Productivity in a pandemic – while it might sound like an oxymoron, the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. Many companies have found their teams have remained just as productive (or even increased their productivity) during lockdowns.
But this is not to say that extended periods of remote working doesn’t take its toll. If you feel your team could use a little extra support maintaining their productivity, here are a few things you could consider.
1. Continued Flexible Working Conditions
While a large sector of the Australian IT industry is used to working remotely, the pandemic has given the rest a taste of it as well. And it appears employees want it to continue post-pandemic, with many now enjoying a greater work-life balance, along with huge reductions in commute time.
How do your team feel about continued remote working conditions? If you’re not sure, it’s well worth ascertaining what type of flexibility they’re after. Being open to tweak working arrangements to match these wishes is a key way to keep employees engaged, happy, and willing to do their best.
2. Human Connection (In Remote Times, Video Is The Best Way)
One of the trickiest parts of remote working is keeping up that human connection, which is essential for team cohesiveness and productivity. That’s why video calls are so important.
Recent statistics from Microsoft’s Work Trend Index clearly support this desire for human connection in a virtual working environment. The report found the number of people turning on their video cameras in Microsoft Teams meetings doubled after lockdowns were imposed. In New Zealand, people used their video cameras close to 60% of the time.
If you’ve got a few team members that aren’t keen to turn on their cameras, encouraging them to do so is a great way to foster that sense of connection with colleagues. Should they be reluctant, it might be worth digging a little deeper to uncover the reason why. It may be something you can easily address.
Video calls needn’t be limited to work meetings either. They’re just as important (if not more) for informal social work gatherings, be it an online after work Friday drinks or team lunch.
3. A Sense Of Security
In these uncertain times, it’s natural for employees’ thoughts to drift to their job security. Anything you can do to allay these concerns will help them move into a positive mindset and focus on their job, rather than external pressures.
There are a host of ways to do this, but the most important is being honest about how the business is tracking (and using the right communication methods to do so). This transparency breeds employee confidence, as does being open to hearing their concerns or grievances without fear of reprisal.
4. Opportunities For Professional Growth
Nothing gives employees a boost of excitement (and secures engagement) than a fresh opportunity at work, be it the chance to sit their teeth into new coding language, or being given the reins to take the lead on the next project.
Another avenue that might get them firing is the ability to be a problem-solver for the team or company at large. Ask them what’s broken that they think they can fix, then give them space and time to work on possible solutions and trial runs.
You may also like to consider bringing in mentors for the team, or invest in further training. These are all ways to show you care for their professional growth, and value them as employees.
5. Recognition – No Matter How Small
Being recognised for work well done is one of the easiest ways to make an employee happier, whether that’s individually or on a team level. Acknowledging even the smallest of milestones is a fantastic way to boost morale.
Recognition needn’t always be work related either. Be mindful of celebrating personal events too such as birthdays, engagements etc.
6. Encouraging Employees To Take Leave
In the best of times, everyone needs a break from work – a good stretch of days where they can switch off and reboot. But in pandemic times, this is essential.
Encourage your employees to take their holiday leave, even if it’s just an extended weekend.
It’s also a good move to keep a close eye on your team to ensure they’re taking regular breaks throughout the work day, as well as not logging on after hours when they should be relaxing. These measures will help them avoid burnout, keeping them refreshed and ready to be their productive best when at work.
While working remotely certainly has its challenges, declining employee productivity doesn’t have to be one of them. This is especially true if you’re open to testing out different methods to find your employees’ sweet spot – that place where they feel engaged enough to do their best work.
If you’d like some extra support in this area, please let us know. Our experienced team of recruitment consultants have stores of knowledge in understanding employees, and what they need to produce their very best.