How to Increase Working From Home Productivity for Your Employees: Remote Working Tips
Date : Aug 31, 2020
Author : DR Armed Zayed
Categories : Business Tips
Since March 2020, when the world realised how serious the pandemic was, many companies made drastic changes. The majority of companies instructed their employees to work from home. And while this has helped curb out the spread of the virus itself, there was uncertainty on the impact of productivity.
There is research that suggests working from home increases productivity. Perhaps that is true to some end, but not entirely. Remote working is not something that all companies have adapted well to. And their employers are experiencing the impact of the situation as well. The chances are that your employees, too, struggle with low productivity. In this article, we explain what can be done to increase working from home productivity.
The Struggles of Working From Home Productivity
Remote working is something that has become the new normal for many people. And while for some working from home is more productive, others experience great difficulties.
As an employer, it is up to you to recognize the struggles that your employees may be facing and address them accordingly. Perhaps you too, have to work from home and experience similar struggles yourself. It is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, speaking about it with your employees can help strengthen your bond.
Working from a place in which you otherwise spend your leisure time may significantly influence your productivity. For many, getting up and getting dressed at 8 a.m. to attend a video conference from their cosy home is not something that they will do likely. As a result, their productivity, motivation, and overall job performance take a hit.
One of the greatest challenges is having to work while being surrounded by distractions. From the TV and Netflix to the idea to spend the day in your pyjamas, working in bed. Isolation and loneliness seem to become an everyday thing for people who just a few months ago were spending their days surrounded by their colleges and friends. And not to mention having an unreliable internet connection when you desperately need it. All of these are challenges that your employees are probably dealing with every day. The question is – What can you do about it?
6 Tips to Increase Working From Home Productivity
In the following, we will share 6 amazing tips that will help increase your employee’s productivity. Feel free to share this article with them at your next weekly meeting and discuss its content. Maybe you, too, will find some of these tips useful. And perhaps your employees will have tips of their own that they will want to share with you. Either way, it is a win-win situation for everyone.
Stick To A Schedule
By switching to remote working, it seems that the concept of “normal business hours” has lost all of its meaning. Employees find it difficult to establish a boundary between working hours, leisure time, and time spent with loved ones. Somehow bouncing between work activities, household chores, and social life is not as simple as it once was. Despite having some extra time which you otherwise spend commuting to and back from work, remote working is not as simple. And the WFH productivity is the one to take the biggest hit of them all.
As usual, the thing that helps when juggling between time-consuming activities is having a clear schedule. It is tempting to skip that morning meeting and stay in bed until 10 a.m. now that you are working from home, but how will it affect your productivity? And most importantly, what kind of impression will your colleges and boss have?
Do yourself some good and get that old planner of yours. Spend your Sunday nights scheduling big activities such as work, meetings, grocery shopping, and even leisure time if that is what you have to do. This will help boost your productivity, prevent procrastination, and give you a better structure to your life. Top off your schedule with daily to-do lists and you will be on the track for real success.
Develop A Morning Routine
In your schedule, it is important to leave enough space and time for your morning routine. Just because you are remote working nowadays, that does not mean that you can attend your meetings in your pyjamas. Skipping breakfast because you overslept should not be an option either. What you need is a steady morning routine.
Make your bed. Put some presentable clothes on, especially if you will be attending a video conference that day. Grab some breakfast and be at your desk until a certain time, each day. Go through your to-do list and determine your goals. Make it a habit to greet your colleges each morning, similar to how you would do if you were at the office. Doing these small things can help you feel more productive. You can look back at the beginning of the day and notice so many small chores already being done. Instantly, you will feel that boost of productivity that will continue to keep you company during the day.
Schedule Regular Breaks
Whether you are working at home or the office, it is necessary to take a break every once in a while. A quick break will help recharge you. Whether it is a quick phone call to a loved one or a refill to your cup of coffee, you need to stretch your legs and breathe away from your computer.
Because it is so often that we forget to take a break, alternative methods are to be explored. Think about using your phone’s alarm as a reminder. Schedule a quick break now and then. Or even better – use a specially designed app on your phone or computer. Whatever it is that will get you to hydrate and nourish your body and mind, do it.
Track Your Time
One of the best remote working tips is time tracking. Time tracking will help you to figure out how much time you spend working. You can use this method to also track any leisure time, time spent doing chores around the home, etc. Then, you can use this information to create an even better schedule for yourself.
Time tracking is also useful when used to eliminate procrastination. Choose from a variety of websites and apps that help track your time. Our personal favourite is Forest, which can be downloaded as an app on both Android and iOS, but it can also be used online. Forest will eliminate any distractions that originate from social media or any other apps and websites that you like to visit whenever your mind wanders. Others alike can be found as well.
Create a Good Work Environment
Make working from a home office an official thing. Assign one part of your apartment that you will transform into a home office. It does not have to be anything big, especially if you are going back to working in your actual office soon. You simply need a designated space where you can sit down and focus on your work.
It should be far away from any distractions such as your TV and especially far away from your bedroom. A bedroom is a place for sleep and intimacy, it is not where you should spend your working hours. Keep your home office nice and clean for an extra productivity boost. If you happen to have a pet, try to keep it in another room, if possible. A pet is one of the biggest distractions for work from home productivity and that is the last thing that you would like.
Communicate with your Coworkers
As we mentioned earlier, one of the biggest downsides of remote working is loneliness. Loneliness, too, can greatly affect the remote employees work from home productivity. The easiest way to fight loneliness is to reach out to people. While contacting your friends and family members is beneficial, we would recommend contacting your coworkers as well.
