More and more businesses have mandated that their employees work from home (WFH) in the ongoing effort to minimize the effects of the coronavirus outbreak. For those who find themselves working at home in the coming weeks, an important question must be posed: what's the best way to maximize productivity, maintain good health, and get the most out of your day working remotely?

At Staffbase, we maintain that high quality, inclusive internal communication is key. Check out our five tips below to learn how improved comms can help maximize WFH productivity!

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1. Stay Connected to Your Coworkers

Working from home might help you focus on your work in the short term, but it can also make you feel cut off from the rest of the company. Instant messaging, community engagement threads, and video-conferencing can make it easy to check in with coworkers and remind you how your work is contributing to the bigger picture.

Making these check-ins a regular part of your day when at home can also be a great way to add some structure. For example, consider having employees begin the day with a 15-minute call with their managers to provide a more direct communication channel. Employees can get specific questions answered before diving into work and managers can adjust priorities without creating confusion.

2. Clearly Communicate Expectations

For managers, clearly state what you hope your employees to accomplish in a given day. Employers are often wary of offering remote work opportunities for fear that employees will take advantage of the policy. However, 65% of employees think they would be more productive at home than in the office.

To mitigate the two, determine how you’ll track productivity. Where activity logs might imply distrust and facilitate discontent, consider gauging productivity by tracking completed tasks, or utilizing a task-management platform to make progress visible.

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3. Outline Responsiveness and Availability Expectations

To ensure that tasks are being completed on time, communication guidelines need to be clarified and set with managers.

Are employees expected to be online and available over the course of the entire workday, or just during set hours? How are WFH employees expected to handle their meeting schedules? Setting clear expectations allows employees to better coordinate personal matters alongside their work responsibilities and be more productive.

It's also important to set guidelines for preferred modes of communication. Doing so holds remote workers accountable and predetermines a set source of information.

4. Evaluate Your Policy Frequently

To ensure your work-from-home policy is as successful as can be, regularly check in with your team and managers. Ask the important questions: has productivity increased? Are there any major project delays. Are you finding it difficult to keep tabs on team performance? Additionally, use surveys to find out how the employees themselves feel about the current communication and adjust accordingly. Two-way communication is absolutely key.

Questions to Ask:

  • What are the biggest challenges you face while working from home?
  • When working from home, what do you miss most about being in the office?
  • Do you find yourself working more or fewer hours?
  • Do you find yourself being more or less productive?
  • Are you bring provided with the tools and technology you need to effectively do your job?

5. Lead With Trust

Having so many workers at home can make it tempting for a manager to check in frequently and micromanage from afar to ensure task completion, but doing so will only create problems for your team.

A successful WFH policy requires you to trust your employees. If employees fail to act responsibly, act accordingly, whether that means adjusting the policy or addressing employees individually. When you trust employees as much as you value them, your business will only be rewarded.