Giving your employees the freedom and flexibility to work from home might be intimidating. What’s going to happen while they’re not under your watchful eye? Since switching to a hybrid or completely work-from-home setting at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers have been thrilled to find that not only has productivity held steady but in many cases, it has improved! However, it’s only natural that some employees struggle with working efficiently while on their own. Want to learn how to keep remote employees productive even when they’re working from the comfort of their own homes? Keep reading!
5 Tips for Improving Work-from-Home Productivity
Working from home is an amazing perk. Let’s talk about how you can help your staff members make the most of it.
1. Create Opportunities for “Face-to-Face” Interactions
While everyone needs a little quiet time at some point, working from home can start to feel isolating. Keep your team united and engaged by having weekly or biweekly video calls via Zoom, Google Meet, or another platform.
Even if you have nothing business-related to discuss, a short meeting to give everyone a chance to say hello and catch up can work wonders for morale. In fact, intentionally giving people an opportunity to talk about anything but business can be refreshing. What did your employees do over the weekend? Any big trips coming up? How are their families?
Think about it: In an office setting, there’d be a little chit-chat. People would have the opportunity to get to know each other. So, give them that opportunity even if you’re all working remotely. What’s good for morale is also good for productivity.
On a slightly different note…
2. Create Blocks of Time for Focused Work
Many companies have “No-Meeting Wednesdays” or something similar. On these days, no one is allowed to schedule any meetings, and if they do, invitees aren’t required to accept. This gives people undisturbed time to simply focus on the work in front of them.
Can’t clear out a whole day? Block out windows of time, then — three or four hours at a time. Your employees should feel free to put their Slack accounts on “do not disturb” during these blocks, as well. Let them do what you hired them to do, uninterrupted.
3. Continue Drug and Alcohol Testing as Per Your Policy
Unbeknownst to many people, yes, employers can drug test their remote workers. It might seem controlling, but remember that while they’re on the clock, you are paying them to do a job! Just because they’re working from home doesn’t mean they have free reign to do whatever they want during the workday. Consuming drugs and alcohol can significantly hamper productivity, increase the likelihood of errors, and lead to more accidents and crime. This is especially risky for employees who work directly with your customers or clients.
Be sure that any and all testing you conduct aligns with your drug-free workplace policy. This helps to protect you, your business entity, and your staff. If needed, update your policy to accommodate the work-from-home environment. You should have open communication about your policy with your team so that everyone is on the same page and feels comfortable coming to you or HR with any questions, comments, or concerns.
Learn more about our employee drug testing and services.
4. Create Structured Flexibility
One positive thing about working from home is that it makes it easier for your employees to work when it makes the most sense for them. They might more easily have the opportunity to pick their kids up from school, schedule doctor appointments, or do chores around the house.
If it doesn’t impact their work, then there probably isn’t an issue. However, many individuals do better when they have some boundaries — even light ones. For instance, maybe you require people to be immediately available via Slack during normal business hours in their time zone, even if they’re running an errand or picking up their child and aren’t actually at their computer at that time. This way, they still have flexibility in their schedule, but they’re also still present when you need to communicate with them.
5. Purposefully Recognize Good Work
When everyone shows up to an office five days a week, and you have in-person meetings, acknowledging good work often comes naturally. This means that when you change the environment, giving employees words of affirmation might not happen that much — or ever.
Set a reminder in your calendar if you have to, and make a point of recognizing the incredible things your employees are doing! Send out an email to your department or the company, or post about it in Slack.
Similarly, encourage people to send positive feedback they receive or milestones they hit to their managers. Everyone needs to be their own PR person. Maybe, for example, one employee gave a presentation to the sales team, and the sales director later complimented their work via email. That person should forward that email to their manager! It can be awkward to promote ourselves like this, but if your team knows that you support it, they’ll be likelier to do it.
Keeping remote employees productive might take a little extra elbow grease and some creativity. Always be open to feedback and be transparent with your employees about wanting to create a remote work environment that’s conducive to both the company’s success and your team’s well-being. Remember that you’re all on the same side. Work together to come up with healthy solutions and your employees will be in a better position to produce their very best work.
Making employee drug testing part of the workplace is an important part of setting your work environment up for success. Ready to take the next step? We’re here to guide you! Contact us today to learn more about how US Drug Test Centers can help keep your business drug- and alcohol-free.