As the world is changing dramatically during these uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers are instituting the ability to Work From Home for many, (often most) of their employees. In addition to sheltering at home to help slow the spread of this virus, there are many benefits to the Work From Home model.
According to one study in BusinessNewsDaily, remote employees work 1.4 more days per month than their office-based counterparts, resulting in more than three additional weeks of work per year. At Hilltop Consultants, we have seen the benefits of this practice.
- Greater productivity.
- More flexibility, especially for dealing with family matters.
- No commute, therefore less stress and more time to be efficiently productive.
- Savings on gas, maintenance, car repairs, or public transit fees from not having to commute.
- Less time commuting allows more time to exercise, leading to healthier lifestyles.
- Healthier living due to less spread of germs, not just from COVID-19 but also from common colds or smaller viruses.
With the new normal that is reshaping our everyday existence, we need to reshape our thinking when understanding how our employees, and therefore our businesses, can thrive with this better work-life balance.
How do you manage your workforce when they are not in a physical office with you? First you have to trust your employees. You have hired good people to do the job; you need to trust that you hired the right people who are honest and trustworthy.
Secondly, you need to guide and lead your employees to keep them feeling connected. To help manage your remote team, here are some helpful tips:
- Follow a schedule, similar to one that you would have in an office. Keeping a routine helps workers feel structured and efficient.
- Keep a To-Do list, with plans of what they want to accomplish each day, so they’re not jumping from assignment to assignment.
- Communication is key! Set daily, weekly, or monthly meetings to help prioritize and stay on track.
- Set regular video meetings to maintain co-worker relationships.
- Set a designated work space so you feel like you’re going to work, not hanging out on the couch with your laptop.
- Minimize distractions. There will be plenty, especially with kids and spouses living under the same roof. Silence phones during critical projects and stay off social media during business hours.
- Encourage short breaks approximately every 90 minutes. There are some great free apps to remind you to take regular breaks. Drink water, take a short walk or stretch, eat a healthy snack – these are all great ways to shake the slump and re-energize.
- Setting a timer is helpful to regulate the breaks and help maintain focus. Working toward a deadline helps drive intensity while the time ticks away for you to meet small goals along the way.
- Suggest exercise. Even quick workouts (to get your blood pumping for a couple minutes every day) give a huge boost of energy and feed the brain with the oxygen you need to take over the world.
In order to make sure your team is being productive while working remotely, it is important to be flexible and supportive, without being overbearing. Have regular check-ins, set manageable goals, and keep communication flowing. Focus on outcomes, not activity. Here are some great tips on Effectively Managing Remote Employees.
Sometimes working from home can lead to anxiety, depression, and loneliness, especially for people who are used to being in an office full-time and have had an abrupt change. It is important, as an employer, to keep good communication going with your team and make sure everyone is feeling productive and useful. Utilizing some of the tips above can help reduce that overall stress. With good planning and excellent communication, the productivity from working from home can be a win-win situation for everyone, especially during this time when we’re all looking for anything positive.