The rapid shift to employees working from home has required a change of mindset for both employees and companies. Most businesses did not have a formal remote-work policy in place and had to make up the rules as they went along. That may have worked at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, but there is no longer any excuse for not evolving your technology and communication processes to accommodate remote workers.
The Challenges of Remote Work
While managers may worry that at-home employees will not work as hard or be as productive when they do not have direct supervision, employees feel that their managers are out of touch with their needs. When surveyed, this is what employees say the biggest challenges are when teams are working remotely:
- A lack of face-to-face interaction.
- A lack of access to company information.
- Social isolation.
- Distractions at home.
Keeping Remote Workers Productive
Managing distractions when working at home falls on the shoulders of employees, but it is possible for companies to address the other three challenges. Here are steps that experts say will reduce the stress related to working from home and lead to greater productivity.
Establish Regular Check-Ins
A check-in might be a daily call from a manager, a one-on-one meeting or group sessions. Whichever you choose, providing a structured and predictable line of communication gives managers and employees a way to deal with concerns and stay on track.
Provide Robust Technology
Keeping employees productive when working from home takes more than giving them a laptop or a cellphone. When remote workers do not have access to the tools they need, productivity suffers. They need easy access to company resources such as network servers, data centers and collaboration tools.
A business Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service that uses a hosted private branch exchange (PBX) can provide a robust backbone for connecting employees no matter where they are working. A hosted PBX system gives remote employees the same level of functionality they would have if they were at the office. And adding unified communications tools enables them to have an app (soft client) on their devices that provides advanced functionality such as voice and video calling, messaging, and call forwarding.
Having employees work from home also creates security issues. Letting them connect to your business network without implementing robust business internet and a business phone service using hosted PBX can present some security risks. However, it can also hurt productivity when they cannot access the company resources they need.
Provide Consistent Technology for Everyone
When workers first started working remotely, they used a variety of free or low-cost tools such as Zoom, Skype and Microsoft Teams. This meant juggling different software solutions and having to learn the intricacies of multiple platforms. Employees also had to figure out how to share documents or give someone else control in different apps.
Remote workers benefit when they have convenient access to all of the information and tools they need. You can integrate communication channels on a single platform using a hosted PBX solution, along with unified communications and complete unified communications and conferencing and collaboration tools.
Create the Rules of the Road
Both managers and employees benefit when there are expectations on how to work remotely. Everyone should understand the expectations for work hours, work output and responsiveness. Rules for remote workers should address things like how often you want employees to check in and how you want them to do so. One scenario might be to use video calls for daily group meetings and weekly one-on-ones, instant messages or texts when things are urgent, and email for less pressing matters.
Improving Productivity for Remote Workers
Communication tools and technology enable organizations to effectively address remote working challenges. Providing all employees with the same technology minimizes the learning curve and gives workers a “common language” when collaborating or working with customers.
Access to business phone service provides a more robust solution. A business VoIP phone service using hosted PBX facilitates better communication because employees have the same capabilities at home that they would have if they were in the office.
Video conferencing provides face-to-face interaction, mitigates social isolation and helps others read nonverbal visual cues from meeting participants that promote better understanding.
LOGIX is Built for Business
Don’t let your employees’ productivity suffer by relying on anything less than business phone service. LOGIX provides the tools you need to manage remote workers and keep productivity at a consistently high level.
When considering a business phone service provider, contact LOGIX by calling 281-688-6231, or request a quote.