“Are remote workers more productive?”
We’ve heard this question several times over the last year. Companies worldwide embraced remote work due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and most of them intend to continue offering remote work policies.
Let me give a straight answer to this question.
Yes, remote workers can be more productive in their jobs as they maintain a healthier work-life balance.
Funnily enough, the benefits of telecommuting are only seen now in hard times.
When it comes to remote work, some business owners are worried about different time zones to juggle, lack of face-to-face interaction, misplacing information, non trusting employees they can’t keep an eye on, and more.
These worries are all unfounded, though.
Remote work is more than a temporary make-do effort and pandemic solution (by the way, this work style was already on the rise long before the pandemic!). Remote work is, first and foremost, a way of life that brings several benefits to companies and employees.
It’s time to say goodbye to traditional office spaces.
As long as you know what strategies to apply to boost your team’s productivity and efficiency and lower turnover, you will get the most out of this flexible work approach.
Table of content:
- Why are remote teams more productive than traditional teams?
- 10 intelligent ways to boost remote employee productivity
1. Why are remote teams more productive than traditional teams?
According to a Prodoscore, productivity has increased by 47% in March and April 2020 compared to March and April 2019.
Let me share some valid reasons why remote employees are happier and more productive (meaning they won’t slack and do everything else but work – just as some business owners may believe).
- No commute
Most employees take between half an hour and one hour to drive to work. Traffic jams are the scourge of drivers everywhere. Traffic congestion and noise pollution cause stress, irritability, and rage (I’m sure you know what I am talking about!). Avoiding long driving hours has a positive mental health effect. As a result, work productivity increases.
- More workouts
Saving time on commuting means having extra time to exercise. Finding time to work out when you’re crazy-busy is not an easy task. Regular workouts are an excellent stress reliever. They boost mental health, improve focus at work, and increase productivity. I can’t stress this enough: your business will operate at peak efficiency only if your employees can stay focused and deeply engaged at their jobs. According to Medium, regular exercise boosts productivity, improves concentration, enhances creativity, helps people learn faster and much more.
- Less water cooler chat
There is no doubt that remote work reduces casual discussions about non-work-related topics. I am not saying that water cooler talk has no benefits at work. However, office chit-chat and impromptu discussions can also have several drawbacks. Bantering and joking with colleagues around the water cooler can be a time suck. Sometimes, chit-chat is even awkward and inauthentic (“How was your weekend?“, “This weather is crazy, huh?”- for some people, small talk is just meaningless talk).
- Healthy work-life balance
Every employee has personal responsibilities to attend to and deadlines to meet. Workers’ productivity increases when they manage to juggle work and life successfully. Telecommuting allows people to work to live and not live to work (because they have more time to handle personal responsibilities).
- More flexibility
Millennials are reshaping the workplace culture. What millennials want from work is flexibility. As I mentioned previously, traditional offices are dying out. Some people may believe that the pandemic killed the conventional workplace, but it has only accelerated existing trends. The modern workforce is more likely to abandon the 9-to-5 workday.
However, as a business owner, you should constantly apply intelligent strategies to motivate employees and maximise their productivity (hopefully, the tips and tricks listed in this post will be an excellent source of inspiration!).
“But you’ve just said that working from home already makes employees more productive! Why do I need to apply additional strategies to motivate them?”
Because even though remote work creates a positive and inclusive work environment for them, it is your responsibility to keep them on track and foster their motivation.
Modern technology provides business owners with all the necessary tools to implement remote work successfully. For example, a top-notch virtual office offers the same benefits as a brick-and-mortar office, but in “digital form” and at a fraction of the cost.
Thus, you can efficiently operate remotely and yet have a professional business presence and create a positive work environment for your team. Nevertheless, it would help if you learned how to maintain employee performance, engagement, and productivity.
