A major outbreak of coronavirus or COVID-19 has forced many companies around the world to start doing their business from home. Remote work is both a blessing and a curse, especially for those who have never experienced this way of working before. Why so?
For starters, one’s home is usually not fit for the workplace given its many distractions. Working from home lacks the element of face-to-face communication and real interaction among co-workers. Furthermore, the newly introduced measures of social distancing and self-isolation can take a serious toll on the mental health of the employees. All of this severely influences their engagement in the work tasks and overall productivity.
However, this doesn’t have to be the case anymore. There are so many different ways in which employers can help their employees avoid remote work traps and improve their productivity and communication.
Here are some of the best ways to boost productivity and communication.
Dress up for Work
The fact that employees are not physically going to work doesn’t mean they should wear pajamas all day and keep their hair all messy. On the contrary, a great way to boost their productivity is to ask them to respect the dress code of the company even when working remotely. This way, it will seem as though they were heading to the real office and their mind will be prepared for a day at work. Also, they should respect their usual morning routine. Whether it is having breakfast or drinking coffee, those actions will give them a sense of normality and make them focus more easily on the work challenges to come.
Set up a Home Office
In most cases, employees don’t have a room or corner at their home particularly designated for an office. Given the situation, employers should suggest separating the workspace from the communal one. It doesn’t have to be anything spacious and large. Even a small corner of some room will serve its purpose. In this home workspace, if possible, no distractions should be allowed, or they should at least be reduced to a minimum. The employees will then devote themselves completely to the work that needs to be done.
Choose the Right Tools
One of the best ways to boost productivity and ensure good communication among employees is to provide them with proper tools. Apps such as Zoom, Slack, Google Hangouts, and others are close allies to remote work. Many organizations rely heavily on the intranet to keep the employees up to date with the latest information, organize and assign tasks, track project progress, and store all important documents in one place. Most of all, they encourage employee participation and interaction. Besides, it will be easier to provide feedback and have open discussions within a private network involving only those members who have a say on the matter in question. Also, forget about long and detailed correspondence with these tools. To maximize efficiency, keep all communication clear and brief.
Come up with a Schedule and Stick to It
Before agreeing to work from home, employers should consult their employees. Working hours and draw up a solid schedule for everyone should be respected. This schedule should cover some basic details such as regular morning check-ins, discussing items on the daily agenda, and work assignments. Always allow some extra time before and after video meetings for all the participants to chat and catch up.
Although some find routine monotonous and dull, in this situation it doesn’t have to be that way. The schedule doesn’t have to be strict. Deviations are allowed and welcomed now and then. Some companies have established a new trend and started organizing virtual happy hours on Friday. The employees enjoy their favorite drinks from the comfort of their homes while interacting through multimedia tools with their coworkers. It can serve as a reward for successfully overcoming all work-related challenges during that week.
Whether they like it or not, the majority of worldwide organizations have been forced to work remotely during COVID-19. While some applaud this decision, many are concerned. Will their employees show a higher, or at least the same level of productivity, engagement, and collaboration when working from home? Fortunately, there are some tips and tricks on how employees can become highly efficient and connected with their colleagues. Dressing up for work and following a usual before-work routine, setting a home office would be a good start. Also, selecting apps and relying on the intranet could help a lot. Arranging an interesting schedule are just some of the ways to improve the performance of the employees. This will ensure great interaction among them under these circumstances.