Tips for keeping productivity and culture alive for remote working teams
As we continue to explore the adoption of remote working, we spoke to our Chief People Officer, Gail Wilkinson, about something very important to her; keeping culture and productivity alive in the remote workplace.
What can managers do to ensure remote teams are maintaining productivity?
With managers not being able to meet employees in person on a daily basis, they need to ensure that they are keeping in constant contact.
This can be in the form of daily huddles and holding team meetings on a much more regular basis via video calls.
I think the social side of things is important too.
“When we are all in the office together, we are able to be a lot more sociable. Whether that’s gathering for a coffee, going out to grab lunch, or just chatting as you pass in corridors. That just doesn’t exist when you are remote working. Therefore, you must put some time aside for general catch ups and do that on your one to ones as well, ensuring there is a balance between personal and professional communication.”
When you are in the office with an employee and you know them well, you can pick up on signs that tell you if they’re having a good or bad day. When you are remote, you may just have 20 minutes of conversation with someone in the day and may not pick up on any negative signs and therefore productivity could be lost, and general wellness could suffer.
I also think if something is raised you must react quickly and not let it fester. You must ensure that employees know that if they’ve got a problem, they know who to raise it with and how to escalate it, so it’s dealt with and resolved quickly.
Have you noticed any new trends to manage productivity of remote workers?
One of the other things I have seen is the growing use of data insights and remote monitoring tools to ensure that employees remain productive and that they are giving their best. It’s also important to keep an eye on the hour’s employees are working to ensure they are not doing too much, which could impact on their mental wellbeing in a negative way.
What more could be done to help remote workers who may be struggling to adapt?
Businesses need to look at investing in further education and learning. And look at the competencies required to make remote and flexible working successful.
And now that collaboration is becoming more digitalised, the use of the right technology to enable productivity needs is also an important factor.
Above all, the mental and physical health of employees is paramount. Some employees are working longer or more irregular hours and many are combining work with home-schooling and caring responsibilities, which can impact on a poor work-life balance. Employers need to ensure that mental health issues are not ignored.
Where businesses see reduced motivation, signs of anxiety and feelings of isolation, they need to act to safeguard the wellbeing of employees to ensure that there are no long-lasting issues. Many employers to do not feel comfortable talking about mental health issues, but employers should support employees to ensure that they have an effective work-life balance and address any concerns.
“The phrase ‘it’s good to talk’ has never been more relevant and needed than now.”
What can businesses do from an executive level to ensure employees are working productively?
Businesses have got to find a way to listen to employees, surveys are a good example of how you can do this effectively. You can get survey fatigue, but if used correctly and the surveys are short enough you can gather employee opinion on some topics that can then help you formulate policy and procedure and ensure your employees are being listened to. This has proved invaluable for us and is something we will continue to do.
I also think employees have got to see their leaders in the organisation. Leaders can’t hide themselves away. And not just the CEO, the whole of the Executive team has got to be involved in keeping people up to speed.
“Business leaders can ’t afford to be invisible during these times, there has to be visibility and voice. That’s where I would say we have done well, and the collaboration has continued to improve due to these activities.”
We shouldn’t forget we are in times that none of us have seen before and this enduring working from home can have a positive and negative impact on people.