While initially thought to be a temporary solution for businesses surviving a pandemic, remote work has now become the default choice for many companies.
Employers enjoy the saved costs from not having to rent an office space and employees get a flexible schedule, extra time gained by avoiding the commute, along with other benefits and thereby increasing productivity in remote teams.
A report by Owl Labs shows that 90% of workers reported either the same level of productivity or an increase since moving to remote work. However, it’s important to note that there are some challenges for productivity and it’s up to employers and managers to keep their remote teams motivated and engaged.
Fortunately, we now can learn from the experience of those who have been managing remote teams for years.
This article covers some of the best tips for increasing productivity in remote teams.
Give your team more autonomy
One of the biggest concerns managers had when their employees started to work from home was how to make sure they are actually working. After all, they could no longer walk up to people’s desks to check in on them. Some managers end up constantly messaging employees to replace that supervision. However, this is counterproductive because it makes workers feel like they aren’t trusted, not to mention how distracting it can be to respond to messages while trying to focus on a task.
Instead, you should work on giving more trust and autonomy to remote teams. Give clear instructions and deadlines and ensure you’re available to answer questions that may come up. Research has shown that companies that give more freedom to employees gain an increase in productivity. So, it’s best to loosen up the reins and let them do their work.
Be open to feedback to increase productivity in remote teams
As with any big change in the functioning of a company, it’s important to get feedback from all team members to see what they think. We recommend doing this from several angles at once, sending out surveys occasionally as well as asking employees during meetings how they’re feeling about remote work and whether there’s anything that needs to be changed.
Take advantage of technology
You may be surprised with all the tools and apps available to help make remote work go as smoothly as possible. From time tracking apps to video conferencing solutions and project management platforms, there are plenty of options to choose from. Do research and try out tools before officially using them for your teams. They will improve efficiency of your operations, leading to better productivity.
Focus on communication
Communication and collaboration are key aspects for productivity in any business. When it comes to remote work, this aspect can be especially challenging. However, it is possible to keep your teams connected and smoothly working together even when they work from home. Make sure to utilize tools as mentioned above to improve project management and collaboration. Find the best options for communication for both group and one-on-one discussions. Make sure team members are on the same page and know the goals they are working towards.
Invest in your teams
Plenty of research has displayed the benefits of investing in employees. Companies that invest in training and development programs improve their productivity by 8.6% and also gain other benefits such as improved employee retention and income. There are plenty of training options that work for remote teams, such as online courses and conferences.
Help create a productive home environment
Another way to invest in your teams is to help improve their home office space. When setting up offices, companies always work to try to make it a place that encourages productivity and focused work, so why not do the same for home offices? You may offer a stipend so employees can set up their spaces more comfortably, which will help them get into work mode when they sit at their desks at home.
Don’t forget to do research and share tips on how to enhance their own home office productivity so employees can make sure they are getting the most from their setup. This is especially helpful for new employees or those who just transitioned to remote work.
Get rid of unnecessary meetings
Research shows that most meetings are time-wasting. There’s no reason to gather everyone to discuss every mundane issue that comes up. Online meetings can be especially exhausting for those who work from home due to Zoom fatigue. If they drag on for too long, employees are left feeling drained and unlikely to be productive for the rest of the day.
Instead, have shorter meetings less frequently only when you need to. It’s also best to only invite participants who really need to be there. That way, you will get the most out of meetings without wasting anyone’s time or energy.
Be clear with expectations
When managing teams, it is your job to set goals and ensure everyone is on track. For remote work, it is crucial that there is no miscommunication when it comes to expectations. Figure out how you will measure output and make sure everyone in your team understands what is expected of them. There are various ways to measure performance, you will have to decide based on what works for your company. What matters is that the whole team is focused on the same goals and knows what they are working for.
Don’t be afraid to experiment
For many companies, remote work is uncharted waters. Every team is unique and what works for others may not be the best choice for you. Continue researching and finding new solutions that may work for your team and try them out.
In times like these, it is important to stay open to learning new methods. As you experiment, get feedback from team members and check your output. You may discover new approaches that could boost your productivity, so be innovative.
Managing remote teams can be challenging, especially for those who are new to working from home. However, when done right, it can actually give a huge productivity boost. Make sure to communicate clearly with team members and check in with them for feedback. Keep learning and your remote teams will be reaching new heights in no time!