And while this is meant to be a temporary solution, reports and studies show this alternative workplace solution can be a great long-term strategy. For some companies, it might be the perfect oppotunity to look for ways to allow at least some of their workers to embrace telecommuting opportunities.
Research conducted on the topic is also showing that many establishments have actually reported an increase in employee productivity levels when they work from home. During a recent study by M2SYS, Standford researchers followed 16,000 employees’ performance for the past seven months and found a 13% increase in productivity in people working at home.
In another survey, 77% of remote employees claimed they had higher productivity and efficiency when they were allowed to try home office. The Penny Hoarder provided their own take on the subject by revealing that telecommuters with an income of under $100,000 per year actually earn $4,000 more per year than their non-telecommuting counterparts.
If you’re considering this option for your employees (or yourself), let’s take a quick look at some of the ways team managers can keep their teams productive while working from home.
Create devoted workplaces
Without question, our surroundings impact how we behave –and they can either augment our performances or downright make our productivity levels dwindle. As a manager, you should encourage your employees to create some sort of semblance of a workstation when working at home.
This could be as simple as a work desk that has ample space to keep their laptop or computer along with other essential stationery items, paired with a comfortable seat.
Make sure you get this right, as a comfortable seating setting at home can allow your employees to stay put and work for longer hours without having to get up to straighten their backs every now and then.
Ideally, the working station should be isolated from everyday activities happening at home. Asking kids to stop playing or your wife from moving around the house would be simply rude. What matters is that you allow homes to be homes but still keep a somewhat separate location for your workstation. This simple tip can tremendously boost productivity and help you avoid unnecessary interruptions.
Equip the team with the necessary tech
When talking about remote work or telecommuting, you need to ensure that your team is equipped with all the necessary tech that allows them to manage their workload without any hindrances or inconveniences.
You might also need to deploy some type of employee monitoring software to ensure that your workers are busy attaining their daily assigned duties and responsibilities.
Some of the best employee monitoring software out there include the likes of Berqun, DeskTime, Monitask, Time Doctor, and Workpuls, to name a few. Employee tracking and monitoring software allow you to keep an eye on your employees regarding their screen time but can also give you an insight into the productivity levels of your employees.
Foster daily check-ins
A daily check-in is a great way to ensure that your employees are eager to put in their hard work and achieve set goals and targets. These daily check-ins could also include routine team meets, where you can discuss in detail the agenda and allocated tasks for each employee.
This could also help boost productivity, since you set a particular time limit as to when employees have to report themselves for duty while working from a remote place. An early morning check-in would then still require an employee to reach out for their desk every day while working from home.
The key is internal communication
Managers who maintain strong communication channels with their team members can keep workers motivated and instill in them the enthusiasm needed to pursue daily agendas and targets.
Managers can use both official and non-official means to contact their team members to keep them updated about the day’s task requirements and deliverables. An official email address would cater to all formal and effectual communication between managers and workers.
On the other hand, other channels like a WhatsApp group or other social sharing platforms can be used to communicate with employees in a less formal and more casual manner. A lot of companies with at-home workers are relying heavily on teleconferencing tools (like Zoon and Skype) to hold meetings and one-to-one talks with their employees.
Nurture teamwork & collaboration
There is no point in working from home if members of your team are unable to align themselves and their respective resources with collaborating with each other.
Many establishments that have adopted remote work policies are also implementing various project and resource management applications, tools and systems to make sure that work is delivered to them in a cohesive manner. Every member of your team and their contribution is vital to attain organizational objectives.
This is a good way for managers to divide tasks and distribute them according to skill set, expertise, and technical capacity. If any tem member fails to deliver their work, the entire team’s workload gets affected in an adverse manner.
Some of the best project management tools and productivity tools help your employees work together and strengthen team spirit. These include the likes of Asana, Bitrix24, Scoro, Slack, Toggl, Trello, and Zoho Workplace, to name a few.
Working from home and working at the office are definitely different. This is why, as a manager, you should consider remaining flexible with your teams as much as possible. However, this certainly doesn’t mean that you can allow due dates and deadlines to suffer.
Flexibility can come in the form of allowing workers to put in a fixed number of hours as per their own choice as long as the work itself doesn’t suffer. Take, the example, a content writer tasked by a media agency to produce 2500 words per day. As a manager, you can allow your employee to deliver the required word count at any time of the day as long as the work is delivered within a 24-hour bracket.
This will give the content writer ample time to manage their household duties while working on their daily targets.
Set mutually agreed goals
Goals and targets are the basic yardsticks to measure employee productivity. Without tangible goals and objectives, managers would be left handicapped to measure their team’s performance.
However, when it comes to assigning goals and targets for each team member, it is best that you communicate daily, weekly, or monthly task through a proper communication channel and use an official platform to record all related correspondence.
This way, if someone backtracks or breaks their commitment, you can produce this officially recorded communication for further evaluations and as a testimony towards what was initially agreed between you and your employees.
Transparency & feedback
The more transparently you follow through with business processes, the fewer reasons you give your employees to negate rules and regulations. All policies must be open and provided to employees so that they can review them whenever they like.
Plus, as a manager, you should open yourself towards feedback, encouraging team members to approach you whenever they are faced with a challenging situation or a problematic scenario.
Technology is making it extremely easy for managers to keep track of productivity levels while working from a remote location.
There are tons of solutions available, and with progressive software backing up your operations, employees working from home can be effectively monitored regarding their productivity levels.
**About the Author: Amanda Jerelyn currently works as a Marketing Manager at Dissertation Assistance, a trusted place for students to buy professional assignment writing service from experts specializing in their field of study. During her free time, she likes to travel to the countryside and explore scenic beauty with friends and loved ones.