How to Ensure Efficiency While Employees Work from Home

Have a strong organization.

In the midst of this global coronavirus pandemic, companies which are fortunate enough to remain open have shifted to a work from home model. While embracing this new, temporary normal, strong management is needed to organize staff and remain productive while in isolation. One method to achieve this is to set up standard daily meetings at a fixed time to check in on your team, define goals, and get a reading on how everyone is coping during this trying time. This allows for communication to and from leadership, as well as ensuring efficiency from your team.

During these meetings, it is important to outline a daily schedule and define the pace of work. Allowing all parties to have an input and address changes in schedule is vital to success, especially when working from home is not a team norm. Everyone will adjust to this process differently, and management will need to be flexible, while still maintaining your team's productivity.

In addition to these daily meetings, you can also request employees submit a daily report at the same time each day of what they accomplished work form home, what challenges they faces, and their general demeanor. This allows you to check on the progress of each employee, as well as remind them of upcoming tasks and projects.

Time charts and to-do lists are also a very helpful way of understanding which employees may need additional coaching during the adjustment period. Furthermore, this method will give you more clarity on how much is being accomplished by your team when they are not in a structured office setting during work from home. This can also lead to an improvement in quality of work for those members who are still adjusting.

Define common goals.

It is important that members of the leadership team set up clear, manageable goals for their employees to ensure their personal and professional success during this work from home period.

Short-term goals should be specific and well defined. To start work at home , give your team goals for the day, with a clear explanation of who is responsible for which tasks. Next, define goals for the week, and coming week. This can be done in an email, or via a group chat to the team at large. This process ensures visibility to the team, and other teams in the organization, on how projects are progressing despite isolation.

Longer-term goals are equally important, not just for continued productivity, but also to remind employees of the importance of their short-term goals and emphasize the ultimate objectives for your tea. Many employees may be feeling (justifiably) aimless or pessimistic due to COVID-19 and its effects, so this type of motivation may come as a driving force for them.

Set the standard

It isn't uncommon for some employees to use this situation to slack off – 'when the cat's away the mice will play' – so management should also lead by example. Make it clear to the team what you are doing during the day and what your goals are You could also utilize an incentive-based program. For example, if an employee is on time for all workdays in a month work at home , they will get $200 gift card for groceries or a meal delivery service.

Communication has no bounds

Although physically separate from one another, this shouldn't stop your team from sharing information. A breakdown in communication with your team could lead to work being repeated or overlooked. Furthermore, different teams may be committing to different plans, so ensure you communicate with other members of leadership as well.

A specific way to combat a breakdown in communication is to set up a required reporting process on a daily basis to share ideas and allow for unobstructed messaging.

Utilize the right platforms.

As we shift to this new normal, finding the proper platform for your team, and company overall, is vital. Common online meeting platforms, like Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, or RingCentral, can help you stay in touch with your employees and check in on them in an easy and effective way.

These platforms also offer online meeting rooms so team members can share idea with the group at large and stay in touch during the day or quickly and informally ask a question you would typically walk up to someone and ask in an office. Plus, these allow for a digital record of responses given, and even when the information was shared, so everyone can stay organized. Files, links, and other materials can be shared this way – even if it is just a funny video to keep spirits up during work from home.

Don't ignore the working environment.

Much like in an office, the environment where work is done can define the quality of the work. Even when working from home, a sense of formality shouldn’t be neglected. Encourage your team to set a defined workspace where quiet, productive work can be done. It could be tempting for work from the couch in front of the tv, but that won't allow for proper concentration and quality of deliverables.

Encourage your team to get up and go about their daily routine like they would if they were going into the office even work at home. Not only will this help keep them in a routine for when teams shift back to working in an office, it will also remind them that they're on the clock for the day.

Technology cannot be overlooked either. The company may need to allocate funds to ensure everyone has a webcam, extra chargers or docking stations, and even printers. Without certain pieces of equipment, work from home may take longer, and quality of deliverables could be impacted.

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