Great employers are always on the lookout for productivity hacks, and that holds true regardless of where their staff members are located. While their “office” might be different, remote workers thrive just like on-site ones when management provides tools, strategies, and inspiration to maximize success.
Eager to improve your remote operations?
Consider these seven productivity hacks that can spark noticeable results:
1. Make sharing easy.
Emailed documents can get buried in an inbox, or the sender forgets to attach, or another co-worker should have been copied, or a newer version exists, or … you get the picture. A central, online place to store and share files (such as Google Drive or Dropbox) ensures team members can gain access to what they need at any time from any location.
2. Communicate in real time.
Hold an immediate conversation rather than waiting for an email response by making an instant-messaging platform part of your team’s arsenal. Tools such as Slack or HipChat mimic the back-and-forth that would take place if someone dropped by a colleague’s cubicle.
3. Create a guide.
A comprehensive, easy-to-navigate manual detailing procedures and offering answers to common questions helps telecommuters get the information they need quickly (and without having to disturb someone else). Consider assembling a wiki, which allows revisions and ongoing input from staff.
4. Focus on performance.
Giving telecommuters the freedom to complete tasks when their energy level is best or when one’s home environment is most conducive can foster greater results than insisting on a 9-to-5 schedule. Likewise, managers concerned with results rather than with “catching” someone slacking free up their own time for more productive activities.
5. Boost morale.
When your remote staff seems sluggish, consider measures to pump up energy levels. Friendly competition to complete tasks faster or increase output incites engagement, especially if a small prize is involved. Or try a virtual lunch. Let telecommuters order pizza on your dime, and eat together via video chat or online hangout. Feeling connected to the company and fellow workers often triggers motivation.
6. End today thinking about tomorrow.
Encourage telecommuters to create a to-do list and share it with you. Such an action creates focus, and you’ll be able to offer input and confirm that priorities match. Where most people go wrong, however, is composing it at the start of worktime rather than at the end.
“How you prepare for your day the day before will have the biggest impact on your daily production,” says Mitzi Weinman, author of It’s About Time! Transforming Chaos into Calm, A to Z. “Because you just ‘lived’ your day, it’s still fresh in your head. If you wait and plan in the morning, there’s a better chance that distractions will end up preventing you to plan, and you’ll be in reactive mode throughout the day.”
7. Ask for a weekly report.
Finally, remember that accountability promotes productivity. A short summary of where things stand helps both employer and employee look at the big picture and stay aware of what is being accomplished. The recap also provides a wonderful chance for a manager to recognize achievement—something that spurs even greater effort.