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5 Ways Your Team Can be More Productive Working From Home


Working from home isn’t for everyone. Unfortunately, social distancing rules have made it so the majority of companies have to implement work from home policies, regardless of whether they want to or not. And one of the biggest challenges is helping remote teams increase output and maximize productivity. 


The 3 Biggest Inhibitors of Work-From-Home Productivity

Before we dig into some tangible ways to improve your team’s remote productivity, let’s illuminate the three factors that you’re up against:



  • Personal distractions. As much as everyone talks about blending work and personal life for a seamless experience, the reality is that people need separation between these areas. When an employee goes from working in an office to suddenly working from home, trying to manage these personal distractions during work hours is a huge struggle.




  • Less accountability. Naturally, there’s less accountability when someone works from home. They feel like they can hit the snooze button an extra time, take longer breaks, turn in projects later, etc. This comes back to an issue of feeling isolated and independent. 




  • Missing social connection. The isolation of working from home can be really hard on people who are part of a close-knit team. It’s especially challenging for extroverted individuals who actually derive much of their energy and motivation from being in close proximity to other people. 



5 Ways to Boost Your Team’s Productivity

In order to truly maximize your team’s productivity when working from home, you have to address each of the three aforementioned factors head-on. Here are some specific ways you can do just that:



  • Ensure the Basics are in Place


Your team can’t be productive without some basic building blocks in place. For example, they need fast WiFi at home. If they have slow WiFi, work with them to figure out what the cause is and how you can alleviate that problem.


Secondly, every member of your team needs a dedicated home office. This might be a spare bedroom, a study nook, or even a dining room. However, if there are other people at home (like a spouse, kids, or roommates), this office needs the privacy of a door. 


Thirdly, you need the proper project management and video conferencing solutions. This will help you stay organized and connected. (Don’t worry – many are free or low-cost.)



  • Schedule a Morning Huddle


Nobody likes meetings. But if there’s one meeting you need to have with your remote team, it’s a morning huddle. Preferably this should be a video call. It serves as a way to get everyone on the same page and establish daily tasks, responsibilities, and updates. It should last no longer than 20 minutes. (This is also a great way to ensure your team gets out of bed and starts their day at a reasonable hour.)



  • Help Team Members Fight Distractions


Have frank discussions with your team about the biggest distractions they face at home. Encourage them to be open and honest. Then collectively brainstorm ways you can fight these distractions and support one another. It’s important that everyone understands distractions are normal and universal. It’s all about how you deal with them. 



  • Practice Virtual Team Building


Continue to invest in your team’s camaraderie by practicing regular virtual team building. Plan at least one 30-minute team building activity per week. (A lot of companies put them on a Friday as a quasi-celebration of the end of the workweek.) Here’s a list of some really good virtual team building exercises you can try. 



  • Encourage Self-Care


Your team needs to know that their own personal self-care is very important. Give them the encouragement and freedom they need to take care of themselves during the workday. 


Give your employees freedom/permission to go on a 15-minute walk around their neighborhood in the middle of the day; eat lunch with their spouse on the patio; take a shower in the middle of the day; or do a 20-minute YouTube yoga session.  Any time lost will be paid back multiple times over with greater productivity and focus.


Setting the Precedent
The first few weeks of a work-from-home experience are crucial. The habits, processes, rewards, and consequences that are implemented during this phase will set the standard for what remote work will look like for your team. It’s easy to make changes and pivots during these first few weeks. But once you’ve been working from home for six months, habits will have become engrained and changes will be met with resistance.


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