How to boost productivity for remote teams

There’s a good chance if you’re reading this that you could be one of the millions of people dialling into team calls instead of attending all-hands meetings for the first time as remote work becomes widespread in the bid to tackle coronavirus.

By: Sinead Healy on

But just because many can now start their daily commute at 8:55am, that doesn’t mean you’ll want to see a drop-off in the productivity you’re used to seeing in the office.

So, here are a few ways to help make a success of distributed working, from improving productivity to maintaining motivation and engagement.

Communications

Most already know this, but it’s critical to have a centralised communications tool where conversations are visible to all - even better if it has video call capability built-in. Don’t rely on lengthy email chains with 100 people copied in.

It doesn’t have to be all work though. Set-up a channel where colleagues can share interesting articles or movie suggestions as a substitute for the coffee-break chat.

Communication from leaders to employees regarding their future is also paramount at this time. A lack of psychological safety and the stress surrounding job security can severely hamper productivity - as well as being unfair for any employee to have to go through if their minds can be put at ease. Transparency in moments of change or crisis is critical.

Flexible working?

Remote working doesn’t necessarily mean flexible working. It’s beneficial to have everyone checking in at the same time so all are available to help on projects and answer any questions without lag.

Companies that did offer employees flexible working may find that, when switching to fully remote, they benefit from starting with a standard 9-5 for the first few weeks so everyone is available and to normalise the situation as quickly as possible.

Show appreciation!

Ensure employee recognition still takes place! Feeling recognised for your ongoing contribution is a key component in maintaining engagement, and that shouldn’t stop if you’ve left the office. Even better is if you use a platform that opens the recognition conversation for all your employees to participate in and actively promotes your businesses core values in the process.

Documentation

If your key work documentation isn’t in one centralised place that everyone can access yet, now would be a good time to get that sorted. The last thing your teams will want right now is a constantly-updated Word doc flying around and no one really knowing who has the most recent version!

Keep the fun

Try and maintain the workplace perks that were already in place, as well as any informal weekly social events. Water-cooler moments, all-hands meetings via a company (or team-wide) video chat, maybe even the 4pm beer at the desk for less corporate workplaces can all in some way be replicated in an online working world.

Further reading: check out our three favourite TED Talks all about employee recognition, engagement and culture for insightful tips on how to best tackle the new working reality.