When COVID-19 began, businesses everywhere pivoted and working from home became the norm. Today, some pandemic-related restrictions have been lifted. Still, many companies continue to allow (if not encourage) their employees to work remotely.
Some companies maintain the remote workdorce model in an effort to serve the greater good by helping to lower the spread of the virus. Others do so because they’ve found that their employees not only prefer to work from home, but are actually more productive.
Whatever the reason, if all or much of your workforce is home based, you’ll know that this model presents its fair share of challenges, including:
- Controlling business processes
- Keeping your operation running smoothly
- Ensuring your teams are able to communicate with ease
Here are 10 best practices to help you keep employees engaged, maintain operational efficiencies, and optimize productivity – even with a remote workforce.
1. Improve collaboration.
The more collaborative your team, the better it will perform. The better it performs, the greater your productivity. To this end, you should ensure your remote teams can collaborate as easily as they might if they weren’t dispersed.
With this in mind, consider implementing collaboration software if you haven’t already. Programs like Jira and Slack can help you minimize the misunderstandings that easily arise when team members are out of contact. They can also help you and your teams avoid errors and manage projects, as well as crises, with greater efficiency.
2. Set goals for home-based workers.
Did you know that 39% of[vs1] home-based employees complete their tasks faster than those working in fixed workplaces?
To ensure the work they carry out aligns with your business priorities, it’s important to set clear and measurable goals. Rather than making assumptions, articulate clearly. Given your employees are working in isolation, be specific about their individual duties and responsibilities to avoid overlap and optimize productivity.
3. Empower your remote employees.
Nobody wants to be micromanaged. On the contrary, people value autonomy. In fact, according to research[vs2] , employees who experience a low level of autonomy tend to be less engaged in their work than those with a high level of autonomy.
Get more out of your employees by empowering them to make their own decisions, communicate new ideas, and implement them.
4. Create daily reports – and use them.
Daily project status reports are essential, especially when your team is dispersed. So, set aside time each day to create a daily snapshot of current business tasks and project progress.
Status reports are an efficient way to monitor jobs, review data, and avoid communication issues, as well as unpleasant surprises. Make them a daily habit and you’ll be better able to manage and monitor your team. Plus, you’ll have greater peace of mind that all is going according to plan.
5. Keep track of customer support.
Customers are the heart of every business. The best way to improve your customers’ satisfaction is to communicate with them regularly. Are you confident that your home-based employees are connecting with your customers sufficiently?
One way to monitor this (without micromanaging your staff) is to implement software that allows employees to record customer outreach. In the interest of efficiency, take advantage of automation features but don’t go overboard. Your customers value human contact.
6. Plan, plan, and plan.
It’s easy to wander aimlessly when you don’t have a roadmap. To achieve your goals with efficiency, you need a plan. This plan should prioritize the most urgent tasks so that your employees know what’s expected of them individually and as a team.
To ensure tasks are completed on time, include a clear schedule in your plan. This will help you and your employees forecast resources so that they can be allocated to the most urgent tasks.
7. Communicate with your entire staff frequently.
As mentioned, collaboration (see #1) enhances performance, and communication is key to collaboration, especially among remote workers. Some ways to promote communication include:
- Hosting one weekly virtual meeting for all employees so that you can keep everyone up to speed with company plans
- Proactively connecting with individual employees on a daily basis so that remote workers don’t feel disconnected
- Giving employees the opportunity to express any doubts and concerns
- Using technology to your advantage (see #8)
8. Choose the right communication tools.
Technology can simplify and facilitate remote communication and team collaboration. Make it easier for remote employees to stay current with company news and locate the documents and information they need to work effectively.
9. Focus on real-time data.
Nothing allows you to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening like real-time data analysis. With real-time digital solutions like Coral Collect, you can track your team’s day-to-day progress by viewing a single dashboard.
Such applications enable managers and employees to see what’s going on and what needs to be done at any given time.
10. Trade in manual forms for mobile forms.
Sending manual updates to teams, customers, and internal stakeholders takes time. Switch to a mobile forms app like Coral Collect and you and your teams will be able to make more accurate and frequent updates.
Not only will you all have access to information sooner; updates will take less time and require less management. This will free you up to spend more time improving your products and business operations.
If you want to reap the benefits of real-time data and mobile-based data collection methods, learn more about Coral Collect.