The pandemic hasn’t merely changed how people work in the short-term. For a lot of businesses, the current remote working setup is their vision for the future. They plan to keep this system – or something like it – in place long after people cease talking about COVID-19.
If that’s going to happen, though, how can employers ensure that staff spend their days wisely and don’t laze about? When you can’t monitor everyone, you can never be sure that people are actually doing the jobs you pay them for. That’s why these four tips are essential for maintaining productivity when they’re out of the office.
Set Consistent Goals
Whether working remotely or not, every employee should have set goals to meet. These might be monthly, weekly, or even daily, but they all serve the same purposes. Not only do they give people something to work towards and potentially exceed, but they also make it easier for you to track their progress.
With employees working out of the office, daily or weekly expectations are good to have to ensure that everyone is on track. These should be specifically tailored to each person to ensure that what’s demanded of them isn’t too much or too little compared to what they’re capable of.
Sit each staff member down and reach an agreement together about how much they should be doing. Given that 70% of respondents to a survey said they got more done at home during the first lockdown, you should expect employees to at least produce the same quantity of work as before.
Keep Communication Open
The office is more than just a formal setting for employees to work in. It’s also a space where people are free to communicate, either about what they’re doing or their personal lives.
While consistent chatter might be problematic in the workplace, it does have its place in promoting productivity. Humans are social creatures, after all.
That’s why it’s essential for businesses to maintain communication while working remotely, ideally through services like Zoom and Slack. Not only do these provide platforms for employees to engage with each other, but they also allow you to keep tabs on how things are going.
You should try to speak semi-regularly with all employees to see what they’re doing, how they’re progressing, and so on. If they claim to be doing a particular task, keep an eye on how long it takes to complete it. Should it take longer than anticipated, ask them why, especially if they didn’t bring up any issues prior. If this starts to become a pattern, you may have reason to doubt that the employee is being as productive as they’re expected to be.
Be Fair But Disciplinary
When an employee underperforms, punishment isn’t always the best course of action to take. After all, people have bad weeks sometimes.
If you’ve set goals that aren’t being met, speak with the individual in question to work out what the issue was. Provide support where you can and trust them if they say the problem was down to factors outside of them not working hard enough.
However, if they consistently underperform or always seem to have some excuse for why they’re not meeting a certain level, you may want to take action. Sometimes this can seem too harsh, but in cases where employees take the remote working situation for granted, it can give them the push they need.
You can always reach out to Robertson Solicitors, a solicitors in Cardiff, if you need help with this. Employment law is one of their key specialities, with HR consultation a service they provide to ensure that employers get the best out of their staff. These Cardiff solicitors could prove vital in maintaining productivity, especially if matters escalate to a tribunal.
Provide Any Essential Equipment
Technology isn’t perfect. It breaks or develops faults all the time, which can be a real headache when it stops someone from completing their work.
Unfortunately, you can’t do much to resolve such issues when staff work remotely. However, you can try and reduce problems from happening by providing people with essential equipment. For instance, you can give your employees computers or laptops to use from home, which are new and contain all the updated software they need. While these are still liable to faults, they shouldn’t encounter problems as frequently.
Likewise, it may also be beneficial to set up a cloud server so that staff always have access to what they need. That way, there’s no time wasted trying to track stuff down, and there’s a reduced risk of things getting lost too.
Obviously, some elements are harder to control, such as an employee’s internet connection. It’s possible you may be able to get them on a stronger network, with part of the cost covered by the business. However, issues like this tend to differ between cases.
You should always trust the people you hire, especially if you plan on making remote working permanent. However, even if you do trust them, it doesn’t hurt to have measures in place just to ensure that everyone does as they’re supposed to.