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How to maximise team productivity when they are working from home

By November 11, 2020 November 13th, 2020 No Comments
maximising remote working productivity image to support blog

With the 2nd lockdown now in place, it is even more essential that your teams are being productive. Here’s our guide to maximising remote working productivity. A set of 11 productivity tips…

1. Regular team meetings

Whilst meeting face to face may be preferable, the lockdown doesn’t allow that to happen. That doesn’t mean meetings cannot happen. Whether you use Teams or Zoom or something else, schedule regular meetings for each team. When your teams know what is happening and what progress is being made, they will be more productive.

2. Regular team conversations

Remote working is making more and more people feel isolated. Maintaining your team’s mental health and wellbeing has never been more important than it is now. A big part of this is ensuring that people can talk to each other – about personal stuff, the news, sport, life stuff. All the non-work things that people talk about around the coffee machine, the water cooler and when on a cigarette break(!).
Encourage your team to talk. 

3. Good internet connections

If any member of your team has a poor internet connection at home, their productivity is going to suffer. Depending upon their role within the business, you may need to help out. They made need a better connection with a lower contention ratio, a faster connection or a fixed IP address. Whilst this may mean some additional costs, it will be a wise investment.

4. A great IT support company

Of course, we’re going to say this, but it is very true. When one of your team has an IT issue, they haven’t got their colleagues around them to help solve the problem. You need a responsive IT support company, who will get them back working again. If that isn’t the case currently, give us a call.

5. Ergonomic working space

Working on a laptop when sat on the sofa is okay for an hour, or so in the evening. It isn’t for the whole day. As an employer, you are responsible for ensuring your team have a working environment that is suitable, whether they are in the office or working remotely. This includes:

  • A suitable chair (not a dining chair).
  • That they are working in the right position (forearms horizontal, eyes looking straight ahead (not down or up).
  • No health and safety issues, such as wires creating trip hazards.

You can see more about your responsibilities here.

6. Dedicated workspace

This isn’t always possible, but a dedicating a space to work helps productivity in a number of ways:

  • Others in the household are far less likely to disturb your team member when they are in the dedicated space, even if it is not a separate room.
  • That person’s mindset switches to work mode when they are in that space.
  • They can leave all the work equipment there, knowing where it will be when they start work the next morning.

7. Divide work and home hours

It may be tempting to let your teams work whatever hours they want when they are working remotely. However, this isn’t helping your team productivity. Research has proven that long hours negatively impact productivity. Stanford University’s research showed productivity drops sharply after just two more hours a day and is actually going backwards when you clear 55 hours.

Your teams’s families will also like you more, as you encourage them to only work when they should be working!

8. Regular breaks

Nobody sits at their desk from 9 until 5.30 (or beyond) without a break. It wouldn’t happen in the office, you so need to ensure that your staff aren’t expected to do this at home.

  • The call of nature may get them out of their chair once or twice, but they need to be encouraged to take regular breaks.
  • Set their Fitbits (other fitness trackers do exist) or Apple watches to nudge them to more about regularly.
  • Their coffee or tea habit should keep them nipping to the kitchen a few times.
  • Make sure they have a lunch break. Maintaining energy levels is vital in maintaining productivity and it makes sure they get to switch off, at least for a little while.

9. Ensure presenteeism doesn’t become a thing

Everyone knows what absenteeism is, but far fewer take notice of presenteeism. This is where people are there, but doing very little. If your teams aren’t communicating and your managers not checking in regularly, presenteeism can quickly become an issue.

10. Get ready for work

Dressing for work is important. Whilst you may not expect them to be wearing a suit, they should be dressing appropriately. Again, it is a mindset thing. When your teams dress for work, they expect to be working. No pyjamas ever!

11. Tools to make communication easy

The human being is a social animal. Talking to others is something that keeps our minds active and our spirits up. As part of the process of maximising productivity for remote working teams, you need to ensure they have the tools they need for this.

  • Mobiles are great for short conversations and a bit of social media,  but not for long conversations or many video calls.
  • Make sure people have headsets, either for their mobiles, softphones or handsets.
  • If their laptop hasn’t got a webcam, they will need one.
  • Their direct dial number needs to reach them. People will become increasingly annoyed if they cannot reach the person they want and have to wait for calls to be returned.
  • Instant messaging (IM) is a great way for teams to communicate, whether its on Slack, Teams or something else.

We hope this proves useful for you. Maximising remote working productivity is vital during this pandemic, but most of this article is about things you need to do. However, if you are struggling with No.4 (a good IT support company), give us a call on 020 7227 9700 or email info@systemsit.net

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