Let’s face it: The COVID-19 pandemic pushed many companies to adopt a work-from-home setup. That’s because it ensures that the business will remain operational without putting everyone at risk.
However, this brought a sudden change to many employers and HR managers. So much so that they were at a loss on what policies to follow when managing remote employees. Add to that the fact some employees saw a decline in performance due to “bubble fatigue.”
Fortunately, there are ten practical ways you can do to boost the engagement and productivity of your work-from-home employees:
1. Automate tasks and improve workflows
How many hours does your team waste doing mundane and tedious tasks? Or when was the last time that you worked on your project’s workflow?
The thing is, you can’t expect the rest of your team to be productive if they’re stuck doing repetitive, time-consuming tasks. There’s a good reason why automation tools are becoming popular these days.
If you want to streamline your workflow, it would be best to automate your processes. Doing so will also make it easier for your team to focus on the tasks at hand.
Let’s say that you’re an e-commerce business that struggles to take in orders. You can use an automation tool to make your purchasing and reordering processes streamlined.
In the same way, you should also use automation tools to monitor your current methods actively and look for opportunities to improve. Doing so can provide you with valuable insight into how you can improve employee productivity and optimize your business operations.
2. Provide them with adequate work equipment
Another thing to keep in mind to enhance employee performance is ensuring that your team is working in ideal conditions. This can significantly impact their behavior, productivity, and perceptions in the long run.
Failing to provide them with the adequate equipment to do their work remotely strips them of the right to perform their best.
3. Create a performance improvement plan
Sure, some employees dread performance improvement plans. Nonetheless, it’s an effective way to boost their performance.
To help employees determine and meet performance goals, your aim should be creating an effective performance management process. Managers and HR representatives should work together to define employee performance goals. Executives should also provide additional support to help their employees improve. Frequent check-ins are vital to ensure that the employee stays on track.
A performance improvement plan is one of the most viable ways to boost employee productivity. However, how you frame that solution to employees is what matters.
If your employees believe it’s just a formality before you let them go, they will not put in the work needed to improve their work performance. See that your employees understand that performance improvement plans are exactly like that ‒ to improve their performance.
4. Promote flexibility within the organization
Rather than taking on a more rigid stance, your company’s policies should be flexible. Ensure that you lean towards a more flexible work environment. Trust your employees rather than constantly monitoring their work.
Make sure that you try out specific approaches and tools that work well with your employees’ strengths. It’s also crucial that you create more efficient workflows. That way, your employees can maximize technology to achieve your desired company result.
If you wanted to enforce more structure, you could regularly schedule team meetings on the same day and same time every week. Doing this will prevent employees from feeling isolated and unproductive. It can also foster trust and a sense of community within your organization.
5. Increase team visibility
Ensuring that everyone’s on the same page and tracking what they’re currently working on can be challenging in a remote setting. But with the proper collaboration and project management tools, it becomes easier.
Video conferencing tools, like Zoom and Skype, allow you to communicate with your team quickly. You might also want to consider hosting quick 15-minute team huddles daily. That way, your team will feel more in sync with one another and aligned with your project goals.
Apart from that, a great project management tool such as Asana and Trello makes collaboration easy. That’s because it lets you assign, prioritize tasks, and track deadlines easier.
With these tools, you get to see the bigger picture regarding your employees’ performance. This includes the progress of a project or task. You’re also much more aware of your employees’ workloads to prevent employee burnout.
If a particular team member has a lot on their plate, you can easily assign some of their work to someone who can help out.
6. Address performance concerns quickly
You must resolve performance concerns as quickly as possible.
Employees might have a hard time coping with the challenges of working through the pandemic.
They might not perform at their best, mainly if they have limited childcare, they’ve been sick, or are bereaved. So, be flexible with your expectations.
7. Set clear objectives and review them regularly
This is vital, primarily if your employees work in a remote environment.
Every employee needs to know what’s expected of them and how their team contributions will be assessed and reviewed. When the situation changes, the objective should, as well.
8. Avoid micromanaging
The thing is, you can’t monitor every move a member of your remote team makes, nor do you have to.
Experienced employees don’t want to feel like they’re being micromanaged or trusted not to do their work well. Instead, what managers need to do is to trust them.
This doesn’t mean they don’t get monitored, and their performance isn’t reviewed. But it’s all about thinking differently about objectives and assessment.
Micromanaging also causes more problems than it solves. If your employees feel that the manager doesn’t trust them, then the chances are high that they’re going to disengage. This can lead to them putting in the half-hearted effort to do their work.
Again, managers should be focused on the outcomes rather than micromanaging employees.
9. Train and develop your team
Employee development should be an ongoing necessity to improve work performance. Circumstances, tasks, and job descriptions are constantly changing. Employees need to be upskilled and reskilled to keep up with the pace.
As employees start working on a task, they and their managers should work together to identify skill gaps. That way, they can ensure that these gaps won’t hinder their performance, now and in the future.
Managers should also provide employees with learning and development resources. That way, they can turn their weaknesses into strengths. Ensure that you set milestones for learning objectives and regularly measure employees’ progress.
10. Celebrate wins
This is something that employers and HR managers should not forget.
Take the time to celebrate and recognize an employee’s achievement, no matter how big or small it is. Doing so can boost their morale, pushing them to perform better. This is also an excellent way of encouraging them to share their wins.
After all, celebrating wins can be something simple like giving your employees a tap on the back to promoting them.
Innovation and being strategic can help you boost your remote employees’ productivity. This includes updating company policies to help them stay motivated and engaged with your company. That said, now is the best time to develop solutions that will help boost your team’s performance.