As many companies have had to take on an entirely new remote work environment and combat unexpected challenges, it becomes more important than ever to maintain productivity. Some have had to implement immediate plans of action within their workforce to help employees thrive in such an environment. Since the sudden surge in remote work is very new to many industries, it is still unclear whether or not it drives or depletes productivity in workers. There are several studies that found remote workers to be more productive, less stressed, and increase profits for the company. However, there are also a number of studies that suggest the opposite. Ultimately, the success of a remote workforce will depend on the existing systems in place and how invested the company chooses to be in supporting employees. To help drive growth and productivity in a remote work environment, keep these tips in mind.
With your entire workforce transitioning to being remote, it is likely that your employees live in different neighborhoods, towns, and cities. Yet, they are still expected to produce results like they did when they sat next to each other in the office. With such a dramatic change in the dynamic of the workplace, it’s important to establish cohesion where the company may have lost it in the transition. For example, where there is no longer office culture, set up video calls dedicated specifically to employees catching up with each other. If you can, try to establish cross-discipline meetings and include even company executives. This provides the opportunity for employees to get to know and trust those they work with. While many companies may consider this to be counterproductive to the goal of increasing productivity, several studies have proven that a successful company culture can drive employee engagement, productivity, and the company’s profit. This is only one example, however, you can establish remote work culture through cohesive scheduling, daily check-ins, employee feedback surveys, and constant team communication.
Implement Technology into Business Processes
Any remote work environment is driven by technology. Basic tools like laptops, video conferencing, and email services are what allow employees to transition comfortably to working from home. While some employees may have adapted well, there is no guarantee that every employee will. It’s important to realize that the pandemic may have pushed some of your employees into a dynamic that they are not accustomed to and those cases can be harder for the company to address. However, this range of comfortability and adaptability that you see in your employees may give you more reason to invest in systems that will drive productivity regardless of the environment. Instead of relying solely on the employees’ abilities to adapt, you’ll have systems in place to better productivity in any case.
For example, implementing software and technology to eliminate tedious business processes can increase productivity in your remote work environment no matter the stage of transition your employees are in. Robotic Process Automation, for example, is a growing software that has helped a number of companies and enterprises streamline their business efforts. While eliminating monotonous tasks may seem as if you are eliminating your need for employees, it can actually do just the opposite. In many cases, process automation tools have been helpful to free up employees’ schedules allowing for more skill-based work to be completed. In return, employees are typically more productive where their skills are being used.
Support Employee Needs
With the change in workflow that remote work inevitably brings, it’s necessary to invest time and possibly money into supporting your employees. Specifically for the surge in remote work caused by the global pandemic, companies must realize this was outside of every employee’s expectations for the year. Many employees may be struggling with home office setups and establishing a consistent routine. These, amongst a number of other employee needs, will have to be addressed or at the very least acknowledged by the company. Some companies view this as an insignificant factor in the transition to the remote work as well, however, your employees are one of the greatest assets of any company and their comfortability has a direct impact on their productivity.
So, whether it be loaning office supplies to employees or setting up programs to support childcare for those balancing work and children, the support is what’s necessary in any capacity. Companies like Hilton, have begun to undergo pay cuts and lower salaries to support the financial needs of their frontline workers. Not only does this speak volumes to their customers but unknowingly, employees are more likely to work harder for a company that genuinely cares for them. Along with productivity, acts of support like this can help to increase employee engagement and loyalty as well.
During the pandemic, it’s necessary for every company to develop a plan of action for maintaining or increasing productivity in such a changing work environment. Cohesion, technology, and support are only three of the several tactics to drive productivity, however, they can make all the difference. Along with these, explore the many other ways you as a company can better your business and it’s employees during such an uncertain time.