How Small Businesses Can Increase Productivity in Remote Working Environment
The COVID-19 somehow put a big break to our mundane life and made us switch from pants to pajamas in a day with work from home. Well, we cannot thank enough technology for how it helped us survive and keep ourselves fluid in business but still, there are some rocks in a way that are needed to be treated.
With sudden lockdowns and social distancing norms implementation, we went towards this unknown world of experimentation to explore how companies can increase productivity in a remote working environment. The shift from hardcopies to softcopies was a bit stressful but somehow things started getting into a place with help of productivity tools and technologies where you were able to have daily brainstorming sessions virtually and deal with your customers with smart CRM tools.
However, the human is the synonym of evolution and learning should never stop. If you are a small business that is still struggling with how to cope up with the pandemic and your sales goals, this blog is a pure blessing for you.
Let us explore some productivity tools and strategies that can come in handy for better efficiency in your remote working environment.
First of all, let us discover some strategies and later some tools.
Strategies to implement for efficiency in the remote working environment
When you are working from the office as a manager you have a constant check over your team. You can see how your team is working what issues they are facing and how they are tackling them.
When you are seeing them in reality, communicating becomes easy and you can help them or inspect the process. If you see someone struggling your do troubleshooting then and there. However, while in the remote working environment, the only way to communicate is through phones, messengers, and emails.
So, it is advised that you don’t keep bugging your colleagues and juniors for updates and checks. This acts as a hindrance to their productivity.
Give them leverage and show your confidence in them. This boosts motivation in your employees and they work with more sincerity to show their capability.
Also, if you keep asking them for updates, half of their time will go on updating you which will eventually impact the productivity and make them feel overwhelmed.
So, ask about updates but not to the level where your employees feel frustrated and it reflects on the work.
Now I know it may sound confusing that in the section above I talked about how not to focus on updates and here I am advocating about taking the same. Well, success is in the balance.
You guys are now no longer getting to see each other physically talk about the issues in the conference hall and have elaborated deep insights in the cafeteria. So, this is required to have a constant check with your team and colleagues at least once a day for efficient productivity while you are in the remote working environment.
You and your team can get connected over a call at a specific time and conduct a stand-up meeting that talks about your daily tasks and to-dos with priority. To double-check, you can also have one call in the evening session or daily report routine where the employees share their work progress.
You can have these daily update sessions via audio call, video call, or emails as per your comfort.
However, having it over a call is recommended for clear communication.
The only way you will be now having a connection with your team is through virtual communication so keep it very neat and clear. It should happen frequently, be a mixture of candid and professional conversations, and be consistent for team rapport and better coordination.
Try to have transparency in your communication so that the instructions are not misread. Try to give information about every detail that has a chance of turning itself into wrong conclusions and thus affecting your productivity in the remote working environment.
Managers should over-communicate so that everyone is clear with the job roles, processes, and expectations out of them and work accordingly.
Also, at the same time ask your team to share their voice. Learn what are the concerns and how they can add value to the company while working. And most important of all one thing that should not be ignored at any cost is to have light conversations as well. This removes the tension and your employees can focus on work with a positive mindset.
You can also shoot intra surveys to employees where they can fill them and you can learn about how remote working environment is treating them.
Encourage working space
The work-from-home situation is totally a new take on working and people are still adjusting to it. Consult with your HR team and make a proper guide or session on how people can create a remote working environment that increases productivity.
You as a manager or team lead should encourage your team members to create a separate space in their home which helps them transit from home mode to work mode. It could be done by having a separate room
Apart from your bedroom. Also, working on a proper desk makes the brain more alert rather than working on your bed. It makes you lazy and puts your brain in a resting mode which is not a good thing.
Getting a dedicated space in your home only work will reduce the distractions that a person may find in a regular home set-up. Also, using ear headsets for clear communication with the team should be promoted.
Also, every employee should be motivated to dress while they are working from home. Switching from pajamas to pants is a kind of energy change that makes your brain distinguish the relaxed mode to alert mode.
The person is said to be more cautious of their job if they stand accountable for it. They feel responsible for the task assigned to them and they give more attention in return for appreciation and acknowledgment.
You can divide tasks into your team and make each person accountable for it. However, you need to mention the hierarchy of accountability as it may bring confusion to the team.
Productivity tools that contribute to efficiency in the remote working environment
As we have talked about the strategies that can help you increase productivity and efficiency. Now let us move ahead on the tools that are the catalyst to efficiency in the remote working environment.
From simple web forms to incredible live chat features, there are many tools that small businesses can leverage. There might be bright possibilities that you are already using these apps. The apps like Slack, Google Meetings, Microsoft Teams, and zoom are acting as a blessing for people these days and making remote teams work seamlessly.
These apps work to a great level, however, you need to be one step ahead in utilizing them for your best benefit.
When you introduce such tools to your team, you should conduct a session or send them webinars where it is taught how to use these tools and communicate effectively.
Along with that, you can also make some rules on how to conduct communication over such platforms. For example, if there is a stand-up happening in your remote work routine session. Make guidelines. You can mention like
- Everybody attending the meeting should have a maximum of 5 minutes to share their tasks for the day.
- While one is speaking others can mute their mic.
- Everyone attending the meeting should use headsets so that clear communication happens.
- Everyone should have availability during the working hours
Make people feel comfortable with the tools and always keep learning how you can make conversations more fluent.
Try to go for the communication tool where sharing files, graphics, videos, and links are also easy for you. Also, make spreadsheets your best friends they will help you record every detail.
Time and Management tools
Now what is the nature of your business and how your employees are expected to work is dependent on you.
There are multiple productivity tools that you can use to function properly in the remote working environment. Try to look out for the productivity tools that allow integration of other apps so it becomes your one-spot destination to handle your clients and team.
If you are a company that has to attract business, getting a CRM tool like Salesmate will be a great help. These kinds of platforms will allow you to automate marketing related activities. For example, Sales automation can be very useful for your sales and marketing team.
Your team members can access it and learn at what stage of the pipeline is the person and how long it will take for them to convert into a lead.
The easy drag and drop options with colorful layout make it easy for people even working remotely to learn the status and know which sales rep is working on what lead.
Also, you as a manager or leader can identify the bottlenecks and the hot leads by just looking for leads and working straight on them.
The great thing about the app is that it has integrations so your communication tools could also be embedded, making your conversation within the team and clients easier.
Also, to keep track of your employees you can use HR tools like Keka that talk about the worktime hours of an employee, their details along with salary statements and the leave balance.
This way you can manage your employees and clients easily without any fuss.
Remote working could be assured success if both the employee and employer are motivated and determined to work. The situation is tensed and we have to work on this. So, we should accept it and continue experiment with productivity tools and strategies that increase productivity in the remote working environment.