Your coworkers are the people that understand your current situation the best. They too, are probably struggling with the same challenges and feelings as you. Even if you have weekly meetings, they are not meant for discussing things outside work. So why not encourage a meeting every week where a couple of coworkers get to discuss their interests, private life, and hobbies, as they see fit. This can give everyone a thing to look forward to and organize their life around it.
Is work from home more productive? Or does it significantly reduce your employees’ productivity? If low productivity is one of the issues that your company is facing, we recommend taking a look at the work from home productivity boosting tips for employees. They are meant to increase productivity and improve one’s job performance while remote working.
Useful Tips for Working Remotely as a Team
Date : Jul 23, 2020
Author : Isaac Addo
The recent coronavirus pandemic has been a big learning curve for all of us. Not only have we learnt to control unnecessary expenditures outdoors, but also the fact that it isn’t too bad to stay home and spend more time on things that matter. Small businesses are also slowly adjusting to this new normal. However, a big challenge for companies is keeping the team spirit high during this bleak phase. Here are some handy tips for working remotely to keep morale high and productivity higher.
Tips for Remote Working for Business Owners
Tip 1: Set up work infrastructure
The first step that you should take while preparing for working remotely is to set up a reliable infrastructure.
- Ensure that you have updated the email addresses and contact details of all employees.
- Set up your Team’s Google Drive – this will make it easier to access documents, files, and other vital resources. You can also use project management platforms like Basecamp, Trello, or Asana to get started if G-Suite doesn’t appeal to you.
- Select a tool for communicating with your team members. Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, and Skype are few video conferencing tools that you can consider.
- Create one-on-one communication channels for every team member, especially those who report directly to you. Set clear expectations and deadlines with reasonable response time for emails and instant messages.
- Make sure to find out everybody’s communication preferences. Every individual has a preferred communication tool, whether it is emailing, calling, or instant messaging.
Tip 2: Benefit from free resources
Big businesses have already made investments in tools that facilitate working from home. Unfortunately, small businesses usually operate on a tight budget – and that too in a time of pandemic when keeping a business afloat is the top priority.
The good news is, you can take advantage of free resources or buy subscriptions at reduced prices. Several companies are offering their services free of charge. For example, Atlassian is offering free cloud products for up to 10 people. Cisco Webex is giving free video conferencing for up to 100 people. Make sure to always look into free tools before considering paid subscriptions. Wherever possible, take up free trials of paid tools.
Tip 3: Working remotely security tips
Data security is essential – whether your team is working remotely or not. But it becomes critically important when your team is working from diverse devices and networks.
- A good idea is to equip the remote devices with Virtual Private Network (VPN). This encrypts all internet data that is accessed by your teammates, keeping any possible breaches at bay. Cloudflare is presently offering free VPNs for small businesses for supporting small business owners.
- Consider using a password manager for organising and securing your passwords. Lastpass is a fantastic password manager that you and your team can use for free.
Remote Work From Home Tips for Employees
Employees should conform to established workflows that are there in place. They are there to provide structure, bolster creativity, and maintain flexibility between work and personal space.
- Keep up your routine as you would follow in your office. Shower, get ready and have breakfast. This will not only prepare you mentally for the working hours but also signal your brain to get active.
- Remote positions are incredibly flexible. However, this flexibility is also the reason that most employees find their personal and professional boundaries getting blurred. This is where your routine comes into play. Flexible scheduling can help you manage your personal life better, but if you play it right, you can be super productive.
- Stay as active as you can. Working from the same place day after day can become monotonous, especially when you don’t have anybody to speak to. It can also take a toll on your creativity. Exercising and working out is important – it keeps your spirits up and releases good hormones. You can also beat loneliness by going out in the garden, listening to music while working, and using conferencing to stay connected with your favourite colleagues.
Manager’s Communication Tips For Working Remotely
If you are a manager, the responsibility of ensuring the well-being of remote employees in your team and maintaining virtual project management falls on your shoulders.
Proper communication is a must for every manager. You should be just a ping away from hearing out any personal or professional issues your team member might be facing during these trying times.
- Maintain structure in your team’s workflow. This is crucial if you want to manage day-to-day progress without a physical location. Keep some time aside every day for one-on-one discussions or team meetings so that your team members don’t feel left out.
- Reliance on technology is a must for managing remote teams. Ask your business owner to set up project management tools like Slack, Basecamp, or Skype in addition to conventional calls and emails.
- Make sure that your team knows and adheres to deadlines with complicated projects. Ask your employees to share their availability for work every day, so that you don’t ping them at the wrong time for an urgent meeting.
- Remote working takes time to adjust. Not everybody in your team will be comfortable working from home right from the start. They are going to need guidance. Training tools, videos, and documentation are going to be very helpful for first-time remote workers. At the same time, let your employees know who they can turn to you for help – whether it’s the company counsellor or a mentor.
Working Remotely Tips & Tools For Management
C-suite executives should work from the top-down of retaining the company culture and for establishing organisational goals. They must find out ways to reach out to employees even at the executive level to foster positivity and optimism about their role in the company. This will make them feel valued and reinstate their loyalty in the organisation.
- Continue with cultural practices that used to be the norm before the pandemic. Early Fridays, happy hours, and bonuses go a long way towards keeping employees motivated.
- Giving back to the community during this crisis is another way to make your employees feel involved. Fashion designer Christian Siriano has brought in his team of sewists to sew face masks for the hospital works in New York. If you pivot your business to add value and reinvent your brand image, you can ensure a steady earning even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Work Remotely But Stay United – That’s the need of the hour!
Teams who work remotely rely on the coordinated efforts of employees, managers, and top management. Using the right technology for enabling dialogue, keeping communication open, and making every high-level stakeholder approachable will make your team connected and your business flourish.