5 ways to improve productivity in the remote workplace

To office or not to office is the question.

The discussion in recent weeks has been vocal from both sides. What do we gain from remote working environments and what might we lose?

However, the facts are that many employees are still having to work from home, some of whom may have never had this experience before – at least not for 5 months straight.

Throw in having to navigate this totally new way of working with anxieties and concerns about an ongoing public health crisis, and there’s a high risk of staff feeling distracted, isolated, stressed and unmotivated.

So, what does the research say?

According to a Stanford study from a few years ago, those working from home when 500 employees were split into two groups showed increased productivity. They also had fewer sick days and took shorter breaks.

But this doesn’t mean all businesses have found the switch easy.

Based on research earlier this year from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 71 percent of organisations were struggling to adapt to remote work, highlighting productivity, communication and morale as the biggest challenges.

The bottom line is that remote working is on the rise, and this was the case well before the pandemic.

Whether your employees are working from their kitchen table, off an ironing board desk or in their garden, there’s no escaping the unique challenges presented by this flexibility – especially for the uninitiated.

To help businesses navigate this new world of pyjamas and cats on conference calls, FanFinders’ CEO Alec Dobbie has shared 5 top tips for improving productivity and morale:

1. Talk 

“On video (this is important), you need to use screen time with your colleagues to both share what you are doing and to show your face. We live in unprecedented times and it’s so important to keep the human in the work place.”

2. Listen

“Don’t just sit staring at Zoom whilst doing an email to a customer as your team talk to you. This is about getting your hands off the fecking keyboard, eyes on Zoom, all other windows hidden, listening. We are all guilty of trying to do too many things at once but multi-tasking in meetings kills the entire point of it and makes them less efficient.” 

3. Be silly

“Don’t try to run things like a 50s law firm. Engage with your colleagues, have a laugh and be a little daft, but don’t try to enforce “funny” times. Humour needs to be natural. (Having said that, if you turn up late to my ‘all hands’ meeting, you will be bought a daft hat for the next week).”

4. Encourage the small things

“We buy our staff Headspace accounts for meditation and Audible for audiobooks. These small gestures along with others can really help, way beyond any cost.”

5. Hire people who love what they do

“It’s simple, we make it a central part of our recruitment efforts to ensure those that join us aren’t just skilled but have a genuine passion for the role they’ll be doing. It’s easier to keep staff motivated and happy when they’re doing something they care about each day.”