To comply with social distancing orders, millions of employees are clocking in from home. Some are learning new technologies, such as Zoom, for the very first time. Others are juggling homeschooling and around-the-clock parenting with the demanding duties of a full-time job.
If you’re at the helm of a team of remote employees, you’re likely feeling the effects of this shift. How can you keep your employees on track from afar, especially when there are so many obligations that demand their attention?
Today, we’re taking a deep dive into this question. Read on to learn a few strategies that can help ensure remote team productivity.
7 Strategies to Ensure Remote Team Productivity
1. Acknowledge Achievements
Acknowledgment is a subtle art, but it’s an important one. Research shows that the number one driver of long-term employee motivation isn’t salary, benefits or vacation time. Rather, it’s being shown appreciation for a job well done.
At the same time, the top two issues that cause demotivation are lack of recognition and feeling undervalued.
Want to boost employee engagement and encourage remote workers to do their best? Then, acknowledge and reward their achievements.
According to one survey, 79% of employees agree that recognition makes them work harder. In addition, 78% say they’re more productive after being rewarded.
While you might not be able to walk down the hall and give your employee a shout-out, you can still do so virtually. In fact, building reward and recognition into your virtual team culture is essential.
Something as simple as sending an email or using Slack to share about an employee’s recent achievement can make a major difference.
Additionally, you should ensure everyone feels included when your company hits a major milestone or is acknowledged in the industry. Invite them to a conference call to share the good news.
2. Remember the Benefits of ERP
An employee could have the most sophisticated home office in the world, but it’s easy to become disorganized and overwhelmed when working remotely.
This is where enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions come in. If you have a modern, cloud-based ERP system you can use it to organize and centrally manage all the departments in your organization.
When all your information is stored, tracked and organized this way, you have instant access to all your data, from anywhere at any time. With this visibility, you can make more informed business decisions and meet client expectations. You can also identify any areas where productivity might be waning and take steps to correct them.
While many companies already have a modern ERP system, others are just now considering the benefits of ERP, especially cloud ERP. If you’re looking for a new ERP vendor, it may be helpful to hire an ERP consulting firm, like Panorama.
2020 Top 10 ERP Vendors Report
This report provides ERP selection guidance to organizations across all industries that are evaluating ERP systems. The vendors featured in this report were chosen based on the strength of their functionality across a variety of products.
3. Simplify Communication
In the digital age, there is no shortage of communication tools designed to help employees connect across global distances. That said, you don’t need to use them all.
To keep things as simple as possible and encourage team member participation, simplify your approach. Narrow the platforms you use to a handful of tools that work best for your needs. A few of the most common and user-friendly ones include:
- Citrix: Server, application, and desktop virtualization
- Zoom: Video and audio conferencing
- Microsoft teams: Team collaboration
- Slack: Team communication
- Trello: Project management
When choosing which tools to use, consider how your team needs to interact and where your pain points lie. Chances are, there’s an app or program designed to alleviate them.
4. Develop a Strong Company Culture
Company culture isn’t built overnight. It takes time to create a shared set of goals, visions, and attitudes and even longer to have those define your workplace. Yet, it’s always worth the effort.
A strong company culture is built on an environment of encouragement and transparency. So, encourage open feedback, listen as much as possible and make sure that every team member feels respected and supported. This kind of culture will ensure employee productivity when employees feel demotivated and distant.
To learn more, read our post, How to Build a Strong Culture with a Remote Team.
5. Address Security Issues
It’s natural for your employees to feel a little wary about embracing remote work. After all, cyber threats are very real and can have devastating outcomes.
How can you ease their minds and assure them that you’re doing all you can do protect their security? Here are a few steps to follow:
- Conduct routine IT security awareness training
- Document best IT security practices and make them widely available
- Establish clearly defined security rules (e.g. mandatory VPNs, lockouts after unsuccessful logins, encrypted devices, etc.)
Knowledge is key in this regard. Employees should feel confident that your IT department is working to keep their sensitive and confidential data secure. In addition, they should understand the steps they can take to protect themselves, too.
6. Focus on Outcomes (Avoid Micromanagement)
When you can’t look over the shoulders of your employees, it’s easy to revert to micromanagement. Yet, measuring productivity this way can make your remote team members feel even more isolated and ostracized than they already are.
While digital time-tracking tools are helpful in this regard, remember to keep the bigger picture in mind. It’s unrealistic to expect everyone to sit at their desks for eight hours straight without interruption, especially if they’re suddenly working from home due to a global pandemic.
As long as they’re meeting their due dates, reaching their goals and staying on track with deliverables, you should assume they’re trying their hardest.
7. Streamline Processes
There is no typical day when you’re working from home. There is a myriad of different distractions and disruptions that can occur at any given minute. This is why it’s so important to streamline your business processes.
If you were working in a physical office up until the economic shutdown, the shift to remote work might call for process changes. Along with this, comes the need for a comprehensive change management plan.
We recommend beginning business process reengineering by reassessing your current processes. What will work in this online space and what needs to be tweaked?
You’ll also need to re-examine stakeholder responsibilities, the types of tools your team uses and the ways employees communicate.
This level of process reengineering can take time, and it’s not uncommon for employees to resist the change. Yet, when you take the time to explain the reasons behind the shift and equip workers with the tools they need, you can increase remote team productivity.
Are You Keeping Your Remote Employees Productive?
Working from home can be a beneficial setup for managers and their team members alike. However, without the right business processes and IT infrastructure in place, remote work can result in a lack of productivity.
As you seek to keep remote employees productive, focused and satisfied with their work, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. If you need assistance with change management or ERP selection, request a free consultation below to speak with one of our ERP consultants or change management consultants.