Okay, so we’ve all got the remote work thing down now. We’re on Zoom, using Slack and things are chugging along as best as can be expected…
The truth is, while you may be up and running virtually, now’s a great time to fine-tune things and ensure that you’re maximizing productivity. After all, everyone’s worked through those initial hiccups and has their own groove going by now.
As some offices prepare to return to some semblance of “office work” in the next few weeks and months, and many more workers continue to work from home, smoothing out the wrinkles and maximizing output will help you charge through this time and come out on top.
Here are 6 simple ways to identify areas of opportunity or elements that may be holding you back, along with tips to overcome those challenges for more efficient remote work:
This one is super simple, yet so many businesses forget (or simply don’t bother) to ask their team for input!
From processes to technology, ask your team members for candid input on your remote work setup. If possible, consider creating a simple survey using Google Forms so that the feedback can be submitted anonymously. This way, you’ll ensure you get totally honest feedback.
Alternatively, you or a member of your leadership team can schedule one-on-one calls to have open conversations with your team. While this option does not allow your team to speak anonymously, it does show a concerted interest in the part of leadership to listen, which will not only afford you the opportunity to gather feedback, it may also help your retention rate. So many teams are burned out right now. Simply letting your team know that you want to listen can go a long way!
Asking for feedback can provide some very helpful input in areas you may not even have considered. But sometimes recollection falters. Individuals remember some things, but may not remember the “nitty-gritty” details of what’s working and what’s not.
Thankfully, today’s technology can provide us with some pretty robust information about usage and performance. One way to assess what’s working and what’s not is to look closely at user adoption.
Depending on how your organization was structured pre-quarantine, you may have scrambled to subscribe to the hottest virtual work tools to give your team what they need to do their jobs. But those tools may not have actually been needed. Or perhaps they actually impeded some people’s ability to get work done rather than helped. Still yet, maybe the tools would have been helpful, but people simply didn’t use them.
To know exactly what tools are being used, how often/long and by whom, take advantage of all the reporting tools available on your remote platforms. In particular, you may want to check out login frequency and duration on some of the tools you’ve adopted.
Once you are armed with your data, you may want to send a survey as a follow up to your team, asking pointed questions. Something like, “We noticed that only 15% of our team uses Slack to communicate with colleagues each day. What do you like about the tool?” You could offer multiple-choice options or make the question open-ended. Working together, you can gather even more insight to help you make better business decisions.
You may have rushed to find the “best” tools for remote work in a hurry when this pandemic seemed to spring upon us. But now that you’re a few months into it, some of those tools may have redundant capabilities. And in fact, those redundancies may be impacting user adoption (as noted above).
Pull reports, look at data, speak to employees. And look for tools (or even additional steps in your processes) that hinder productivity rather than help it. If your team has to constantly log in and out of multiple tools when one platform could handle all those functions, it may be time to cut out one or more of those tools.
This is a great time to put data to work for you!
Look, there are some employees for whom rigid structure just won’t work out right now (we’re looking at you, Working Parents Who Are Also Homeschooling Right Now, and we salute you!). In the beginning, you may have found that letting your teamwork on their own schedules helped them adjust to working from home.
But now, a more structured approach may help with productivity, and may also simply help you feel more like a cohesive team. It’s important to carefully work toward this point if, until now, your team has been expected simply to “get their work done” on whatever schedule.
And of course, you may still need to be forgiving for those employees who are also homeschooling their kids or serving as caretakers for loved ones.
Similar to the structure point above, you may have given a free pass to some issues that cropped up in the earliest days of your remote transition. After all, your team was struggling to find a “new normal” amidst a situation of total chaos! But again, now that the dust has settled, it may be time to increase accountability to ensure everyone is contributing to their best capabilities.
Holding a team Zoom meeting at the same time every week, asking for reports at the same time and asking the team to be available on Slack or another chat platform during certain hours can all help put some sort of structure and accountability back into the workday.
Most importantly (!!), don’t forget to communicate these and any changes you implement to your team. Whenever possible, as mentioned in the first point, involve them in this process. Chances are, your team would love a little more structure to their days. Or perhaps some of your team is frustrated that others haven’t stepped up their accountability in the last few weeks.
Having honest conversations (or at least sending honest communications via email, etcetera) with your team will ensure that they feel connected and important throughout this and any transition that you go through in the ensuing weeks and months.
Putting communication and people first will always improve productivity and retention (and will absolutely have an impact on recruiting!).
Our platform was built specifically for recruiters, but recruiting experts. We listen to our clients and are constantly updating our platforms to meet the changing needs of recruiters and talent. Now’s the perfect time to take BrightMove for a spin and see how it can help your recruiters operate more efficiently and effectively. Reach out to us to schedule a demo and learn more.
About the Author, Jimmy Hurff
Jimmy is a seasoned technology executive & entrepreneur noted for leading business transformations. Over his 25+ year career, Jimmy has developed multi-platform expertise in the domains of engineering, data analytics, security, compliance & business transformation. Starting in 1995, Jimmy worked with his best friend, David Webb, to develop one of the world's first Internet job board and resume bank applications. From then to now, Jimmy has been consistently helping his customers to build great teams, using best practices and world-class technology.