The COVID-19 pandemic upended business as we knew it, leaving all and sundry floundering and wondering how we would cope. One of the most significant mitigations — remote working — became a corporate fad for many companies in London. Employees embraced working from home enthusiastically. Bosses liked it, too, for the most part, because home working allowed businesses to continue operations during the pandemic.
Some still clutched their pearls, wondering whether home-workers continued to contribute to the company’s success, despite their invisibility. A similar unease is felt by the energy-conscious because they can never prove that the light goes out when they close their refrigerator door.
So, what can London business owners do to reassure themselves that remote working does what it says on the tin? It’s pointless acting bullish. Meaningful change — the kind that lasts —requires workforce consent. The successful path isn’t exactly passive, but it needs to carry your people with it.
Where does that leave those of us who still yearn for certainty? In this article, we discuss London business owners’ practical options for remote working that will hopefully allow us to sleep soundly again.
Set Clear Expectations
First, set clear expectations for your remote workers so they know what they must do. This includes setting each employee’s specific work hours, deadlines, and goals. You don’t need a Soviet-style five-year plan, but by simplifying and clarifying expectations, you can track your remote workers’ progress and determine whether targets are met. This will also help your remote workers stay focused and motivated, hopefully increasing productivity.
Use Collaboration Tools
Once everyone knows the parameters and rules of the workspace, introduce collaboration tools to track progress and ensure productivity. Tools like Asana, Trello and Slack allow you to assign tasks, track progress, and communicate with remote workers in real-time.
Implement Time-tracking Software
If you’re a belt-and-braces type of manager desperate for another layer of compliance checking, time-tracking software is an effective way to determine productivity. Many time-tracking tools, such as Time Doctor and RescueTime, allow you to track your remote workers’ activity and ensure that their time is spent on work-related tasks in preference to Microsoft patience. Time-tracking software can also help remote workers manage their time more effectively, increasing productivity.
Time-tracking and collaboration tools alone won’t work, however. You’ll need to add regular check-ins with your remote workers to make doubly sure that they are being productive. Schedule weekly or bi-weekly meetings with your remote workers to discuss their progress and any challenges they face, and provide feedback. This will help you stay connected with your workforce and ensure they are on track to meet their targets.
Focus on output, not input
Finally, it’s essential to focus on output, not input, when evaluating the productivity of remote workers. Please don’t get hung up on measuring the hours your remote workers clock up; focus instead on the quality and quantity of their output and consign your time and motion stopwatch to the nearest industrial museum.
In conclusion, remote work has become the norm for many businesses in London due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While remote work offers many benefits, it poses new challenges for business owners. By setting clear expectations, using collaboration tools, implementing time-tracking software, regular check-ins, and focusing on output, not input, London business owners have a fighting chance of telling whether their remote workers are productive and contributing to the company’s success.
Looking for IT support specialists in London to help you implement these methods and keep your remote workforce productive? Contact us today to see how we can support your business.