Whether you’ve worked at home for years or your business has recently made the transition, now is the time to commit to certain practices that will ensure your team stays productive and connected while working remotely.
The golden rule is balance; having time for work and yourself while maintaining a strong sense of connectedness is vital. Encouraging employees to take care of themselves first and establishing down-time is as important for productivity as setting goals and tracking progress. People should focus on building trust with one another, collaborating effectively, and maintaining team-wide support during adverse times.
How do you achieve balance? Our professional recommendations below range from ergonomics to setting work-life boundaries.
Nourish a sense of community
It’s essential to not only create but to commit to certain behaviours regularly. These can be agile practices for productivity, like scrums and debriefs or for culture building.
The simplest and arguably the most vital agile practice is the regular one on one meeting between managers and employees. Protect these at all costs because they are critical for connecting, building trust, clearing bottlenecks, and maintaining progress on key initiatives, especially when you don’t see your co-workers in-person every day.
Team meetings are essential and a time to talk about wins, progress, and improvements, as well as build connections between members. They normalize the discussion of obstacles, problems, and challenges with a team leader. Opening the floor for questions ensures that all voices are heard and that any important issues are being discussed.
Here are a few tips for maintaining connection while working remotely:
1) Use video and phones often so that you can see and hear people.
2) Use gallery view on video calls so you can see different people on a larger team, and insist people use the video function where possible.
3) Start meetings with a few moments of social connection while abiding to clear agendas.
4) Only set necessary meetings to avoid Zoom Fatigue. Too many remote meetings can cause productivity to plummet (much like in a standard office setting).
One way to prevent or repair misunderstandings is to check-in at the beginning of a meeting because when we know what’s going on in the worlds of others, we can operate with more compassion. Leaders can go first to share where they are struggling to model authenticity.
Self-care, Balance, and Productivity
Communicating with others is not just about staying connected; it can drive productivity. Productivity is also heavily influenced by how your body is feeling throughout the day, especially when working from home. It’s essential to ensure that you are as physically comfortable as possible and intentional about setting boundaries. These two factors can increase stamina and energy throughout your day.
Here are our tips to stay productive by caring for yourself:
1) Optimize for ergonomics at your home office, because you may no longer have access to a supportive chair and/or standing desk.
2) Remember to get on your feet and move around regularly.
3) Set your laptop and camera height so that you are not hunched over.
4) Consider lighting and include as much natural light as possible.
5) Designate work-only space (i.e. leave work-only items there).
6) Set work-only time and boundaries with others in the home (partners, roommates, and children)
Be willing to protect your own time. It can be tempting always to be available, but interruptions like in-app notifications are the not-so-silent productivity killer. Set boundaries, including device-free time, so you can do intense work.
Finally, be willing to surrender productivity at times for the team to stay connected. It only makes sense if remote team coffees, meals, happy hours, games, or even pet meet and greets are a good idea for keeping people connected and ultimately more productive.