COVID-19 has caused unprecedented levels of disruption and forced businesses all around the world to close their offices and work remotely. Allowing your employees to work from home is essential at the moment, but it can also bring about various benefits. One of the biggest advantages of working remotely is that it will lower your overhead expenses and reduce your carbon footprint. Remote work can also be a fantastic way to improve productivity and boost employee morale. A recent study found that remote workers are around 13% more productive than their office counterparts.
That said, working from home can also be a challenge, especially for employees who are used to working in a busy office environment. It is vitally important that you provide your employees with the support, guidance and tools they need to work efficiently from home. On that note, here is an employer’s guide to working from home.
Help employees work productively from home
One of the biggest challenges of remote work is getting used to working at home rather than going to an office each day. Creating a clear distinction between work and home life can be difficult when working from home, and home environments can be distracting. With that in mind, you should provide your teams with advice on how to work productively from home. Here are a few suggestions:
- Encourage employees to create a distinct office space that is separate from the rest of their home. Ideally, this should be in a spare room and away from potential distractions.
- Provide employees with the equipment they will need to work efficiently from home, i.e., laptops and access to your company’s network.
- Make sure that your employees schedule adequate breaks into their day. Experts recommend taking a short break for every hour of work.
- Encourage employees to follow a consistent work schedule that involves getting up and starting/finishing work at roughly the same time each day.
- Check-in with your employees daily to set priorities and expectations for the day. This will create a sense of normalcy and help your staff follow a productive work schedule.
- Provide employees with guidance and structure. Experts at Arctic Shores suggest that you should “Try to avoid assigning open-ended projects. Those with lower self-discipline can employ a more sporadic work style, so goal orientation will be vital in a remote setting.”
Focus on employee health and wellbeing
Working from home can be lonely and many people struggle with the lack of communication and support. Being cooped up at home all day can also take a toll on your physical and mental health and put you at risk of mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. With that in mind, you should pay close attention to the health and wellbeing of your employees. Encourage your team to remain active and to get outdoors at least once a day. Research shows that spending just 20 minutes in nature can lower stress levels, so encourage your employees to get outdoors and enjoy some fresh air. Make an effort to reach out to your team and check how they are getting on and feeling while working from home
Maintain good communication with your team
One of the biggest challenges of working remotely is that you won’t be working in the same location as your team. Fortunately, there is a huge variety of communication software that can help you stay connected with your team while working remotely. For instance, you can use Google’s cloud-based platforms to collaborate on projects and access shared documents from anywhere. You can also use apps like Skype, Slack and Zoom to arrange virtual meetings and interact with your team throughout the day. Good communication is essential if you want to enable your employees to work productively from home. Make sure that you leverage communication technology to stay connected with your team and keep them engaged in their work activities.
Keeping your employees engaged and productive can be a struggle when you are all working remotely. The coronavirus-stricken world we now live in has forced many businesses to switch to remote work. Companies must manage these changes well and adapt to thrive in the current business climate. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to support your staff while they’re working from home. Remote work can offer countless benefits including lower overheads and improved productivity and staff morale. Use the above suggestions to support your team and ensure that your business continues to operate efficiently throughout the pandemic and beyond.
- ‘Are Employees More Productive Working From Home?’, Business.com, https://www.business.com/articles/are-employees-more-productive-working-from-home
- ‘Stressed? Take a 20-minute ‘nature pill’’, ScienceDaily, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/
- ‘How to Keep Your Mental Health In Check When You Work From Home’, We Work Remotely, https://weworkremotely.com/how-to-keep-your-mental-health-in-check-when-you-work-from-home
- ‘The Best Software for Remote Teams (2020 Edition)’, Friday, https://www.friday.app/p/best-software-remote-teams
Author: Imogen Clarke