September 28, 2020

Keeping up Productivity as Homeworking Continues

In response to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic Boris Johnson has announced that workers ‘who can work from home should do so’. This is a change from the previous campaign to encourage employees to return to offices.

Employers spent time and money ensuring their workplaces were Covid secure and had plans in place to enable staff to make a gradual return.

As homeworking is set to continue for employees who can effectively do so, how can employers encourage the productivity of their remote workforce?

A Stitch in Time Saves Nine

If you sort out a problem immediately, it may save extra work later. Considering the impact of continued home working now, will ensure workers are just as committed to carrying out their roles as they would have been in the workplace. Keep reading for some tops tips on how to encourage productivity.

Train your Line Managers

This may be the first time that your line managers have ever managed their team remotely. You always want to ensure that your team have the right skills to do the job – making the move to managing a remote workforce is no exception. With this new people management challenge, consider giving them an online training session to boost their productivity and in turn the productivity of their team.

Communication

We may have adjusted to carrying out our work via tools such as Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts or Skype for Business but that doesn’t mean we are getting the level of communication right with employees. Take the renewed emphasis on working from home as an opportunity to evaluate the last 6 months and make any necessary adjustments to how and when you communicate with your team. There is a balance between constantly messaging employees and radio silence! Ask yourself questions; are you:

  • Accessible to your team?
  • Available to respond to any pressing concerns?
  • Being clear on priorities and any deadlines?
  • Giving feedback on objectives and key milestones?
  • Do you know the availability of your team? (i.e ensuring you can reach them when needed – not micromanaging)
  • Communicating updates on the business and sharing successes?
  • Checking the frequency and length of meetings your employees are attending? Shorter meetings may be required to avoid video conferencing fatigue and meetings taking up too many working hours.

Set Expectations

Set clear goals, objectives and expectations for your employees to ensure they are aware of the required standard of performance. It is key that you concentrate on outcomes and results. Managers who used to have an office-based team prior to COVID-19 may need to change their focus when measuring home workers performance. Move to assessing quality, results or achievement of the agreed objectives.

One to Ones

Continue with your existing performance management processes. Ensure 1:1s or supervisions happen regularly to assist with the management of your employees and ensure you keep informed on your employee’s progress towards their work objectives. Don’t forget to listen to your employees and act on their feedback as required.

Collaboration

Providing opportunities for the team to collaborate. Employees may never have worked at home before March 2020 and may start to feel isolated. Did the team collaborate previously? Did they work together on projects or learn by sharing experiences? Ensuring employees continue to feel part of a team will help them remain focussed.

Wellbeing

Employees may struggle to switch off after their day working from home. Promote health and wellbeing during your individual chats.  Maintaining a good work/life balance will help with productivity and avoid a burn out situation.  This can be more common with homeworking as the lines between home and office can be blurred. You should ensure that clear expectations are set out around the hour’s employees work and responding to messages out of hours. Consider the impact and perceived pressure to respond on the employee by sending them an email late at night.

Ultimately if your employees are communicating clearly with you and meeting their objectives and deadlines, you will need to trust that they are being productive and therefore doing their jobs effectively. For additional information on managing your remote team please see: Performance Management for Homeworkers: Top 10 Tips.

 

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About the author

Louise Gillibrand

About the author

Louise Gillibrand

Louise is a generalist Human Resource professional with over 18 years’ experience across a variety of sectors including care, medical, retail and telecommunications, and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Louise provides sound practical and business-focused advice in line with employment legislation and best practice, and has worked in partnership with line managers, senior operational managers and directors. Typical consultancy projects include advice on complex employee relations issues, redundancy programmes, restructures, TUPE, recruitment, policy writing and grievance/disciplinary handling. In addition to her generalist knowledge she is experienced in delivering training on a wide variety of employment law and HR subjects. Louise joined the Moorepay consultancy team in October 2007.

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