As governments around the world introduce new measures and restrictions to slow down the spread of COVID-19, working from home is quickly becoming the new reality for a large number of Canadian and US-based employees that are able to do so.
The latest government advice is to practice social distancing. That means limiting the number of people that we come into contact with, keeping a safe distance (6 feet) away from those that we do and avoiding non-essential trips outside our homes.
As a result, non-essential businesses, and many organizations are closing their offices and asking employees to work from home to help limit the spread of the virus.
As a large organization that makes use of the contingent workforce, you’ll be aware of just how many benefits your business can realize from remote workers. Did you know, however, that allowing your permanent employees to work from home can also bring you a number of advantages?
In fact, according to research from Owl Labs, companies that allow remote work have 25 percent lower employee turnover than those which don’t, while people who work remotely at least once a month are 24 percent more likely to be happy and productive.
The benefits that your business will realize from allowing permanent employees to work from home include:
- Increased productivity
- Increased employee happiness and satisfaction.
- You can cut down on meetings that waste time and use video conferencing for the important meetings.
- Improved employee loyalty.
However, this doesn't mean things will be easy for all employees. There are so many distractions in our homes that it can become so easy to fall into the trap of becoming unproductive.
To make sure your employees have exactly what they need to stay productive and efficient while working from home, HCMWorks has created a list of five tips that will ensure your business is successful when working remotely:
1 - Encourage employees to develop a routine
It’s all too easy for employees who are working from home to just roll out of bed five minutes before their morning conference call. To foster productivity and get your team off to a positive start each day, you should encourage all workers to establish a routine.
Some simple best practices such as setting an alarm an hour before you start work, having a consistent morning routine and getting dressed as if you’re going into the office will all help to ensure your team members are productive and efficient when working remotely.
2 - Make sure your employees are clocking off
Routine is also incredibly important when it comes to ensuring that your remote workers are maintaining a work-life balance. While many people assume that work-from-home means they can sit in the sun, put their laptop down when they fancy a break and have all afternoon to pursue their hobbies.
This isn’t the case at all. In fact, research has shown that most remote workers struggle with a work-life balance because they find it difficult to switch off their desktop or not look at their phone. To counteract this and prevent burnout, encourage your employees to clock-in and clock-out each day so that they set normal office hours even when working from home. This will help your team to distinguish between work and home mode.
3 - Use innovative tools to keep your team connected
When working from home it’s easy for your employees to feel isolated from their team and cut off from the goals that your company is trying to achieve. Using communications tools to stay in constant contact is a vital part of keeping your team motivated and ensuring they are working towards the same objectives.
Using video conferencing and communication technologies, think Zoom and Slack, will keep your employees in constant communication with each other. Not only will this help to ensure they stay productive, but it will also help build up team morale in a time where social distancing and self-isolation is essential.
4 - Encourage employees to take regular breaks
In the office, an employee’s day is broken up by meetings, chats in the kitchen while making a coffee, lunch break and conversations at a peers desk. These short breaks simply don’t exist when an employee works from their home desk.
That’s why it’s important that your business encourages its permanent employees to take regular breaks and work in short bursts. This could include anything from making a hot drink, taking the dog out for a walk every couple of hours or going outside for 10 minutes to soak up some sun.
5 - Recommend that your employees should work in short sprints
It can be challenging to work for long, unbroken periods of time without any face-to-face interaction. In facts, this often takes its toll on how productive an employee is and the quality of work that they are producing.
Instead, encourage your team members to work in short sprints. Working in 50-minute chunks with a short 10-minute break in between can significantly enhance how productive your employees are.
Working from home is incredibly important to slow down the spread of COVID-19, but it’s also vital that your business remains operational at the same time. If you would like further advice on how to get the best out of your employees while they work from home, please contact the HCMWorks’ team of workforce experts today.