2. 10 intelligent ways to boost remote employee productivity
- Running one-to-one meetings
One-to-one virtual meetings are an excellent way to build trust and get feedback from employees. As a business owner, you may be crazy busy. However, it would help if you did not underestimate the power of regular one-to-one meetings. During one-on-ones, you can ask your employees if there is anything you can do to make them happier and more productive. Workplace transparency is proven to build long-lasting success.
- Using the best communication tools
Appropriate communication tools are essential when working remotely. Poor communication management can quickly choke a remote team’s growth. The good news is that you don’t need tons of expensive and complex tools to manage your team. My advice is to get a few essential communication tools for file sharing, video conferencing, and project management (outside of the tools you may need for specific tasks, according to your industry).
- Respecting time zones
One of the most significant advantages of a virtual office is that it allows you to create a distributed team and access the global talent pool. But do not ignore etiquette rules for working across time zones. You can use tools to figure out time zones and adjust the meeting time for all team members. Employees are less likely to be productive at 4 am.
Incentives are one of the most common ways to increase workplace productivity. You can encourage your employees with bonuses, annual raises, digital rewards (e.g., digital gift cards), professional development opportunities (e.g., online courses), and more. You can also provide them with home service perks (e.g., using remote food delivery services to get them lunch) or health benefits (e.g., gym membership, yoga classes, etc.).
- Conducting team-building activities
Fun and light-hearted virtual team building activities increase collaboration and efficiency, improve creativity and overall communication, build bonds, reveal hidden talents, break down silos, and much more. You can host a virtual coffee break or organise various activities (by the way, virtual coffee breaks can be more fun and creative than traditional water cooler chats!). Icebreaker questions, personality tests, movie nights, virtual city tours, trivia games – all of them will bring your remote team together and help members achieve deeper bonds.
- Showing leadership
A good friend of mine used to say: “A fish rots from the head down.” When companies have poor communication and low levels of employee productivity, it is the leadership that is the root cause. Leading and managing remote teams requires new competencies and skills. Modern leadership means building trust and compassion through frequent communication, fostering and maintaining a healthy work culture, and dealing with uncertainties.
- Avoiding time-tracking tools
Many business owners believe that time tracking tools increase employee productivity. However, I’m afraid I have to disagree with this idea. First, implementing a time-tracking tool will make employees feel like you don’t trust them. Secondly, you should measure results and not hours worked. To maximise productivity, you should earn employee’s trust rather than keep track of time worked.
- Showing flexibility and adaptability
As I mentioned previously, even though remote work provides support for productivity, business owners are responsible for keeping employees on track and maintaining their motivation. Working with a flexible schedule makes employees happier and more efficient. Do they need to “leave” early on a Friday and finish work on Saturday? (assuming that they have no deadline). Saying “yes” to these requests will only make them more productive and efficient.
- Building a positive company culture
Building a positive remote company culture may seem daunting initially, but it is not as difficult as it sounds. You can rely on modern communication tools to share company values, avoid isolation, foster mutual trust, connect co-workers’ experiences, and encourage transparency. Communicate and uphold your mission during virtual meetings and remind your team that their work is valued and appreciated
- Implement S.M.A.R.T goals
This strategy may sound like a cliché but for remote employees, setting clear goals with specific metrics is even more important than for traditional teams. S.M.A.R.T. stands for specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, and time-related. S.M.A.R.T. goals help remote teams have a long-term vision. Remember that remote teams are more focused on individual work. As a result, they need to have clear long-term goals to overcome isolation and feel they are part of a community working towards a common goal.
Finally, I have one last piece of advice for you. Seek people with strong leadership and organisation skills to integrate into your team.
Remote work is not for everyone. This work style is more suitable for independent workers who don’t need much supervision (just like an entrepreneur).
Thus, even if you find the finest talent in the world, make sure they have the necessary skills to work remotely in an efficient manner.
If you believe that implementing remote work with a virtual office can take your business to the next level, do not hesitate to contact us. Or, if you’re already working remotely with no office space, we would be more than happy to provide you with the necessary tools to create a positive and professional work environment.