Transitioning to a remote work environment can be intimidating; is it possible to have the same level of productivity when your team isn’t all under the same roof? With the uncertainty of Covid-19, many companies are contemplating switching to remote work indefinitely, or at least for the remainder of the year. If you haven’t come up with a game-plan for your team, there’s no time like the present!
Encourage productivity by maintaining company culture. This can be anything from, staying connected to your team on a personal level, creating opportunities for interaction, maintaining routines, or anything that creates an environment unique to your company.
Here are four things that might make the transition easier:
1) Keep a schedule
In order to mimic a work environment from home, teams need structure. Maintain the routine you already have established, or create a new one to help your team stay focused.
If you held a team meeting every morning, then continue that while working remote. If you made yourself available to your team while on the job, then make sure you have designated hours throughout the day when you are on call if your team needs to run something by you. This gives your employees a sense of normalcy and accountability.
If you’ve never worked with a schedule before, creating a schedule for your business might help. This could be video meetings, daily check-ins on Slack, or any other repeated interaction.
Creating some sort of schedule for your remote work will help employees distinguish their personal life from their professional one – something crucial for working parents who may be trying to juggle child care and their usual work assignments. Check in with your team to see what would be most helpful to them.
2) Build an interactive work environment
When switching to remote work, people may feel the loss of the face-to-face interaction they engaged in at the office. Your team still needs to build relationships with one another and feel as though they are a part of a team. This camaraderie can be hard to achieve when everyone is working from home.
When you conduct meetings either through video or over the phone, make sure to allot some time to check in with your employees, as well as give them a chance to speak to each other. Pose a non-work related question. What was the highlight of their weekend? What are they looking forward to after work? Make a point to still acknowledge birthdays and other important life events so your team feels seen and valued as individuals.
There’s no more “got a sec?” questions being thrown at you as a manager because your team can’t just walk down to your office and see if you’re available. If your team needs your feedback, they’ll have to reach out and wait for your response. Make sure you make it a priority to assist your team when needed, so they feel comfortable coming to you in the future.
Give your team the necessary tools to interact with each other, and you, online. Zoom, Skype, Slack, and Microsoft Teams are all ways your employees can keep in contact with each other without having to go back and forth over email.
3 Track productivity
When you can’t physically see your team working, it can be tough to gauge their productivity. Give your team agency to get work done without constantly checking in on progress – this sends the message you trust them and frees up your schedule as well!
Use document sharing websites like Google Drive, DropBox, Scribd, and Docstoc to send and share documents and follow edits and comments on written work.
Encourage your team to collaborate on projects and lean on each other more during this time. Working from home can be intimidating for your employees who are used to working as a team. Make a point to let your employees know that they are encouraged to work together and give them the resources to do so. This will help them motivate each other and keep productivity high without your involvement.
It can be hard for your employees to stay motivated and productive while at home, so take the time to check in with your team and make sure that they have all the resources they need to do their best work. A pep talk or a little praise can go a long way in motivating someone to stay committed.
4) Maintain company culture
It’s still important to continue traditions and routines that made your company unique and inclusive. Company awards, lunch meetings and other perks should be incorporated into the new remote routine in order to keep employee morale high and reward people for their hard work.
Make a point to not allow your team’s big wins to go unnoticed. Have lunch delivered to employees’ homes, distribute awards or incentive programs, host charity events for organizations that are important to your team and your community. Once it’s safe, plan company trips or outings to keep everyone connected.
It’s important for people to feel as though they are valued members of a company. When working from home, it can be easy to disassociate from your company and forget what makes your company unique. Make sure to remind your team why they love working for you!
Although it can feel as though you are in a long distance relationship with your team, don’t let the physical distance get in the way of your connection with your team, their productivity, or with your business as a whole.
Switching to remote work can be a tough transition at first, but if you implement some of these strategies then it can be very beneficial for your business, all while making the safety of your team your number one priority.