Working from home has been a pretty big adjustment in all our lives during the pandemic, and it has come as a bit of a shock to the system for many of us. The usual hustle and bustle of the office has disappeared overnight and we have been left with nothing but the four walls of our homes for comfort. Which is fine to begin with, but the novelty soon wore off for most of us! The other thing about working from home is that there are so many distractions. From children running around, to the other-half also being confined to the same space, and of course the never-ending ‘to-do’ list of DIY jobs that always seems to get longer.
For these reasons alone, it is important that managers do everything in their power to make sure their team have the resources and equipment they need to be productive whilst working from home. It may be that you consider offering your staff the chance to work at coworking spaces once they start opening up again, to give them the best mixture of working from home and working from an office. Here are some of our top tips on how you can help keep your employees working productively during working hours.
Give Them The Right Tools
Hopefully you will have realised this early on when your team shifted to remote working, but they can’t crack on with their jobs if they are not given the right tools. This can range from anything including internet connectivity, laptops, and even software that allows for collaboration. It is essential that your employees have a reliable way of staying connected to their colleagues at all times.
Check In With Your Staff
There has been a great post going around social media during the past week that Steven Bartlett (who is the Co-Founder of social media marketing agency Social Chain). It is all about asking someone twice whether they are ok, particularly if you are speaking with them remotely. Around 78% of people will quickly answer the question ‘How are you?’ with ‘I’m fine’ just as an autopilot response. It is only when people are asked the question again that they might open up and be truthful.
Take the time to check in with your staff, see how they are doing and how they are coping with both their workload and the changes working from home has brought. It is a really fine balance between letting your staff get on with the tasks at hand, but keeping the communication open so if they are struggling they feel like they can talk to you.
Give Them Flexibility
The main benefit of working from home is that if you want to go for a walk on your lunch break, for example, that is perfectly acceptable. Most employees will probably be sticking to their normal 9am – 5pm schedule, for routine if nothing else. They might need a bit of extra wiggle room though to help boost their productivity. Rather than being strict with deadlines that need to be met, try to lose a little bit of control. As long as the work is completed on a certain day, does it matter whether they work 9-5 or 11-7, for example?
Keeping everyone connected during these tough times is really important in order to keep morale high in the team. Nurturing those working relationships is essential so that when the team are finally allowed back in the office, they will find it easier to pick up from where they left off. Of course not being in the same room does bring its challenges, but lots of businesses have been innovative during the pandemic. From weekly virtual pub quizzes, to virtual escape rooms and exercise challenges. Ask your team to think of some ideas they want to participate in, you never know what they may come up with!
For those businesses that are happy operating from home, you might want to consider having a virtual office in order to give your business a more professional outlook. At Venture Offices we provide a wide range of services to help support your business, from telephone answering to mail handling. For more information please give us a call on 01205 809222.