The COVID-19 pandemic turned business operations on their heads as companies scrambled to adapt to the situation. For many, this meant turning their in-house teams into remote ones. By June 2020, nearly half of British employees were working from home. And even though some employees have started trickling back into the office in the past few weeks, many companies are still embracing remote work as part of the “new normal”.
One report notes that 56% of UK workers feel they are more productive when working from home. They don’t have to contend with the typical office distractions and may feel more motivated to do a good job. However, the current pandemic isn’t a typical remote work situation and as the situation perdures months after months, productivity could take a hit.
Let’s look at some ways you can remove the roadblocks that are holding your team back from reaching its remote work potential:
Establish Ways to Measure Productivity
Ask ten people how they define and measure productivity, and you’ll likely get ten different answers. There are lots of ways to measure how your team is moving the needle on a project. It’s up to you to decide what this looks like so you can know with certainty how your team members are progressing toward their goals.
Some companies measure productivity solely by the number of hours worked. Others look at the number of tasks completed or specific progress on a project. You might have your own set of metrics that indicate how much work is being accomplished.
Or, you might consider setting up real-time sprints or assigning time boxes or deadlines that require workers to do a certain amount of work in a specified amount of time. Using this method, you can look at the difference between the work completed before and after the sprint or time box. This can be an effective way to get a baseline estimate of what a productive day should look like and set expectations moving forward.
Set Specific Productivity Goals
In times of uncertainty, clear communication can make all the difference in accomplishing goals. Workers need to know the expectations for their new work arrangements, even if those expectations are still evolving.
Once you understand how you plan to measure productivity, share those plans with your team members so they can do their part. Get specific on goals and remove any clutter or unnecessary tasks that could prevent you from reaching them. Acknowledge that there are a lot of things demanding your employees’ attention right now and that prioritizing the company’s needs can ensure the right things get done.
Choose the Right Tools to Foster Productivity
If the COVID-19 pandemic had happened 20 years ago, companies would’ve been in a starkly different place than we are now. Today, we have more tools, technology, and knowledge to make remote work a viable opportunity to keep business going. It’s important to consider what’s in your toolbox that can support remote productivity and identify new tools that could be beneficial.
Many teams that have shifted to remote work are using communication apps like Slack or Teams to foster collaboration. For many, this is a quicker means to ask questions and share ideas than email, which often ends up sitting unread in an inbox for hours.
Another impactful tool is CRM, which provides real-time access to valuable customer data to users across the entire business. Information is updated in real-time and allows sales, marketing, and customer service teams to seamlessly do their jobs from home.
From a management perspective, tools like CRM also offer insight into worker productivity. Leaders can see who is logged into the CRM, what actions are being performed, and other metrics that can indicate remote success.
Make use of the tools you have and consider which tools you could add that could drastically flip the script on remote productivity.
Allow for a More Flexible Work Structure
The timeframe in which employees work can have just as much to do with productivity as the tasks they perform. COVID has created new challenges for many individuals outside of the office. From finding new means of childcare to providing distant learning support for their kids in school, some employees simply can’t juggle a 9-to-5 job right now.
It’s time to reconsider the workday structure, at least for the time being. Offering a more flexible work schedule can allow employees to take care of business and their job responsibilities. This empowers them to take control of their work tasks and still be able to balance family responsibilities without sacrificing one or the other. As long as objectives are being met, and customer service isn’t suffering, schedules matter less.
Create the Right Home Office Setup
Most workers feel more productive when working from home. One reason for this could be because they have greater control over how their work environment looks and functions. The right furniture, lighting, and office arrangement can have a lot to do with productivity levels. The more employees love the space they’re working in, the more committed they’ll be to their work.
Continue talking with your employees about how to set up a productive home office instead of leaving this critical piece to chance. If it’s in the budget, you might even offer to purchase furniture or equipment for your employees so they aren’t working from a couch or kitchen table.
Keeping Remote Teams on Target
Chaotic times call for creative solutions. You don’t have to spend a lot of money or reinvent the way you work to transition to a successful remote model. All you really need is to understand the challenges your teams face and find the right tools to support them. Communication is key.
As a leading CRM platform in the UK, Workbooks was designed for remote success. Our cloud-based features ensure the same level of functionality, whether you’re working from home or at the office. Take a 30-day free trial and discover how you can create remote work success.