Ways to Increase Remote Employee Productivity

Ciara Byrne

Christin Hume on Unsplash

Today, millions of employees are working from home. Remote work is more than just a trend, and thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, workers are finding more efficient ways to finish their daily tasks.

While working from home might look fun and manageable, productivity blocks can happen. When you hit the first one, you’ll realize there is no one to make you feel accountable or help you take action.

If you are struggling with procrastination, you probably know how easy it is to fall victim to the many distractions and unplug for longer. So, is there some magic strategy or secret to experiencing steady productivity? How can remote employees stay productive?

10 Great Ways to Boost Productivity for Remote Employees

Research shows that working from home increases productivity – even if it does stall, the right strategies will help employees to get back on track. Remote workers usually work long hours, have an improved work-life balance, and experience less stress.

If you are working from home, you probably know the benefits of remote work and know that managing your own time can make you more efficient and productive. The concept is something that works great, but many people are still skeptical about switching to remote work because they fear a productivity drop.

Below are the ten best tips to improve remote employee productivity.

  1. Frequent communication

The first tip on our list is frequent communication. Communicating with your employees regularly can help you identify patterns but also measure their productivity and see how they are approaching their daily tasks. You need to practice this and be in regular contact with people in the organization.

To ensure that the communication is frequent and done correctly, check in with your team daily via standup meetings, phone calls, or instant messaging on a platform like Slack. Also, make sure your communication is focused on work but still involves some small tasks – it helps them understand they are seen as human beings and is a great way to spot signs of burnout.

  1. Set realistic, fully transparent goals and priorities

You need to let your employees know what needs to be accomplished. Clear priorities allow them to focus on the tasks that demand their attention and stay on course to complete them. Furthermore, providing feedback on how well they’re achieving their goals will ensure each employee is headed in the right direction.

Setting the right goals is crucial. And recognizing a lack of skills to achieve these goals is just as important. As the leader, you’re responsible for providing the employees with the skills and resources they need. However, in a remote environment, this can prove to be difficult. Remote training requires certain preparation and knowledge, but once you do it correctly, you’ll also be able to set the right goals for your team.

The benefits of setting realistic goals include the following:

  • Increased team productivity
  • Better prioritization of tasks
  • Improved decision making
  • Better performance
  • Targeted performance management
  • Improved company-employee alignment

A set schedule or plan for each day can also help, so you should consider tools such as Asana, which are meant to increase productivity. Asana provides options to set schedules and add daily tasks that employees can follow and mark as complete when finished.

  1. Share highs and lows weekly

Having a weekly meeting where you share all the highs and lows of the week before, as well as plans for the upcoming week, can strengthen your team’s bonding. Whether you work with a remote software development team or a bunch of freelancers, people should be recognized for their efforts, and everyone should be aware of the goals you have weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually. Doing that will also promote good discipline among employees.

Additionally, you can schedule fewer meetings or shorten them to keep the topic clear. Share ideas for self-care, talk more about the direction or goal of your projects, and research potential energy-boosting ideas.

  1. Help your employees create dedicated home workspaces

The new normal is very different from the old normal. We often don’t realize the instinctive cognitive biases we have about the physical spaces where we find ourselves every day. The concept lets you provide seamless access to learning and development for people working in home workspaces.

A designated home workspace greatly encourages productivity. Think of this as the employee’s in-home office, and look for ways to support it. The truth is the majority of remote workers are handling day-to-day tasks from their bedroom, dining room, couch, or coffee shop.

If you want to increase productivity in their remote workspace, help them by vouching for standing/sitting desks, equipment (work-issued laptops, headphones, etc.), or anything they lack to be more efficient. An employee working on their kitchen counter isn’t guaranteed to give their best at all times.

  1. Consider time tracking

If your remote employees struggle to answer what they do daily while at work, consider time tracking. It’s a good way to get a handle on what everyone did throughout the day, recognize the top talent, set realistic goals for a project, charge your clients more fairly (knowing how many hours are needed for each project), and increase productivity at work.

The best way to practice this tip is by investing in time-tracking software with desktop app – one that allows your employees to log in their hours and help them see when they are most productive.

  1. Encourage breaks

While time tracking is a great way to stay efficient, we are all human beings – and remote employees equally enjoy breaks as in-house team members. In a remote workplace, encouraging breaks can actually maximize employee productivity. Plenty of managers active in the field of IT outsourcing know this and lead by example.

The reason behind that is simple – employees are not physically in the same space and may not have the opportunity to take breaks as they would within an office. To encourage breaks, you can set clear expectations around them and ensure every employee takes the time they need to recharge. As a result, you will see a culture of openness around taking breaks and greater productivity in many employees.

  1. Track their performance, not their presence

Sometimes, remote employees can give themselves breaks, which you must understand. Managers need to focus on results rather than presence, so if a remote employee outperforms when it comes to tasks but is hard to reach when away from the office, try to look at the scenario from a different perspective.

In remote workplaces, it’s okay for people to have more flexible hours or to take occasional breaks throughout the day. Everyone does that – but as long as they meet their targets and deadlines, it should not be a worrying problem. Setting up a conference call at the start of each working day where you ensure that all daily tasks are communicated is a good practice for that.

So, consider giving your employees space and letting them do their job on their terms. If you start facing problems such as them not showing up at meetings, try letting them know that their presence is important without sounding too aggressive. Most remote employees appreciate the flexibility and are working remotely just because of that.

  1. Plan fun virtual events

Did you know that you can host fun virtual events for your remote teams? From karaoke singing to virtual scavenger hunts, escape rooms, and wellness sessions, there are plenty of kickass ideas and team-building activities you can consider. These virtual events will also help you get to know your teams better and boost morale while playing together and making the most of the modern and innovative online platforms.

Experts say that virtual events are amazing for remote teams because they break away communication barriers, build trust, increase creativity, reduce conflict, and help team members understand each other better.

  1. Provide feedback for continuous improvement

Team feedback is another great way to increase productivity and one of the employee engagement strategies that work. Regular feedback builds trust and communication between employees and managers. And when an employee feels like they are being heard or their work is valued, they will be more productive. Organizations should encourage managers to provide feedback regularly but also create opportunities for remote employees to provide feedback about their team to their managers.

Speaking of which, feedback should be specific, objective, and actionable. When done regularly, it can greatly benefit the organization and show managers whether their teams are as efficient as expected.

  1. Recognize employees for their hard work

Recognition is key – something you should focus on whenever you spot someone going the extra mile or being great at what they do. This can have an even bigger impact when working remotely, so never miss an opportunity to recognize your staff when they did a great job. While you could provide rewards at some point, even a simple talk to let someone know that their work is much appreciated will boost their morale.

People love hearing how valuable they are, and recognizing each employee for their efforts is an invaluable practice. Recognition and appreciation are key to improved team morale, no matter where you are working from.

Over To You

Remote work is on the rise – the number of people working remotely now is greater than ever. To ensure efficiency and productivity, companies, big and small, should look for ways to communicate better, show appreciation, provide feedback, and enhance productivity.

The good news is that many different technologies and online tools make creating an efficient remote workplace a breeze. If there is one good thing after COVID-19, it’s the fact that most of us adapted to the work-from-home (WFH) routines and learned to be productive in our personal space.

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