Before the COVID-19 pandemic began, employers didn’t have any problems about maintaining productivity among their employees because they are able to personally monitor and supervise them in the office. Since the pandemic forced people to work from home (WFH) in order to prevent the spread of the disease, employers who are dealing with remote workers for the first time are figuring out how they could keep their employees connected and productive away from the office and, more so, from their careful supervision.
If you and your company are in such a position, here are 10 ways by which you can keep your Work From Home teams connected and productive during this pandemic and beyond.
1) Develop flexible work schedules which can accommodate all employees
When it comes to WFH, flexible work schedules can now be considered a part of the “new normal”. Employees now have the option to choose the best hours that they can work with greater productivity. However, in terms of connectivity, as the employer, you should discuss with your remote employees on the best times that they can be contacted for regular checkups. The same also applies when determining the best days and times for virtual meetings, especially if your employees are dispersed among multiple time zones.
2) Conduct daily or weekly remote team meetings
Depending upon the importance of the project being done, you may choose to conduct daily or weekly meetings with your remote team via video conferencing apps, like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Again, these meetings should be scheduled at a day and/or time that is agreed upon by your remote employees. Of course, these meetings don’t have to be about business alone. To improve morale, motivation, and productivity among your remote workers, you can hold informal meetings for everyone to just chat about their families or anything that interests them. Use these meetings to inquire about everyone’s well-being and that of their families and share advice and feedback on any challenges -both work and personal – that they are facing.
3) Utilize cloud technology
In the course of their work, your remote team will need to have access to resources that are only available in-office. You should consider using secure cloud technology for storing files and other important data. Utilizing cloud technology will keep your remote team connected to resources in your main database. Just make sure that you have security measures in place, such as the use of passwords and/or OTPs, to ensure that your data remains secure and private.
A cost-effective option, especially if your remote team is doing projects, is to use cloud storage services like Dropbox and Google Drive so that they can easily share documents, spreadsheets, and images.
4) Create an Inclusive Network
Your remote team also needs to be updated on what is going on in the company. You can do this by creating an inclusive network of communication. One way you can do this is by creating an email distribution list for company letters and newsletters.
For remote teams that are collaborating on certain projects, you can create a similar communications network to make it easier for them to receive timely feedback and advice. Aside from email, such a network can include phone and video conferencing, chat, and instant messaging.
5) Build an active community among your remote teams
Once you have established a communications network for your remote teams, encourage them to be a part of the company community and culture. Encourage them to use the communication platforms that are available to them not only for business, but also for informal chats. This allows for the development of strong relationships that can reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness, thus bolstering connectivity and productivity.
6) Encourage collaboration among your remote teams
Certain apps can allow and encourage collaboration among individual members of your remote teams as well as between teams. Apps like TeamBox, SmartSheet, MyClientSpot, and DeskAway are useful in the formation of workgroups, division of labor, project collaboration, and the monitoring of progress within a certain project.
7) Assign a mentor or accountability buddy to remote workers
A remote worker needs to know if they are doing right with their tasks. Many would like to have someone they can refer to in case they hit a snag in their work. In these cases, you can assign a mentor or a manager to supervise and provide valuable advice to your remote teams. Mentors can also serve as a liaison between the remote team and the company higher-ups, especially when higher level feedback is needed.
The manager, in turn, can assign an accountability buddy to an individual remote worker. Having such a buddy can help ensure that they collaborate and focus on particular tasks to completion. They can also help each other in sharing the workload and fill in for their partner whenever difficulties arise.
8) Create a feedback and rewards system
Every employee – including remote teams – need to know that their work is being appreciated by the company. A feedback and rewards system can help you to monitor the work quality and progress of each remote worker. Such a system allows you to provide real-time advice when needed. It also enables you to monitor their level of personal engagement at their work and with the company as a whole. Having a rewards system can help your remote teams to focus on their work in order to obtain a particular reward. This system can also help you to determine if a remote worker can be promoted to a higher position.
9) Host virtual co-working sessions
There are times when a project needs to be done by each member of the remote team at the same time. This can be accomplished by using apps like Zoom, Skype, Slack and Trello. Communication apps like Zoom, Skype and Slack allow for the exchange of ideas as well as the transmission of vital documents. On the other hand, Trello can be used to post specific tasks on cards that a remote team member needs to do. Completion of the task can be easily indicated by ticking off “Done”.
10) How in-person social gatherings
You don’t have to limit your remote team’s interactions to video conferencing or chat. Instead, you can arrange for occasional in-person social gatherings, like a company picnic or similar event. Not only will this allow your team to meet their co-workers face-to-face, it promotes the forging of solid bonds between them.
Let these 10 tips help your Work From Home Team to be connected and productive!