While most states have reopened, some fully, a lot of employers are letting their employees continue working from home during the coronavirus pandemic. For some employers, there are more benefits to having their employees remain remote. It lowers their overhead costs, and it can make employees feel more comfortable overall.
Some analysts think the coronavirus situation could lead to more long-term remote work, but with that can come challenges such as keeping employees productive.
The following are important ways to make sure your employees stay engaged and subsequently productive even when they aren’t in the office every day.
Continue to Offer Learning and Development
Learning and development is how you keep your employees sharp but also productive. Don’t let the importance of continuing to offer L&D to your employees be forgotten if they’re working remotely. It may even be more important.
Online learning offers excellent opportunities to deliver L&D to remote employees, and you don’t have to deal with the constraints and budgetary issues that come with traditional in-person, instructor-led training.
Online learning and development also offer more control to your employees, and independence is a top priority for modern employees and in particular Millennials.
By prioritizing L&D, you’re also letting employees know that you still invest in them even if they work remotely. That can help with engagement and morale, which in turn helps with productivity.
Determine How You Want To Measure Productivity
It’s tough to determine the productivity of your employees if you don’t have a defined way to measure it.
With that being said, the following are some ideas:
- Simply focus on results. The move to results-oriented company culture is one that a lot of innovative companies are moving toward. The “how” doesn’t matter in these situations. Employees aren’t micromanaged as long as they’re achieving results, and that is a model that tends to work well in remote work.
- Create set deadlines. Again, this is more along the lines of being results-driven. It doesn’t matter the steps that an employee takes, but just that they successfully meet the deadlines set for them.
- Consider how well employees solve problems as they arise, and regularly go over employee progress with them.
- If necessary, which can depend on an employees’ job role, track employee hours, and their activities. This may be something you need to do with virtual assistants, just as an example.
Check-In with Your Employees
It’s so important that you check-in with your employees regularly in terms of productivity and morale. You might want to check-in daily, or perhaps weekly. You could do a group video chat or check-in one-on-one.
You can also have virtual office hours where your employees can feel free to talk with you via video chat or perhaps instant messenger.
Provide a Technology Stipend
It’s difficult for remote employees to be productive if they don’t have the tools they need, like a laptop and high-speed internet access. As part of an upfront investment, you might offer them a stipend of sorts to help them purchase what they need to create a productive workspace.
What some employers and even employees don’t initially realize about working from home and remote work is that it may be more difficult to achieve work-life balance. Employees may feel like they’re never truly off work when they don’t go to an office.
That can lead to productivity problems because of burnout and resentment.
Set guidelines as to when you expect employees to be available, and ensure they’re reasonable.
You should also provide resources and tools that help employees with things like mental and physical health. For example, maybe as a benefit, you offer your remote workers a subscription to a meditation app.
Finally, you need to remember that your remote employees are just that—employees. Don’t treat them like contract workers or freelancers if they aren’t.
Treat them like employees with benefits and work to make sure they’re part of a team and underlying culture.
One way you can do this is by creating an employee website or intranet where you can share what’s going on in the company and acknowledge employees who are doing a great job.
Don’t forget the importance of career development and ensure that you’re offering things like promotions and pay raises to top employees, so they don’t feel like they’re forgotten when they work from home.
There is a lot you can do to ensure not only productivity but strong morale when your employees are remote.