trust will quite often solve most productivity issues.
Remote employees want their boss(es) to trust them, and will do what’s required to ensure they earn and maintain that trust.
If you cannot trust your staff, then all the productivity tips in the world won’t help improve the situation.
For those employees who are used to the collaborative nature an office can sometimes provide, being isolated at home takes some adjusting.
Especially for those who work on team projects and collaboration is a vital part of completing their work.
An abundance of communication tools are available; from Google Hangouts and Zoom, to a myriad of other choices like project management software and Google Drive.
You need to find the right the suite of tools to suit your remote employees. Project management software, as has already been stated above, is a great tool for organization, collaboration, accountability, and goal setting.
Flexibility is more than allowing your employees to work from home. Being flexible means allowing employees—where possible—to work outside the standard 9 to 5 shift.
Instead of worrying about the 9 to 5, instead shift the focus to be more deadline orientated. For example: setting weekly KPIs and micro-goals means as long as employees meets these goals at the expected standard, the hours worked is not as important.
Of course, not every workplace can do this. However, the general idea is to be flexible in what hours employees work. If some employees are morning people, then let their day start earlier. And vice versa for night owls.
Being flexible in this way can help increase overall productivity.
One of the best ways to boost productivity is setting goals. This is simple because it provides your employees with a clear sense of direction. And a clear time frame.
The best way to do this is with short and long-term goals that can be easily tracked and monitored. This is also useful for projects that require multiple people across different departments.
Setting goals helps keep people in touch with other departments. And it reminds them that, even though they are at home, they are still working with a team of others.
As mentioned above, project management software is one of the most effective ways to set, track, and monitor goals. With a visual, and interactive, Gantt chart it’s easy to see a project’s progress; who’s doing what and when everything needs to be completed by.
Having a clear sense of when everything needs to be completed, and knowing how each individual’s work contributes to the whole, is one of the most effective ways of keeping your employees productive.
And, it is an easy way of making sure your employees are really working when they are working from home.
These 7 tips can help ensure your employees really are working when they are at home. And in this age where many, many businesses have moved to remote work, it has never been more important than right now to ensure you have the right software, and approach to managing staff to suit the remote working era.
Especially, as many companies are staying remote. And many employees who have experienced the benefits of working from home are looking to remain in jobs that allow them the flexibility that working from home offers.
Trust, software, and internet connection are the three keys to ensuring your employees are really working when they’re working from home.
And while we haven’t mentioned internet connection up to now, it should be obvious that employees require a quality internet connection to best perform their work.
The other two: trust and software are the other key things you need to ensure your employees really are working when they’re at home.
If you can’t trust your staff, maybe it’s time to get new staff.
Software is of course the most tangible way of keeping tabs on your employees without being invasive about it. Software, like project management software, that supports file sharing, add-ons for Gmail, and integrations for Slack, Zapier, and GitHub, as well as so much more.
Project management software can truly help you, and your employees, remain productive while they work from home. And, it allows employers to carefully monitor and track what work is being done, by whom, and when.