Before the coronavirus wreaked havoc, many corporate leaders viewed remote work as a temporary arrangement. Even though work-from-home has become more popular thanks to the ever-growing number of freelancers, many still thought that it cannot work for corporate offices, especially for those with more than fifty or a hundred employees.
The assumption is that employees will be less productive at home, but it has been proven wrong this year by employers themselves.
Remote Workers Are Just as Productive as Office Workers
A recent study by HR consulting firm, Mercer revealed that productivity has been mostly unchanged by remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company surveyed 800 employers who said that after solving issues like employees lacking appropriate equipment at home, operations have been the same as usual. Some even noted increases in employee productivity. Finally, 83% of the respondents said they will continue to offer flexible work arrangements even when the pandemic is over.
No doubt many factors contributed to the responding companies’ success in keeping business running. We can safely assume, however, that credit must go to the managers and supervisors for ensuring that their teams stay productive while in quarantine.
How did these managers do it? Here are a few pointers from corporate leaders that managers can adopt as part of their people and project management practices.
- Allow employees to work flexible hours.
Many employers assume that their employees are living the life while working from home. They are wrong. Remote workers may no longer have to contend with traffic, long commutes, or workplace distractions, but now they have to work around pets, children, house chores, and slow home Internet service.
Under these circumstances, it would be very difficult for employees to stay seated before their laptops or desktop computers and work straight from nine to five. It would be better to give them the flexibility to work when they can be most productive within the day.
Employers in the Mercer report gave similar advice. Giving employees flexible work hours helped them work around the distractions at home. It kept not only productivity rates high but also employee satisfaction.
When employees see that their employers support them during difficult times, their respect and loyalty for the company will increase. They will also be encouraged to keep giving their 100% at work and help their teams reach their targets.
- Encourage work-life integration.
Digital media expert and president of Goodway Group, Jay Friedman recommended that instead of work-life balance, which promotes separation of work and leisure time, managers should encourage their teams to practice work-life integration. This aligns with the previous section on work flexibility and letting employees work at different times of the day instead of the fixed, regular work hours.
Some employees will try to keep their work-from-home routine as similar to their office schedule as possible, and they should be allowed to. If, however, they find this difficult to do, managers can help employees establish new work routines that also take into account their daily responsibilities at home. These schedules should also allot “personal time” so that employees can still achieve a balance between work and time for family.
- Discourage non-paid overtime work.
Work-from-home employees are working an average of three more hours per day, according to the findings of NordVPN. This suggests that employees need to work longer hours to meet their daily deliverables. This can eventually be a problem because working unnecessarily long hours can cause burnout.
Managers, therefore, should encourage team members to finish their work within their allotted time. If they can’t convert the extra hours they worked for OT pay, that’s a sign that they should not bother with it anymore.
These are just some of the ways that managers can keep their team members involved, engaged, and productive while in quarantine. It’s not easy, but it is achievable. You can start with the three tips in this article.
If you like what you’ve read here, please let others know of this post, blog, and site.
And thanks for reading! 🙂