How To Keep Your Team Productive While Working Remotely

Working remotely challenges on a zoom call with colleagues and clients

Whether it was something that had been planned or not, many businesses have been put in the position of trying to keep their employees engaged and productive while they work remotely.

As we already know, remote work comes with its challenges. Whether it is due to having to juggle childcare at the same time or the mental health impacts of working from home, the challenges are real. 

No matter your business has made the decision to transition to working remotely for good or as a temporary measure until your company returns to its new “normal office life”, you need to make sure to put solutions in place that will allow employees to be as productive as possible. 

Remote Teams: Importance Of Keeping Employees Productive

Remote teams are certainly not a new concept. But if this is your first time having to manage a team that works primarily from home, it can be challenging to ensure that productivity levels are staying high. 

We aren’t saying that because your employees are out of sight that they aren’t working as hard as they usually do. Because we all know that is just not true. But, there are things that some leaders often take for granted that help to keep employees engaged and productive while in the office space such as: 

  • Opportunities to socialize 
  • Access to technological resources 
  • Bouncing ideas off their colleagues during team meetings 

Engagement will always be key to a productive workforce regardless of where your staff are working. If your remote employees feel that they aren’t receiving the same level of leadership that’s provided in the physical workplace, then employee morale can begin to drop leading to a lack of engagement. When this happens it inevitably leads to lower quality of work being provided. 

If you want to keep your company’s output of high-quality work consistent then you must keep employees’ productivity high while they are working remotely. And to do this, you must make engagement a top priority. 

Daily Check-Ins: Why These Are Needed

One way to keep your remote team engaged and productive is to hold daily check-ins. Why are these needed? Having a scheduled time each day when employees can discuss the projects that they are working on and problem solve issues they’re having with others creates a sense of accountability. It also helps to provide structure to an employee’s workday.  

n fact, remote work becomes more satisfying when expectations are set in terms of the frequency and means in which team communication will take place.  

All humans are social by nature and seek interaction with others on a daily basis. Having a daily check-in with your remote staff allows them to bring a social aspect to their daily work routines while ensuring seamless communication between each team member.  

So, what are the most important forms of daily check-ins while working remotely?  

Watercooler Chat 

We all know what is meant by “watercooler chat”. Everyone enjoys being able to chat with their colleagues around the watercooler or coffee machine first thing in the morning or mid-way through the afternoon.  

Watercooler chat helps your employees to get to know each other.  As employees build relationships with their colleagues, this helps to improve both their motivation and productivity.  

Communicating as part of work shouldn’t be focused on just work. So, make sure that you are providing your employees with the opportunity to converse with their colleagues on a personal level while they are working remotely.  

Employee Coordination  

Daily check-ins allow managers and employees to coordinate in regard to the tasks that they are working on. Perhaps a number of team members are working on the same project together. Having a set time for communicating each day means that employees are easily able to collaborate on their specific tasks and gives managers the ability to check on the progress of employee tasks.  

Discussion Of Day’s Priorities

Finally, a daily touchpoint with your employees gives all team members the ability to talk about what are the day’s top priorities. This allows all of your staff to be on the same page in regard to each person’s day and will help them to organize their work schedule better too.  

Why Companies Should Provide Equipment For A Proper Home Workspace 

If you are looking to keep your remote team productive, then you must also ensure that they have the right tools and equipment to work comfortably from home. As a company leader, it is your responsibility to ensure that any team member who will be working from home is provided with the equipment they need to have a proper home workspace.  

For many individuals, in order to be at their most productive, they need to have a suitable space to work. During the coronavirus pandemic, many employees had to make makeshift workspaces in their homes – either at kitchen tables or even on their beds. But it is not always easy to replicate the atmosphere of the office at home.  

As a business owner, ask your employees what equipment would make their workday easier while working remotely? Organize for equipment such as screen monitors, wireless keyboards and ergonomic chairs to be delivered to the homes of your employees. Provide them with the personal tech and software they need.  

Employee safety applies both in and out of the office. By providing ergonomic equipment that will allow employees to work more comfortably and efficiently can help to keep them productive.  

Provide The Latest In Virtual Technology And Task Management

Collaboration is key when it comes to managing a team of employees that are working remotely. And one great way to facilitate this is by providing communication and task management tools that can be accessed no matter where your employees are.  

Tools such as Zoom, Slack and have been used widely by companies across the globe. But their importance has been even more prominent during COVID-19.  

Instant Communication Tools  

Instant communication tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts are the perfect communication platforms for keeping in touch with your remote team. Email and telephone calls will always be important but coming them with other forms of technology will help to create a richer connection with employees.  

Tools that allow employees to partake in casual and quick conversations are crucial for time-sensitive matters and helps your team stay productive while also staying in touch with the rest of the team.  

Video Conferencing 

Video conferencing tools such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams have soared in popularity since the beginning of COVID-19. These virtual communication tools are ideal for holding daily team meetings or talking about more complex topics that can’t be communicated fully over instant communication tools.  

Video conferencing helps to strengthen communication among remote team members and facilitates and optimizes collaboration.  

Task Management Tools 

Finally, task management tools such as Slack and provide team members that are working remotely the ability to easily collaborate with coworkers on tasks and to visually see the progress that is being made. Task management tools remove the need to have numerous email threads and phone calls in order to touch base. They can easily view everyone’s tasks from one dashboard. 

This streamlines coworker communication and helps to save on time resources which overall, improves employee productivity.

Manage Conflict Or Issues When Working Remotely

One of the biggest productivity killers for remote teams is conflict and communication issues happening between staff members. 

In order to keep your team productive while working from home, you must ensure that measures are put in place to ensure employees are provided with open communication channels and that any conflicts that arise are dealt with effectively and in a timely manner. As a leader, it is your responsibility to use conflict management skills to prevent communication from deteriorating in your organization while your employees are working remotely.  

Working from home can bring with it many challenges and obstacles such as juggling childminding responsibilities and dealing with loneliness. Keeping the stressors that your employees may be experiencing can be helpful when mitigating conflict and ensuring employees have the support that they need to work effectively when remote.  

Other Ways To Improve Employee Morale And Satisfaction For Remote Teams 

Happy employees are productive employees. However, according to Harvard Business Review, many remote workers often experience high work intensity and less distinction between their work and home lives leading to burnout. In order to be productive, you must remind employees to have work/life balance and to make time for social activities.  

As an employer, you should take it upon yourself to encourage your remote team to partake in activities that boost morale, satisfaction and overall happiness such as: 

  • Indoor and outdoor exercise 
  • Mental breaks  
  • Team lunch chats 
  •  Virtual team social activities such as Zoom quizzes  

 This helps to emphasize the importance of wellness and having a great company culture in place. Those remote employees who feel that they are being supported by their employers and are given the ability to connect with others in their company on a social basis feel more valued, appreciated and respected as a worker.  

Providing L&D For Your Employees 

Working remotely doesn’t mean that your employees should lose out on the opportunities regularly provided in a physical office space. And the same goes for learning and development opportunities.  

Online employee training can help to equip your team with the tools they need to carry out their jobs successfully while working from home. Whether that involves upskilling in communication skills or with the time management skills needed to complete tasks in a more flexible working environment.

Here at the Training Company, we help your business to continue providing L&D courses to your employees anytime and anywhere.  We are corporate training, Toronto-based and serving SMBs across Canada.

If you are interested in learning more about the eLearning training courses we have available, get in touch with our team today. We’ll be happy to discuss your company’s training needs and devise a training strategy that’s right for your employees.