Continuous improvement usually involves incremental changes to business processes, products or services and staff are used to change when incremental.
However, since the pandemic, businesses have gone through varying degrees of ‘breakthrough’ improvement, i.e., many changes happening simultaneously, and this has required more tolerance from the business and the staff.
Managing staff expectations when there is a lot of change occurring simultaneously is challenging albeit easier when staff are all under the same roof, i.e. in the office. Group communication can be spontaneous and straightforward. Staff questions answered immediately.
However, remote working dealing with a lot of change is more challenging and threatening business viability when workers are less productive. With this article, we look at remote collaborations and how they can emulate the office environment, so staff working remotely are more productive.
1. Remote Worker Location
Are your workers set up for remote working? Businesses face many remote working issues, including where their staff are working from, e.g. their home, or maybe a local coworking space!
Not every worker can work effectively at home. Rents and property prices in some areas have workers living in small abodes using every available space, so an ergonomic workstation is impossible.
If you’ve got even one worker spending hours each day working from a laptop on their lap, this is less than ideal.
There will be more micro-breaks to stretch from been hunched over the laptop, and the work output is sure to suffer.
Remote workers need the right setup with a workstation desk and chair to emulate their office setup. This is the starting point for greater productivity. If the home is unsuitable for work, then renting a co-share office is the next best outcome.
All remote workers need the right technology for work and collaboration. Starting with the hardware, i.e. laptop, or desktop and internet connectivity. Collaborating online requires secure high-speed internet access.
Security is as important for your remote workers accessing business systems as it is for your staff in the office.
Cybercrime is on the increase due to the vulnerabilities apparent with remote working environments.
Companies need to ensure their staff wherever they are located can only access networks and systems via secure gateways, firewalls, MFA, VPNs, etc. Hackers will find an unsecured device and use spyware, viruses, worms, ransomware, and many more malicious programs to access business data.
3. Collaboration Software
Remote workers can use software for live meetings. Zoom, GoToMeeting, JoinMe and so on are popular platforms for the out of office meeting.
Some systems also offer video conferencing and file sharing, data storage, and integration with other apps, e.g. Slack, Microsoft Teams. Now add more workflow management features, and you get systems like ProofHub, Basecamp and Google Drive.
Your business can monitor worker productivity via workflow systems which track every task within a process. For example, your salesperson will have many different workflows, including prospecting new business with strategic marketing campaigns and working prospective leads into actual sales.
Collaboration software empowers the business to track their workers’ tasks and activities wherever they may be located.
4. Business Processes
Every activity needs to be well-documented, stored and accessible for use. Pre-planning and post-meeting notes are now a prerequisite for higher productivity. For example, Zoom or videoconferencing meetings can be unproductive if they don’t follow a meeting agenda, and all the participants have access to post-meeting notes and tasks.
One major change since the pandemic is the requirement for greater discipline to documentation. Without it, bottlenecks can form and slow down business activity. Customers may have to wait longer for their orders, or fewer sales occur due to slower follow up.
5. Self Management
All remote workers need to be self-disciplined and self-managed. Companies need to educate and inform staff on how to better self manage their time and work.
Avoid distractions and stay committed for the entire workday. Where managers could once catch a worker’s eye, they see making personal calls during work time. They now rely on collaboration systems to monitor workers online time and productivity. Plus also trust the worker that they are focussed on their job during work hours.
Remote workers need to create a list of goals and tasks they will complete every workday. Plus SMART goals will motivate them to improve their own output, achieve their career aspirations, and collaborate on achieving team goals and overall company objectives.
Organizing a remote team’s productive collaboration is significantly different from managing staffers physically present in the office.
First, you need to make sure your staff have the workspace set up in their home or that they’re using a coworking facility. There are collaborate systems that make live meetings and workflow management straightforward.
Plus with the right knowledge and encouragement, your remote workers will be disciplined and focused on getting their work done, so there’s no drop in productivity.