When employees work from home it can be a worry that there will be a drop in productivity but that doesn’t have to be true. If you trust your employees and keep workload as it would be in the office, very little has to change. There are a few things you can do and advise your workforce to help them to be productive but also get the most out of working from home.
It’s important that employees working remotely still feel part of the team. Whether that’s a new client or piece of work which has been won, an update on an existing project or a new member of staff joining the team. Communication is key to ensuring employees don’t feel distant despite not being in the office.
Also, it is important that employees still feel part of the various pieces of work going on. Therefore sharing the documents are one thing, encouraging collaboration is also key. This could be done over Microsoft SharePoint where you are all encouraged to review and annotate a document in advance of a meeting. Having the ability and time to collaborate is important.
Embrace virtual meetings
Even though an employee isn’t in the office, doesn’t mean that they can’t still be a part of your meeting. Whether it is a large meeting or a simple one-to-one, don’t stop having meetings just because some members of staff aren’t available.
You can utilise Microsoft Teams for this benefit by making sure all meetings have a “join” option so that anyone can take part, virtually. Encouraging video calls are also important so that there is still a face-to-face interaction to help employees feel connected.
There may be connectivity issues or remote employees feeling difficult trying to take part in the call. Involve them. Even if it is a simple question “do you have anything you want to add”? It’s important that it doesn’t feel like a token involvement but a real collaboration.
Record your meetings
If an employee cannot make a meeting due to remote working, record it for them to watch when they can. Even if it is just the morning round-up, it’s important employees know what is going on throughout the wider business and are kept up to date with any announcement or upcoming pieces of work. Again, Microsoft Teams has the ability to do this. If you’d like support on utilising the software, ThinkShare can help.
The reason behind employees working from home will be complex. They may need to work different hours than traditional working hours or there may be childcare complications. That doesn’t mean the work won’t be done or that employees can’t feel part of the team.
If a project had a deadline, make that clear and check it is feasible. If you are clear with employees what is expected, they can then make a decision on when they will complete it. Be it during working hours or at 8pm at night once children are in bed.
Work with employees to make flexible working, work for them. Utilise Microsoft PowerAutomate to aid the working day. For example; employees could set up a flow to send themselves a text every time they get an email from a manager. This way they can still work flexibly but will be alerted when there is an important communication requiring attention.
Bring the team together and be mindful
Encourage conversations and updates over virtual communications channels like Microsoft Teams. Keeping connected with colleagues is as important to collaboration as to their wellbeing. So whether that is about last night’s Dragons Den episode or what they did on the weekend, there is value in social chit chat.
Ensure that you take the time to check in with remote workers. There can be a tendency to work longer without breaks or proper meals as one feels they need to prove their effectiveness despite working remotely. Ensure your workforce are not over doing it and taking time for their wellbeing, just as they would in the office.
In summary, remote working can be seen as a challenge for a business to manage however it doesn’t have to mean a drop in productivity. Utilise the Microsoft Products to ensure your employees remain productive, can still be collaborative, are still connected and stay healthy. If you’d like to hear more about the benefits of Microsoft Products or how we can help your organisation to utilise your current software, contact us today for a no obligation chat.