Featured guest article by Samual Adams.
Workforce productivity is a more pressing issue today than it has been in quite some time. This is because many (if not most) businesses have had to embrace remote working in the midst of the COVID-19 crises. And while we’re fortunate to have the technology to make remote working perfectly feasible in many cases, it’s still a scenario that poses unique challenges to managers and employees alike. Chief among those challenges is how to ensure productivity.
There are a lot of things you can do to accomplish this goal. Many of the relevant strategies are already apparent to managers: sticking to project schedules, establishing regular communications, and so on. Below, we’ll point to a few more specific tips that can keep your workforce active, healthy, and appreciative — all of which can add up to continued productivity.
1. Schedule Check-Ins
Establishing a schedule for projects and tasks is essentially a given — as is setting up a general expectation for communications. Beyond these initiatives though, it’s also wise to schedule specific check-ins with employees, ideally on a daily basis (or at least a few times a week). As one guide to managing remote workers put it, a regular check-in is a good way to let employees know that any questions or concerns of theirs will be heard. This is important for morale, especially when they aren’t working in close proximity to their managers. Plus, regular check-ins establish accountability. You don’t need to hawk over your workforce to ensure they work on an exact, dictated schedule while they’re remote — but regular check-ins do incentivize them to be up-to-date with their progress. All of this amounts to more regular productivity.
2. Choose a Video Chat
In our new era of remote work, it seems video chatting is all anyone is talking about. That’s with good reason. A face-to-face chat with employees can be one of the best ways to make them feel a sense of continuity. Working solely through chats and messages are effective, but there are likely to be some employees who simply respond better to the added social nature of a video chat.
By now, you’re likely aware that Zoom has become the leading video conferencing system. But it may still be worth your while to explore other options, and perhaps see what your workforce is most comfortable with. Some may already be familiar with Skype, for instance. Cisco has some alternative services, and Google just made its video chat available to all users for free.
In the end, you’ll only need one, but make sure it’s one that employees are up for using the system you choose. From there, you can set up occasional video conferences that will help you to maintain a feeling of company unity. You might even consider establishing a channel where employees can meet together at their leisure, whether to work together or just get a little bit of social time.
3. Run Investment Tutorials
This isn’t an idea that will occur to every business leader. But in uncertain working conditions, employees around the world are concerned about their finances. While working remotely, some are concerned about pay cuts, a loss of benefits, or simply their own lost savings in a tricky economic climate. These worries alone can make it hard for them to be as productive. Offering some investment advice or tutorials can alleviate some of this anxiety, and also show that the company cares.
That doesn’t mean you should pretend to be an expert where you’re not, nor that you even have to be fully in charge. But fostering some discussions about investment strategy can be a nice way to engage your workforce with something that matters, but isn’t work. You might consider at least covering a few investment topics that don’t relate directly to the stock markets your employees have been watching as they’ve struggled these last few months. For instance, you may want to brush up on your forex knowledge so as to have a few conversations about the currency trade. This may give them some ideas as to how to grow their finances outside of the markets. Similarly, you can discuss strategies for trading commodities, which relate to traditional markets but are traded separately. This can lead to an interesting discussion as well because there are so many commodities and different ways to trade them.
None of this means you should be dictating investment strategies to employees, or pushing them one way or another. But by having some general, informative discussions about financial management, you can help them to feel more comfortable about their financial future. Providing them this reassurance may also allow them to devote more focus to their work.
4. Provide Fitness Tips
Just as you can engage your employees about trading strategies to help them feel comfortable and proactive, you can also help employees stay fit while they’re stuck at home. You can direct staff to a variety of home workout options to help them be both healthy and focused.
Taking an interest in health and fitness as a leader shows that you care about employee wellness. Not to mention, study after study indicates that physical health and regular exercise can lead to greater attentiveness and productivity. Employees engaging in regular fitness efforts will likely perform more effectively.
Try some tips like these and you’ll likely find that your workforce operates smoothly — and maybe even cheerfully — while contributing remotely. You can find additional insight and managerial tips in Recamov’s Guide to Managing Your Remote Workers.