Boost productivity and employee satisfaction for teams working remotely with these top tips for making your digital workplace a happy one.
There are many reasons why having your team work from home can be a good option, even without the COVID-19 pandemic, writes John Rampton for Entrepreneur. Remote working can boost employees’ engagement and performance, cut back on property, utility and travel expenses, and it’s more environmentally friendly too.
Get your digital workplace right and you’ll also benefit from reduced staff turnover, and job vacancies will be more likely to attract quality applicants. But it’s vital to handle the scenario well:
- Embrace adaptability. One of the chief benefits of working from home is flexibility. Don’t expect staff to stick rigidly to a nine-to-five schedule and, to avoid piling on the stress, accept that as long as tasks get done and deadlines are met, team members should work whenever is best for them and the rest of their team.
- Make communication a priority. Check in frequently with your teams and be clear about what you need them to do. Make regular contact by email and schedule one-to-one appointments with individuals, team briefings and problem-solving sessions using virtual platforms like Zoom.
- Time meetings thoughtfully. When scheduling virtual get-togethers, be considerate of employees’ particular needs. There could be periods in the day when some will be tied up with home-schooling children, or absorbed in a period of intensive work. If you’re in the US, be mindful of time zone differences; the meeting you book for 9am East Coast Time assumes someone on the West Coast will be available at 6am. A good option is to share your calendar and poll your team to establish a time to suit everyone or, alternatively, use scheduling software like Calendar.
- Promote sociability. Isolation takes its toll on wellbeing. Make sure your teams socialise together regularly to maintain rapport and promote effective collaboration. Encourage people to meet online for out-of-work events like a birthday happy hour, a book club, or an online games tournament.
- Give plenty of feedback. Remember that remote-working employees will want to know how well they’re doing and how they can improve performance. They will also be keen to learn new skills and develop their careers. Go beyond basic surveys and annual reviews to keep them positively engaged.
- Recognise people’s difficulties. “Unplugging, loneliness, communicating/collaborating and distractions at home” are some of the most significant struggles people face. Help to dilute these problems:
- Do be sure to send work messages only at appropriate times.
- Do encourage breaks and days off.
- Do suggest a dedicated work space away from distractions.
- Do offer to pay for stress-relieving apps or online mental health support.
- Do share time management tactics.
- Do reduce assignments or divide projects into easily achievable chunks.
- Supply the necessary tools. Ensure everyone has what they need to complete their work – especially communication, file-sharing and project-management tools.
Remote working has clear benefits, but it can be tough too. Take positive steps to manage your digital workplace effectively and create a happy and productive working environment for staff.