Working from home? Here are a few productivity tips.
For companies who are not familiar with remote work, getting started can be scary. But, with the right strategies, it can be rewarding in the long run. According to a report conducted by Owl Labs, remote workers are 13% more likely to stay in their current job for 5 years. While 55% would be likely to look for another job if they were no longer allowed to work remotely.
On the other hand, when your team is working from home, maintaining communication and managing projects from a distance requires that you take advantage of the right digital tools. So, today we’ll share a few remote work tips to help you improve productivity and keep a healthy business.
Conduct daily or weekly online meetings
Communication becomes even more important when managing remote teams. The most effective way to get a hold of the situation is to conduct daily or weekly meetings with your team. Forget messages. Forget emails. It’s important to keep developing relationships with your employees.
During some time, our team has been required to work remotely full-time. And, as a Software company following Scrum methodology, our development team always starts the day with a Stand-Up meeting. This meeting consists of a brief explanation of the following questions:
- What did you accomplish since the last meeting?
- What are you working on until the next meeting?
- What is getting in your way or keeping you from doing your job?
To conduct one-to-one meetings, our team uses Slack since it’s our everyday communication channel. For group meetings, we recommend using Zoom. Keeping a consistent practice will help your employees stay connected and productive.
Centralize all important information
Keeping procedures and product information updated to all your remote teams can be a challenge. Using online file-sharing platforms can be extremely helpful. But it still takes too long to find information when answering customer tickets or phone calls. According to Microsoft, information workers switch windows on average 373 times per day while completing tasks. And since you have to explore multiple libraries, you slow down response time to customers online.
One of our clients – Pestana Hotels – switched from an extensive Excel sheet to our new Knowledge Management solution to easily share information with their distributed call center team. By centralizing information on an online portal that is updated in real-time, all teams could access accurate and updated information at the same time. In addition, leave notes, comments, and messages regarding urgent matters. They were able to reduce response time in 70% of daily interactions with customers.
Keeping all your documentation updated and centralized online will help your remote employees stay productive and spend less time searching for information. Furthermore, you will boost collaboration between teams as they can share feedback and leave comments directly.
Take advantage of project management tools
This cannot be said enough. One of the biggest challenges of remote work is managing projects effectively. This includes keeping track of each team’s tasks and deadlines. Last year, Hubstaff shared a useful guide on remote project management. One of the things they mention is the importance of using software to handle tasks and track progress. They also talk about important factors that can help set the success of your remote team including:
- Outlining clear processes for each role and project
- Ensuring deadlines are set in advance and agreed upon
- Finding a project management approach that empowers your team to get more done
At Helppier, for example, and following Scrum methodology again, our development team works with Sprints. The tasks are defined for a 2-week period. On each Sprint, the project manager defines the tasks and discusses with the team. We use Jira to keep track of everything. Another amazing tool that we use is Trello.
Encourage your team to follow a similar routine
When working from home, it can be difficult to keep the same level of productivity as we get distracted more easily. With that said, it’s important to encourage your team to follow a similar routine that the one they usually take at the office.
Trello blog recently shared that designating a workspace can have a positive impact and help improve productivity. Other productivity tips include controlling the working schedule and creating a comfortable working environment with plenty of natural light.
One strategy that has been working out for me is keeping a similar working schedule. Including lunch and coffee breaks. I also try to follow the same morning routine and get ready as if I would go to the office. But comfort means different things to different people. Some people love working on their pajamas. And that’s okay.
Remote work is becoming more and more popular in today’s digital society. It’s estimated that at least 70% of the global workforce works remotely at least once per week. For that reason, it becomes important to provide the right tools that will help set your remote team up to success.
One strategy includes centralizing important information such as products and procedures on an online portal for all your teams to access. Taking advantage of project management tools will help you keep track of tasks and progress. While conducting online meetings and encouraging your employees to follow a productive working routine can help boost productivity significantly.
Now go and get things done. 💪