The struggles of driving productivity during work from home (WFH) seem to make a comeback, as people have yet again started experiencing fatigue and monotony as they continue operating from home.
Most of the past year went by addressing and setting up ground rules for ‘employee productivity’ and what an employee should do in order to stay productive (hacks such as dressing up for work, dedicated workstation, regular exercises, eating well, enough sleep etc. being advised and encouraged). However, how an employer should aid in safeguarding its top talent from the fatigue and help enhance workforce productivity is the real game changer in attracting, retaining and engaging the right talent and also in maintaining a competitive edge.
The need of the hour is to tweak our approach with changing times and offer tailor-made solutions that are sustainable.
Here’s the five attainable tips to enhance employee’s productivity amid WFH.
Communicate, communicate and communicate
The sole mantra as we continue to move ahead in a hybrid/remote workspace is to communicate often, as none of us is trained in first place to communicate virtually as a continued practice for months. As they say, communication works for those who work at it, hence setting up recurring inter-team, intra-team catch ups, pre-scheduled connections with cross-functional team members to chat beyond work aids in increasing collaboration and connections at work. Even a monthly proactive top-down communication on clarity in business goals and its outcomes, what’s working and what’s not, increases employee-employer bond and enhances engagement.
Offer tailor made services
Human Resources (HR), as a department, has witnessed a paradigm shift in its approach to tackle tasks and projects ever since the early days of the pandemic. Whether it’s a change in medical insurance policy or offering a tailor-made learning and development (L&D) initiative, all seem to be ways of not just increasing productivity but also amounts to an enhanced employee experience.
Similarly, every role is different and needs adequate resources to be successful at work, hence the need to provide the right, customised tools and equipment. Ensuring we introduce work from home setup installations as a benefit for those who need and also offering benefits as an “open door leave policy” where employees can avail leaves beyond the ideal designated annual leave quota.
Amongst others, introducing concepts as weekly “my time off” where employees log off for an hour or two and invest that time on something that they rarely find time for- like reading, writing or investing in the hobby of their choice or simply plugging in for some music and bouncing back to work later.
Define every business goal with its impact and timeframe
When our business goals are clearly defined, every employee knows what is expected out of them and in what time frame. Adoption of SMART goals, goals that are challenging but attainable, gives motivation and enhances employee’s productivity as the path to be successful at a job is defined clearly. This helps employee’s contribution towards organisational growth and increases engagement level.
Monitoring the progress of a goal while working from home will entail frequent manager catch-ups and real time aid in resolving issues early on. Further, breaking up the goal into smaller goals and introducing concepts as “sweet victories” for team members who meet the deadline for every smaller goal will keep the momentum going for the employee.
One of the greatest ways of participating in organisational success and by also parallelly upskilling is the concept of ‘executive swap’ or ‘role swap’ or ‘job rotation’ designed for a specified period. This gives opportunities to learn cross functionally and perform at a job beyond the boundaries of the assigned job role. This, in turn, acts as an accelerator and brings employees closer to their career progression, the ripple effect being increased engagement, productivity and collaboration. For a more successful outcome, parameters such as eligibility, timeframe, etc. should be well defined.
Basic training first
Training employees in advance to tackle and troubleshoot IT related issues at home will aid in better issue resolution and save time.
Other basic training must include setting up guides to help navigate software or human resources information system (HRIS) or other communication channels for employees; offering pre-recorded policy sessions and resharing the objectives of every policy and the changes as employees continue working from home/hybrid.
Training on effective usage of google docs or other organisational specific tools amongst others are some of the basic yet the major roadblocks to employee’s overall performance at job if not addressed on time.