Many businesses are allowing their employees to continue to work from home (WFH) following mandated quarantine, even as the coronavirus outbreak becomes contained. For these organizations and their people, the important questions raised during the pandemic remain in play: What's the best way to maximize productivity, maintain good health, and get the most out of your day working remotely?
It is mow more clear than ever that a high quality, inclusive internal communication strategy and its execution are key for optimizing your work from home strategy.
Check out our 5 tips to learn how improved comms can help maximize productivity as you work from home.
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 10-minute call with their managers to provide some direct communication. Employees can get answers to specific questions before diving into work, and managers can adjust priorities without creating confusion.
2. Clearly Communicate Expectations
For managers, clearly state what you want your employees to accomplish on a given day. In the past, employers were often wary of offering remote work opportunities for fear that employees will take advantage of the policy. However, according to the Harvard Business Review, knowledge workers in particular are more productive working from home.
To mitigate any lingering concerns, 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.
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. Regularly Evaluate Your Work From Home Policies
To ensure your work-from-home policies remain successful, 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 effectiveness of your current communication and adjust accordingly. Two-way communication is absolutely key.
Questions to ask as you work from home during quarantine:
- 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
With so many workers opting to keep working from home, it's tempting for managers to check in too frequently and micromanage from afar in order to ensure task completion. But doing so will only create problems for your team.
If your quarantine work from home policy was a success, it means that you trusted your employees to do the right thing. Your WFH practices don't have to change post quarantine. If employees fail to act responsibly, act accordingly, whether that means adjusting your policies or addressing employees individually.
There's no better way to show that you value your employees than by putting trust in them. Do so, utting trust in your employees as much as you value them, your business will only be rewarded.