With recent world events, more companies than ever before have moved their offices online and are faced with a new set of challenges. When stopping in your co-worker’s office and meeting in conference rooms was once the norm, companies are now struggling to keep up collaboration and a productive workforce online.
I have good news. When managed and encouraged properly, remote employees can actually be more productive working from home compared to in the office. So, with more companies that ever going remote, productivity doesn’t need to suffer!
Create an Online Workplace
Did you know that there are virtual offices equipped with an online office space for each employee, conference rooms, reception desks and networking lounges?
These online workplaces are the closest thing to real-life workplaces and are easy to navigate. They improve communication and managers can see that their employees are online because their headshot shows up in their virtual office.
Companies like Abyx set up these workplaces for companies and train employees on best practices when working in an online workplace.
My favorite thing about online workplaces is that I can go into one of my co-worker’s offices and immediately enter in to a video chat with them to collaborate in real time.
Set Ongoing Meetings
The most important thing to keep collaboration up to standards is to set regular meetings on a set schedule.
I recommend daily team meetings so that your employees don’t feel isolated, in the dark about what is going on with your company and what is expected from them. Video is best because it’s more engaging and employees won’t get distracted during their meeting because video requires more focus.
It’s smart to designate a moderator for these meetings so they don’t go off track. Also, be sure to go around the virtual room and let everyone take turns speaking. This is especially important in large groups so that people aren’t trying to talk over each other.
If you have a large team, you may want to break the meetings up by department and/ore do one-on-one meetings with your employees.
The key takeaway is that the meetings should be a requirement and on a consistent schedule.
Make it Easy to Share Files
If you’re like most companies, there is a lot of file sharing going on. If you decide to go with a virtual office, they will likely have file sharing functionality so that everything is done in one platform. If an online office platform isn’t in the cards for your company, there are tools like DropBox where your whole team can share and access files.
Choose a file sharing platform and mandate that your employees use it and update their files within it because emailing files can lead to disorganization.
Develop categories and naming conventions for your files to keep them organized and allow your employees to easily access what they need.
Don’t Bombard Your Co-Workers with Too Many Emails
As I mentioned earlier in this post, it’s a great idea to set ongoing meetings. So, try to wait until your meetings in order to send or receive communication with your employees. Too many emails can overwhelm your team and important thoughts and instructions can get lost in the mix.
If you can’t wait until your next meeting, then by all means email your employee(S) but just be conscious about the amount of emails your sending.
Equip Your Team with the Right Tools
In order to remain productive, it’s important that you implement the right tools to foster communication and collaboration within your company. Like I mentioned earlier, an online workplace like with Abyx will have all the tools in one place for you to manage effectively but if you don’t have the budget for an online workplace, here are some tools you should implement:
- Video conferencing software like me
- Communication channels like Slack
- Project management platforms like Trello
Plan Online Team Building Events
Your video team meetings don’t have to be all business. It’s beneficial to establish a connection and team building with your employees to foster a sense of community and to make your employees feel less isolated.
Companies are doing this by playing games over video, having happy hours from their homes and recruiting speakers to motivate their employees online.
Just because you’re not in an office, you don’t have to forgo office culture!
Be a Proactive Manager
Everyone is under stress right now and a lot of employees are getting used to working remotely. So, it’s your job to predict your employees needs and keep everything organized.
Stay ahead of the game and be clear with your employees of what you expect from them and be there for them to ask questions and to get feedback.
By proactively implementing the right tools and communication cadence, employees can function better and be productive.
Setup Internal Procedures
To keep employees reminded of what they should be doing and when it should be delivered, create an internal procedures document that your employees can refer to. This document should include:
- A rundown on the tools your implementing and how they can use them
- A schedule of your video conferencing meetings
- A timeline on when projects are due
Motivate Your Employees with Productivity Rewards
Keep things light and fun by rewarding your employees with a rewards system for being productive. Rewards can lighten the mood in these intense times and can motivate employees to go above and beyond.
Consider offering gift cards for employees who deliver projects early or come up with innovative ideas for your company.
You should also highlight your employees who go above and beyond so that other employees are motivated to follow suit. Everyone loves recognition so be sure to give it.
The rewards don’t need to be super expensive to go a long way!
Gather Feedback About Your Remote Working Process
Maybe your remote working procedures work well in theory but it’s always a good idea to check in with your team to see if your remote program is working for them.
Consider creating a survey so that you can gather feedback and suggestions about how effective your company is when it comes to remote working. I recommend SurveyGizmo.
Here are some questions to consider in your survey:
- Do they think the tools your company is using are effective?
- Does the video meeting schedule work for them?
- Are there areas about remote working that they’re struggling with?
- Do they have any suggestions to improve your remote working environment?
- Do they think working remotely is negatively effecting productivity?
- How can you help them do their jobs to the fullest potential?
What is your best tip to managing employees online? We’d love to hear from you on Twitter!