Has your organization joined the widespread move to a permanent remote working model?
Remote working is renowned for increasing worker productivity, and statistics back this up. In 2020, more than 50% of organizations reported increased productivity due to remote working.
Studies have also revealed that employee productivity rises with remote working models.
Research from Standford shows that remote workers are 13% more productive than their in-office counterparts.
But WFH productivity isn’t a given. Employee productivity can suffer severely if you don’t equip your teams with the right processes and support.
Fortunately, boosting productivity in remote teams isn’t hard once you establish the right protocols. Keep reading to find out six strategies for effectively increasing remote team productivity.
1. Make Communication Easy
One of the most important tips for increasing employee productivity, in general, is to facilitate clear communication. For remote teams, this is even more critical.
Start by evaluating current channels of communication. Are they effective?
Do you need to implement better collaboration tools? Institute group calendars or use group messaging platforms such as Slack?
Once you’ve selected the communication tools and platforms that suit your operations best, establish clear communication guidelines.
Outline these in a training document, and include things like:
- When and how to use chosen communication channels and tools (i.e. when to use email over Slack or vice versa)
- What language and tone is acceptable (i.e., zero-tolerance toward hate speech, a focus on problem-solving over complaining)
- Processes for feedback
- Conflict resolution protocols
Finally, make it a habit to overcommunicate with remote workers. Without in-person interaction, it can be easy for messages to get lost or overlooked.
Therefore, send reminders via multiple communication channels. Don’t be shy to reiterate something that was said in a Zoom meeting in an email. Or send reminders via Slack, Teams, or text.
2. Establish Clear Processes
You should also establish clear workflows and processes. If teams don’t have a streamlined workflow or standard operating procedure (SOP) to follow, this can tank productivity.
If processes are loose or erroneously change, this can also lead to:
Ensure process guidelines and SOPs are kept up-to-date and not just stored in senior employees’ heads.
It’s also essential for organizations to continually review internal processes, identify time-wasters, and find solutions to automate and streamline. When processes are changed, all affected employees need to be notified.
3. Create a Stellar Company Culture
Another important step to increasing remote team productivity is to create an exemplary company culture. Creating a positive workplace culture is beneficial in any setting but is particularly important for remote teams.
If you don’t have a strong company culture in place, it’s all too easy for workplace relationships to devolve and toxic dynamics to develop. Once started, these dynamics can become a vicious circle. One that invisibly erodes collaboration, unity, loyalty, and productivity.
The best company cultures are rooted in trust and ownership. As well as respect and appreciation.
Most positive company cultures are also rooted in family values.
4. Encourage Non-Work Related Interactions Between Remote Employees
One of the biggest disadvantages of remote work is the potential lack of connection between co-workers.
In some ways, separation from co-workers can help employees get more done, as it limits distraction. This is one of the reasons employees often list for being able to get more done while WFHing.
However, a lack of interpersonal connection between employees can also erode productivity. Interpersonal connections help employees feel united and unified. When a big project rolls around that requires all hands on deck, united teams are more likely to give their all than teams that feel disconnected and estranged from their virtual co-workers.
One of the best ways to foster interpersonal connections between remote employees is by encouraging non-work-related interactions.
Encourage virtual water cooler conversations and “chit-chat.” You can also encourage remote workers to share pictures of themselves, their hobbies, and their lives.
Host remote team-building activities that allow remote workers to get to know each other. This can be as simple as playing an online game together, such as GeoGuesser, or having a virtual trivia hour.
5. Watch for Warning Signs of Employee Overload
It might be counterintuitive on the surface, but overworked employees aren’t necessarily productive employees. Employees with large workloads might get a lot of tasks done in the short term. But over the long term, this can result in burnout and health issues.
Overworked employees can also lose interest and passion for their roles.
Statistics show that 40% of employees work longer at home than in the office.
In a traditional office setting, it’s not hard for managers to notice when employees have too much on their plate. When an employee works remotely, it’s far easier to miss the signs of overwhelm and burnout.
One of the first ways to avoid this is to check in and ask if employees are managing their workload.
Remember that employees might feel shy to say they can’t manage their workload. They might think this will make them look lazy or ineffective.
Make sure employees understand there’s no shame in admitting they’re overloaded. And that workload check-ins are there to support them. Not as an evaluation of their performance.
6. Encourage Remote Employees to Establish a Dedicated Workstation
A big challenge many remote workers face is not having a dedicated workstation. One of the ways employers can help remote workers increase their productivity levels is by encouraging and assisting them in establishing a dedicated workstation with everything they need to complete their work.
Increased Employee Productivity Starts in the Hiring Process
One of the secrets to employee productivity we didn’t mention above is hiring the right talent.
Hiring remote talent can feel like an uphill battle. Many organizations get caught in the crosshairs of ad-hoc hiring from around the web. Instead, we’d recommend looking for a comprehensive hiring partner or PEO, such as Bradford Jacobs.
At Bradford Jacobs, we attract, engage, and onboard the best talent. Regardless of your location, we can help.
Do you want to hire top talent with zero effort? Contact us today to discuss your needs.