Well over half a year since the first COVID-19 lockdowns kicked in and drove businesses into the unfamiliar realm of remote working, you’re likely accustomed to the new way of doing things. You’re used to virtual stand-ups, dealing with shaky internet connections and staying motivated despite rarely leaving your home. But that doesn’t mean you’re doing everything right.
In truth, it’s entirely possible that you’re falling short of the standard you could reach with some effort and investment. Remote working frees workers from direct oversight and the immediate demands of the traditional office structure, and where that freedom leads them depends on how you treat them.
If you get everything wrong, they’ll become indifferent and lack the support they need to get things done. If you get everything right, they’ll be just as productive as they were in the office: in fact, they could even be more productive. So how do you get it right? Here are some tips:
Invest In High-Quality Home Office Equipment
Just as the lady in the featured image is doing, it’s perfectly possible to grab a laptop and work outside — but it’s far from ideal as a daily routine. Achieving consistent productivity requires a suitable arrangement of equipment, and it’s your task as an employer to ensure that your employees have everything they need to get their work done swiftly and effectively.
The optimal home office offers both power and flexibility, with a business-class laptop at the core and a range of peripherals to make things easier. A modern laptop of that variety should also effectively connect to a mouse, keyboard, and display. When the worker wants a change of scenery, they can unplug their machine in seconds and be on their way.
You should also think about everything from the chairs your employees use to the lighting they rely on as the days get shorter. By shipping them some ergonomic seats and light panels (lighting is vitally important!), you can help them stay comfortable and alert as they work, making them far less likely to burn out and earning their gratitude.
Delegate Clear And Meaningful Responsibilities
It’s relatively easy to stay enthusiastic when you work in an office because you can feed off the presence of your colleagues and feel like a typical professional. When you’re working from home, however, you can feel somewhat detached from the company — it can seem as though you could disappear entirely and it would take quite some time for anyone to notice.
As the person in charge, then, you need to ensure that your employees feel part of things and that means giving them work that really matters. By delegating significant responsibilities to people who’ve shown they can handle them, you can help them keep their motivation high and give them plenty of opportunities to showcase their abilities.
Having a clear purpose is a huge part of employee engagement after all. The more you can make people feel that they’re an indispensable part of your organisation, the more effectively you can solidify their loyalty, boost their morale and drive their productivity.
Acknowledge And Address The Difficulties Of The Time
Is anyone firing on all cylinders at this point? All the social isolation and anxiety about the state of our pandemic-riddled world takes a toll, regardless of how hard we try to avoid it. As it happens, trying to avoid it — or outright deny it — is one of the worst things you can do. You might as well tell someone suffering from depression that it’s silly and they should just stop it.
The right way to proceed is to clearly to acknowledge how hard it is to keep working at the moment and how tough it is just to get through the average day when the future seems so bleak. This isn’t about dwelling on the negatives, though. It’s about accepting them so people feel understood, then doing what you can to address them.
So how can you do that? Well, the biggest thing is to be more lenient with mental health leave: if someone just can’t face a workday, don’t push them to do anything other than rest. More often than not, giving someone a day or two when they’re feeling low will allow them to be far more productive and motivated when they get back to work, yielding far better results than you’d have seen had you required them to keep working without any time off.
Being extremely productive isn’t exactly easy right now, but if you take these steps to support your remote workers then you’ll see some much-improved results.
Author: Kayleigh Alexandra is an author microstartups.org.
Photo Credits: Pikist