Your team is working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s the right thing to do as you are all connected into the business network and everyone has the tools and access they require to do their job. But this is making you extremely stressed, worrying about productivity and how remote working will impact the survival of your business when restrictions are lifted. You are not alone so let’s take a look at how you can make this situation more successful.
What do you envision when you think of your team working from home? Is it motivated, inspired workers who are pumping through their daily lists and ploughing through long term projects? Or do you think of lazy moochers eating potato chips in their pj's while watching TV achieving the bare minimum? If you have nightmares about a team of remote working slackers, then it’s reasonable to establish that your concerns are centred around productivity – or the lack thereof.
Bottom line – you are still paying your employees to work. Doesn’t matter if they are at home or in the office. Doesn’t matter that you have no visibility over what they are or are not achieving. Doesn’t matter if they are wearing pyjamas, active wear or corporate ensembles. It doesn’t matter if they have a sound proof home office or a set up at the dining room table. It doesn’t even matter if the government is paying the majority or all of their wage via the Job Keeper wage subsidy. What matters is the output and if you are worried about your team maintaining their motivation and pre-established organisational goals, then you need to be proactive yourself and get out in front of any potential lollygagging.
We have some easy and practical tips on managing your team so productivity doesn’t slide while everyone works from home.
1. Schedule regular Zoom / Teams Meetings
Set a daily time for a quick catch up with your team. Make it part of the daily routine so that you can set priorities, answer questions and remain connected despite all working in isolation.
2. Random phone calls
Jump on the phone and speak with as many of members of your team as you can at least once per week. Again, this is about directing focus, providing clarity around work, resolving issues before they become massive problems and maintain a connection with your employees. 3. Set Clear expectations
Clarity around what is expected while working from home will keep everyone’s eyes on the prize as far as productivity is concerned. If you are clear about what needs to be done, how it should be done and when it should be done, you are making everyone accountable for their own actions. If you are flexible on what time they work, it shouldn’t matter if they work from 4am and finish at noon. Or start at 3pm and logoff at midnight, but if the role requires client interaction or needs to be available during certain times, be clear on this with your employees.
3. Set deadlines and diarise for follow up
There is no more powerful motivator that a deadline to get things happening. Work with your team to set fair and reasonable time objectives and then make sure you follow up to see how they are tracking and make sure the work is delivered at the agreed time. It keeps everyone on task and accountable.
4. Record time
Keeping track of time worked is a proven way to maintain, or even improve, productivity. It all comes back to being mindful the amount of time we have to allocate to work and how we use it. There are plenty of free tools available but two easy to use options are Toggl and TimeTracker.
5. Flexibility for Parents
With many parents now working from home and juggling home-schooling priorities, you’d be right to be concerned about how your employee will be able to juggle these competing demands. Ask your working parents if they need to reduce their hours or change their hours to accommodate their needs. It’s important that you have excellent productivity but also important that you support your working parents with flexibility during these challenging times.
There are times that you simply need to trust that your team will do the right thing. But you can improve the chances of success by communicating clearly as to what that “right thing” is and what it means for your business. The harsh reality is that you are paying your employees to deliver work that will ensure your business continues beyond the pandemic so put all of the measures in place that you need to feel confident that productivity levels remain as high and as effective as possible, resulting in business sustainability long term.
As always, the HR Staff n’ Stuff team is here to help if you need any support around managing teams working from home. We are only a phone call away!
The HR Staff n' Stuff team all contribute to our blogs. Enjoy the read!