Much has happened to the office space over the last year. The pandemic forced the majority of employees to work from home and so, many companies are now making the decision to continue with a remote workplace and hiring more virtual positions. As of 2021, 4.3 million Americans work remotely. As more companies choose to hire virtual employees full-time, productivity and promoting both strong staff performance and employee experience becomes essential and needs to be managed online, which is why we put together some tips to make it easier.
Although productivity is a common concern for managers, it improves when staff are able to work more flexibly. Working from home can actually boost productivity by up to 3 weeks worth in a year.
How can employers effectively manage staff performance and productivity?
Ensure employees have access to the tech they need.
The average employee loses about 44 minutes per week due to slow broadband internet speeds. If a company has 30 employees all with the same issue, that’s about 22 hours a week. Chances are that your virtual team members could be seriously losing productivity because their broadband is just not fast enough to meet their needs. Add on the stress that comes from a slow computer connection and you don’t have a very work-focused team.
Confirm that your remote workers have a fast enough internet connection and a laptop or computer capable of managing their workload (if they’re sharing their connection with other internet users – especially avid Netflix streamers or other remote workers, this connection needs to be as fast as possible). Do employees need a secure phone connection, a fax machine, or a copier? Do their computers have enough hard drive space to download required software while still being able to work without delays?
Minimize as many distractions as possible.
Managers can limit distractions by having employees verify their working environment is promoting positive productivity. This means no televisions, families screaming in the background, and other nuisances. Could they benefit from access to a public coworking space? What are your team’s work surroundings that may be contributing to a lack of productivity? You can work with them to attempt to foster the best environment for working.
If you find you need more formal time tracking of your team member’s productivity, there are lots of available remote-working tech tools that track employee’s active minutes and keep watch over sensitive data/work without requiring too much control. ActiveTrak and TimeDoctor would be well-known examples.
Optimize cloud services while ensuring privacy and security of data.
It’s critical that managers provide a strong IT component that will secure internet connections and prevent malicious cyber attacks from happening on home networks. Offering technology that is preloaded with up-to-date anti-virus and other preventative software can help prevent issues, but optimizing cloud services to securely store sensitive data and programs can become a huge asset to the virtual workplace.
Not only is the data more secure than when stored on a home computer, but team members and managers can also access the most recent versions of this information and even collaborate on spreadsheets and documents in real-time.
There’s an importance for breaks, even when at home.
When your team is present at the office, it’s much easier to schedule and see breaks being taken. You’re also promoting these breaks because, legally, you have to. But, when employees work from home, it’s easier for them to work straight through the day, choosing not to take short breaks or even lunch.
It may seem easier and quicker to work right through the day, however, the lack of adequate breaks can lead to burnout and chronic stress. It can also lead to slower productivity, low well-being, and suffering in overall work performance. It’s important that you promote your team members to take scheduled breaks and lunch each day, and to recognize when they’re feeling stressed and need to take a short walk away from the computer for a bit.
Focus on the employee experience and promoting “purpose”.
How are you developing purpose in the virtual workplace? It’s important that all employees feel that their work is worth something – that they’re an important facet in the living organism of the company.
According to an article on Forbes, business growth in the post-pandemic world is based in part on positioning employees at the center of your business model – before your customers. Author, Kathy Caprino, writes “Employees need to be positioned at the center of an organization, shaping a collaborative environment that’s personalized to align performance, motivation, and purpose.
Employee experience (EX) was traditionally overshadowed by customer experience (CX), but now organizations understand employees are their greatest asset, whose experience drives business success. And user-centricity helps a live enterprise focus to deliver better experience and productivity.”
Promote collaboration and community
Your employees may be working separately from home, but fostering that sense of community and collaboration that they would expect while working in the physical office needs to be just as important regardless of where they’re located. There is plenty of team collaboration software available online that promotes active conversation, team huddles, and more like Microsoft teams or Slack.
Chris Swan, a Global Search Leader for TRANSEARCH spoke with top C-Suite leaders and recommends creating small teams with a mix of talent and skills and using virtual conferencing like Zoom to schedule weekly meetups where teams can share ideas and updates in real-time.
The virtual workplace is definitely here to stay. And, as more employers choose to hire remotely, stronger team management and productivity techniques will develop. By managing your virtual workforce initially and boosting productivity and staff performance using the tools available to you, your company will quickly see the success that comes with promoting a flexible team of talent.
Interested in learning more about how Varsity’s cloud management software can ensure your remote team will succeed? Reach out for a conversation with a member of our team today at https://www.varsitytech.com/contact-us/.