This is bad. Whatever is happening right now is really bad.
On a personal note, we do not like to instrumentalize the concept of ‘Remote Work’ in the name of COVID-19 Crisis. But observing the pace at which organizations are going remote without any preparation, we have come up with an initiative to help the managers, individuals and employees to learn the essentials of remote work.
Remember the last economic recession? It was a lesson to all the working population that we have to be prepared for any crisis. And it’s happening in real. The name ‘Coronavirus’ is dreaded by all. Unfortunately, organizations and employees are still not ready to handle the situation at hand.
Although, employees of most of the organizations are sent packing their bags overnight to work from home. But how will you make sure that the work gets done? Because one can no longer take a stroll to the office aisle to see whether the employees are working or not
We are all aware of the fact that nothing is constant. Distractions come easy when you are working from home. All employees need to be self-motivated to maintain high productivity.
How to Ensure Productivity While Working Remotely
Defining structure is essential
Flexible hours and autonomy by no means translate to working in silos. Having a defined structure and guidelines at hand is necessary for the teams working remotely. We highly recommend that one should have a set of personal guidelines to keep up with the team and stay focused.
- Sticking to the goals: The team is very well aware of the organization’s objectives and have a defined plan towards achieving them. But during this coronavirus crisis, organizations should communicate the long and short time goals to all the employees to keep their interests aligned.
- Setting up a home office - Make sure your team has dedicated workspaces for themselves. A defined working space boosts productivity in a remote environment Defined working spaces will further help you and your team members in staying focused.
- Prioritizing work - The team will often be working on multiple projects, with people in different time zones, at the same time. They should be able to identify which project is more important than the other and keep that as a priority. This will help in differentiating between urgent and not urgent work and help you in meeting those deadlines.
- Maintaining To-do’s - To-do lists are a saviour! These lists will not only help your team keep a track of their work but also assist you in tracking their progress on various subjects. It is also a great way to manage time in a remote environment.
- Ensuring transparency - Work transparency makes work easier. Firstly, this gives every team member access to all the data and reduces unnecessary communication. Secondly, it helps you in keeping a track of every member's performance and progress
Do you have Communication and collaboration guidelines?
While hopefully, your team is readily available to answer questions, it can hamper productivity if you stop what you’re doing to answer a question. To avoid this situation you need a defined communication system.
Having the right tools - Cloud-based tools are the go-to solution for communicating while working remotely. Selecting the right tools for the different type of communication avoids a heap of messages in an employee’s inbox and maintains hygiene. For instance, Emails can be used for asynchronous communication while Slack or direct text messages can be used for urgent or synchronous communication.
Having chat specific communication channels - Ditching emails altogether will save a lot more of your time than you think. If you haven’t already, exit out of email and into the brave new world of real-time communication. Use a tool like Slack or HipChat to facilitate easy and immediate conversation.
Having strong communication ethics - Each member of your team has to be willing to answer calls, texts, emails, or direct messages regularly, even when they consider themselves off the clock. If any member is going to be unavailable for whatever reason, you and the other team members should know about their unavailability. This saves time and gets work done faster.
Having clarity in communication - Always think before you send. You need to value other team member’s time and keep your communication clear and specific. Keep your communication to the point and clear (except for when you are having a water cooler moment with one of your team members.)
Feedback Mechanism is Essential
Providing feedback is an integral part of every organization whether remote or traditional. This holds a special place in remote work culture because this is what checks and puts balance to what we lose on one-to-one human interaction front. Regular feedbacks help in enhancing productivity and the quality of work.
Over to you
Productivity, communication, and collaboration are all linked to each other in one way or the other. Maintaining a balance amongst the three will only lead you towards success.
Do you want to learn more? Read: How to transition from traditional office to working remotely from home in the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.