Wednesday 8th Apr 2020
Working from home (and working remotely in general) is an ever-increasing trend, and something that businesses small and large are going to have to get used to. However, there’s naturally still a lot of concern amongst business leaders that productivity might take a hit when employees work from home, for whatever reason that might be. In truth, productivity can remain exactly the same or even improve, with a few key considerations.
Invest in IT
It cannot be understated how important having effective IT systems is when it comes to allowing people to work from home. There are two main things to think about here. The first is ensuring that employees have all the connectivity to access information, systems and people. The second is ensuring that they can do this in a secure way, which often requires having a good IT department or external provider.
Connectivity means ensuring that employees can talk to whoever they need to in the closest way possible to normal. Inevitably, this will mean having access to sound video conferencing facilities, as well as having a work phone. It also means having access to the same systems and software as would be available at the office. The more difficult this is, the more productivity will take a hit, but an individual with access to everything they would have at the office, is an individual that can be productive.
Trust your employees
Placing trust in your employees is more important than you might think. Individuals tend to work better when they feel trusted, and they feel that their managers and the company as a whole recognise what they contribute. It can be very tempting to attempt to micromanage and monitor staff while they’re working from home, in an attempt to ensure they’re really working. The problem is that it’s all too easy to be heavy-handed, and this doesn’t foster a productive working relationship between employees and management. Try not to treat individuals differently when they’re working away from the office - trust them to get the job done.
When it comes to working tasks and goals, it’s important to maintain continuity. Just because someone is working from home, it doesn’t mean that the workload should change. Some tasks might be impossible, but otherwise it’s important to push the message of ‘business as usual’. As previously mentioned, this doesn’t mean you should check up on people constantly, but it does mean that you should continue setting goals, targets and tasks as you would if individuals were working from the office.