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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Maintaining Productivity and Company Culture in a Newly Remote Workplace

Remote work has long been heralded as one of the greatest perks that an employer can offer their staff. The ability to work from any location, avoid a commute, and maintain flexible hours can all be beneficial.

However, remote work also has its downsides. It can be particularly difficult to maintain communication, community, and productivity. Employees can atrophy if left on their own for too long, as well.

If your company has found itself joining in the unplanned, coronavirus-induced rush to a 100% remote workspace, you might be wondering how to preserve your company’s culture let alone maintain steady productivity. Fortunately, it’s quite possible to do both, even with a staff that has been scattered to the four winds.

Delegate and Empower

One of the first rules of maintaining an efficient remote workforce is enabling a culture of delegation and empowerment. This starts by clearly defining the responsibilities and expectations of each individual so that everyone knows what is expected of them. When employees understand what they’re supposed to do, it can shift responsibilities onto them in a healthy manner that encourages autonomy and individual effort.

Maintain Consistent Communication

The ability to communicate is clearly important for a remote workspace, but the benefits of consistent communication go beyond that. Properly staying in touch with your staff is one of the building blocks of successful group dynamics. It ensures that everyone is on the same page, encourages healthy and fluid collaboration, and can go a long way in maintaining your company culture, even in a virtual workspace.

Check-In, But Don’t Micromanage

Don’t be afraid to check in with your staff regularly. It’s wise to set a precedent with your employees of regular contact with the boss in order to ensure that you stay up to date on your employees’ workload, productivity, and any needs that may arise.

At the same time, it’s important to avoid using these “check-ins” to micromanage an employee’s work. Balancing consistent communication and employee autonomy are essential ingredients for a happy, productive remote workforce.

Make Productivity Recommendations

While you should try to avoid the need to single out an employee, making group productivity recommendations can certainly help to increase the output in a remote work situation. The key is to look for generic productivity recommendations that translate to a huge variety of work-from-home situations.

For instance, stand-up meetings are a great productivity measure that can encourage your employees to leave their desk chairs, get up off of the couch, or even climb out of bed for a few minutes. You can encourage everyone to stand up during a video chat meeting and then dismiss them to return to the comfort of their home offices.

Be Sensitive to Generational Differences

The modern office is juggling as many as five generations at a time as the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, and Gen Zers all rub shoulders in the same space.

While a remote work scenario may put space between these coworkers, it’s still important for management to recognize the different cultures, habits, and expectations interacting in your virtual workspace. Adopting a sensitive attitude towards the cultural differences of your workforce, even from afar, is an excellent way to maintain a positive, healthy company culture.

Measure Success

While empowerment, delegation, and autonomy are all part of the remote work experience, that doesn’t mean you have to surrender productivity to the whims of your workforce.

One of the key elements to maintaining your staff’s forward momentum in a remote situation is to set up clear ways to measure success. Rather than insisting that your employees simply “clock in” and put in the man-hours, look for ways to quantify the results of their labor.

For instance, setting up goals, objectives, and key performance indicators (KPIs) for both your team and individuals is an easy way to keep them accountable and productive without the need to micromanage them. This enables you to provide praise for a job well done and constructive feedback if they fail to meet the level of productivity expected, all of which can be based on cold, hard facts rather than emotion.

Always Be Adapting

Finally, remember to always be ready to adjust your remote work setup when necessary.

The ability to tailor expectations, shift processes, and adapt to you and your staff’s remote work needs are all important aspects to strong remote work leadership.

Remotely Cultivating Productivity and Company Culture

From empowering employees to maintaining communication, being sensitive to the needs of your staff, and establishing benchmarks for success, there are many ways to boost productivity in a remote workspace.

In addition, many of these efforts can serve to help cultivate your company culture, even when everyone is working remotely. Company culture has a critical impact on employee morale, and it should also be prioritized right along with other important metrics such as productivity and efficiency.

When focused on together, productivity and company culture can be easily and effectively maintained, even from within the confines of a remote work environment.

About the Author: Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college he is trying his hand at being a freelance writer. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics but technology and business topics are his favorite. When he isn't writing you can find him traveling, hiking, or gaming.

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