Working from home can be a big shift for staff. While you may already have had some employees who were working flexibly the huge changes that COVID-19 have brought into working practices now mean that your entire workforce could be functioning this way. Given this is new and uncertain ground for both employees and managers how can you ensure that productive work is still being done?
It’s important to ensure motivation remains high and this can be challenging when employees aren’t having regular face time with colleagues and managers. It may be a good idea to get into a routine of regular check-ins, both on an individual basis and with teams. This will not only establish some accountability but help to keep productivity up by providing opportunities to identify challenges and overcome issues.
Integrate tech tools
Whether it’s video conferencing for check-ins or using a project management tracking app to maintain perspective on workflows, technology provides many tools to make it easier to keep productivity levels high.
Give your employees advice on creating somewhere at home to work
Given the speed at which this transition was introduced many of your staff may simply be working at the kitchen table or from a laptop in bed. Offer some advice on how to create a productive workspace to ensure that your team still has a sense of being ‘at work.’ This might be something as simple as choosing a space with a door that can be shut or providing a budget for them to invest in a comfortable office chair or new technology.
It’s hard to be projective in PJs
Leisure clothes and pyjamas have become the new norm during COVID-19 but these can make staff feel a little too relaxed and also make impromptu video calls difficult. Gently encourage employees to get up and get dressed in the mornings – obviously full work attire isn’t necessary but something smarter than PJs can actually help with motivation and productivity.
Remember the negative impact
Working from home is challenging in many ways but particularly when it comes to feeling isolated. Given the restrictions on movement right now many of your employees may be feeling a little lonely and cut off. Others may be at home with small children and feeling totally overwhelmed by the demands of work plus home schooling and family life. It’s important to try, where possible, to extend some emotional support to your team – be upbeat and positive but allow for the negative impact, especially as people adjust.
Keep up the social side
What many employees may be missing right now is the chats around the water cooler or having lunch or coffee together and catching up on family news and life developments. This is as much a part of a proactive and productive team as anything else and so anything you can do to facilitate it can have a positive impact. That might be a team online quiz night or creating space for people to share news, interests or hobbies.
It’s still possible for staff to work productively even in the current conditions – these are just some of the ways you can ensure your team stays on top.