Personal Finance

Growing productivity in virtual workplaces

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There’s no doubt the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the business landscape from 2020, with governments and companies around the world encouraging remote work, here are ways to keep your employees getting critical work done.

Working virtually means more distractions, fewer ways to interact naturally with fellow employees, and more social isolation all of which might lead to less productivity and mental challenges.

Without intentional efforts from both workers and management, remote work especially during this tense, uncertain situation can leave staff feeling distracted, isolated, unmotivated, and stressed.

To overcome these challenges, employers should explore new ways to manage and collaborate with employees and enable more ways for employees to connect with each other.

Below I explain how you can keep your employees productive while they are working virtually. These strategies will help you improve your employees’ productivity and keep your business operating at peak efficiency during this period.

Set clear expectations the employees only know what you expect from them if you tell them. Strike the right balance between what your employees deliver now and what you know they’re capable of. Look at each employee’s past performance data. This can give you an idea of their limits.

Don’t micromanage wanting to stay on top of everything that goes on in your business is natural. However, it shouldn’t involve constantly telling employees how they should do their job. Micromanagement happens because you’re trying so hard to get the results you want.

In reality, you’re hurting employee morale and performance. This destroys productivity. Plus, you can’t be effective at your own job when you spend so much time being involved in everyone else’s. This creates major bottlenecks and slows down everyone’s work.

Equip your team with tech and productivity tools one of the most important ways to help employees succeed while working remotely is to get the tools to help them stay connected and productive.

Equipping staff members with these new technologies allows all to stay on the same page no matter where they are working from. These tools might also help keep your employees more productive and connected after COVID-19 fears lessen and people go back to the physical working environment.

Provide emotional and steady support as working virtually can contribute to loneliness and negative emotions, you should do what you can to provide emotional support to employees.

In a fully remote work setup, managers should also be more available than usual for check-ins and other questions that may come up given the unfamiliar circumstances. Set virtual office hours and be present on instant messaging apps throughout the day to help employees.

Team leaders should additionally encourage self-care among their employees, who mentally are trying to adapt to remote work, the stress of new environments, and the stress of daily updates around the COVID-19 pandemic.

Managers should advocate for Remote employees to exercise, get quality sleep, take showers, and continue on with their lives as normally as they can.

To encourage dedicated workspaces you should encourage the creation of home offices that are separate from communal spaces. In some cases, offer large stipends to help workers create appropriate, productive spaces for remote work.

Dedicated workspaces can help free employees from the normal distractions of home life. With many parents needing to be at home with their children due to school closures, an office away from family can allow you to maintain focus and stay on task.

Dress for success while it may not sound important to be dressed for business while working from home, psychologically it does help many employees to not be wearing sweatpants and pajamas while trying to be productive.

Dressing up for yourself can also mentally help the workers feel better, thus making it easier to focus on checking important tasks off your list. Dressing appropriately also allows employees to feel more comfortable hopping on an impromptu video call with clients or coworkers.

Non-work interactions and team building creating time and space for workers to talk about news, hobbies, and other topics just as they would have done in the office help them relieve stress and feel better connected.

One way to do this is to leave a few minutes before and after video conferences open for people to catch up. Another is to host a weekly virtual happy hour or a virtual team-building exercise to build bridges between employees.

Overcommunicate communication is critical and should be frequent, candid, consistent, and tailored to be personal, practice as much transparency as possible. If staff doesn’t have information, they are left to make their own inaccurate conclusions.

Managers need to overcommunicate to make sure people have all the information they can possibly have in order to stop worrying about things and be more productive.

The pandemic crisis provides opportunities for governments and companies to celebrate stories of organizational resilience and successes in overcoming challenges, and also gives people a voice to express what they are experiencing.

Practice Self-Care employees need to be conscious of their mental state, productivity happens when people can reduce their stress levels. Build self-care into your staff’s daily routine, whether that is a walk in the sunshine, contact with loved ones, or spending virtual social time with colleagues.

Research shows that spending time in nature lowers stress, helps you relax, and clears your mind. When you look for the upside in a downside situation and figure out what you can control and what you can't, it's easier to accept whatever is beyond your control.

Those that get it right will not only position themselves for business success they will also enable everyone to contribute to the creative, innovative, collaborative, and productive workplace of the future.