6 ways to overcome productivity challenges of remote work
Workers who have grown accustomed to their designated office desk and a plethora of in-person collaboration opportunities may find the transition to telecommuting a bit jarring, at least initially. Yet with an influx of employees opting to go remote in the wake of COVID-19, it’s never been more important to learn how to level up productivity from home.
Overcoming remote work productivity challenges
It’s a battle that has divided experts for some time now: are remote workers more productive than their in-office counterparts? While one Stanford University study points to dramatic increases in output levels after implementing telecommuting, another batch of research suggests productivity barriers still exist in roles that require extensive collaboration.
The hard truth is that not all remote work environments are created equally. Successful telecommuting practices come down to two essential players: the worker and the employer. Employees need a sense of commitment to their work and their team members in order to thrive from afar. Organizations must set every staffer up for success by optimizing their digital experience and equipping them with the tools needed to collaborate and work efficiently.
While making the most of remote work policies certainly requires effort, the good news is that it is well within reach. By cultivating a compelling culture and taking advantage of the best digital tools at your disposal, enterprises can maintain operational continuity, even when their workforces are dispersed.
Best practices for driving productivity in a remote workforce
#1. Set users up for success
The average employee in 2018 used 28 different apps just to complete basic tasks. To maintain productivity levels in a home-working environment, leaders need to ensure that employees have access to the tools and applications they rely on to perform daily functions. A company intranet can act as a centralized launchpad to critical business systems. Single-sign on capabilities further streamline access, saving users from storing a library of log-in credentials and permitting one-click access to apps and tools.
#2. DEX reigns supreme
Digital employee experience takes on new significance when an employee's contact with the office becomes solely virtual. Prevent the spread of tech-frustration by providing streamlined access to best-in-class third-party tools relied on by employees. Seamless integrations with third-party apps and tools offer a single pane of glass experience eliminates app fatigue and drive efficient work habits. Transactional integrations take productivity a step further, allowing users to interact with tools without leaving the intranet for a seamless, unified digital experience.
#3. Keep spirits high
Effective internal communication is essential to maintaining a goal-driven workforce. Ramp up communication efforts to keep everyone aligned with the business's vision, goals, and strategy. Present a consistent, familiar tone that resonates with users and isn’t too corporate, and try to strike a balance between keeping everyone informed and aligned with company strategy, and more people-focused narratives that spotlight achievements and best-practice.
#4. Plant the seeds for virtual collaboration
Arm users with the tools needed to ensure collaboration lives on outside of the office. Encourage employees to take advantage of social networking functionalities, dedicated team pages, and the ability to call and video chat. The C-suite should set the tone for collaborative telecommuting practices, so make sure your entire leadership team is on board and ready to connect.
#5. Centralize knowledge
Knowledge silos are the nemesis of remote work. To function at optimal performance, remote workers need easy access to the information and resources they need to do their jobs. A centralized document repository with powerful search is a must for enabling productivity in a remote workforce. Modern integration frameworks allow enterprises to pool knowledge stored across various applications in one place. Employees can scan vast file repositories from a central location, ensuring that knowledge is always to hand.
#6. Source employee feedback
Instead of guessing how to improve productivity for employees working from home, take the time to gather recommendations. Forms capabilities make it easy to disseminate feedback surveys that can be used to gauge employee sentiment. Utilize built-in analytics to spotlight any existing pain points and make actionable changes to your remote work policies based on the results.
How to fuel a positive culture for remote workers
Even under normal working conditions, cultivating a positive culture is both a challenge and a priority. Remote work can add an additional layer of complexity because it’s more difficult for dispersed workforces to unite under one vision. Paired with proper strategy and open lines of communication, the right set of digital tools can fuel a positive culture that boosts employee satisfaction and encourages every user to reach peak performance.
6 insights to share with employees transitioning to telecommuting
To level up your workforce's work from home habits, consider implementing the following advice:
#1. Take advantage of virtual resources
Employees who are new to remote work may fear that their performance will take a hit now that they don’t have their desk mate to turn to for help. Instead of settling for sub-par practices, employees must be proactive to get their hands on critical knowledge. Video webinars, FAQs, and explainer articles can provide valuable insight for those looking to up skill. If there is a gap in the knowledge available, employees can turn to their user profile directory to determine the best point of contact for follow up questions.
#2. Don’t let group work fall by the wayside
Just because you’re no longer face to face with coworkers, doesn’t mean you can’t collaborate with them. Group-working can make the most of an enterprise’s entire knowledge base and pave the way for innovation. Employees should take advantage of screen-sharing and file transfers to recreate the in-office experience virtually. Dedicated team pages can carve out space for colleagues to come together to work on departmental deliverables together.
#3. Stay accountable
Once your manager is out eye range, some employees may feel tempted to coast. Project management sites can keep motivation levels high and inspire workers to stay on task. While in-person meetings might be off the table, video conference calls are an opportunity to check-in and showcase your progress.
#4. See the bigger picture
Members of the C-suite should offer news and real-time updates, share any pertinent policy changes, and help keep employees' spirits high. While it’s easy to have your blinders on while telecommuting, employees who stay in the know will feel more connected to their organization and thus more motivated to work efficiently.
#5. Keep the connection going
With a little creativity, it’s possible to maintain the same level of camaraderie you’ve established with coworkers in the office. Take advantage of social networking capabilities to check in with coworkers, share stories, and react to content on your intranet. By keeping the conversation going virtually, users can share best practices with peers and come together to make the most of remote work.
Take a look at our blog that talks about different digital workplace features that can keep remote workers connected through challenging times.
#6. Know when to wind down
When your home becomes your office, the lines between work and leisure tend to shift. To maintain mental clarity and wellbeing, every employee needs some time away their work screen. Mobile responsive capabilities can empower users to step away from their desk without fear, as they can trust that push notifications will alert them if anything time-sensitive arises.
Use your digital workplace to optimize telecommuting for all
Whether working from home is an interim solution or a long-term option, employees need support and access to the proper digital tools to maintain productivity. If you are interested in upgrading your intranet to help your team maximize their output levels, get in touch with our digital workplace experts.