How to maximize productivity if you and your team are working from home!

These past few days have proved that most jobs with some exceptions can easily adapt to a work from home situation, longterm even. Having said that, it’s quite a tricky scenario since most of us have been totally unprepared for a sudden office to work-from-home transition. Nevertheless, we now need a robust system or at least some basic guidelines to navigate the millennial corporate work setup brought upon us by this global pandemic, and smoothly run and sustain companies for a long period. Who knows, this might emerge as a new trend to tackle the problems that the labour force has been facing, like overcrowded transports, traffic, long commutes, lack of accessibility in jobs, decreased focus on family and personal obligations, mental health rainchecks, etc.

Here are some 10 tips on how one can maximize their team’s and their own productivity while working from home:

1. Simulated Routine

Photo by Matthew Henry

Set up a fixed routine to give yourself and your team a sense of normalcy or routine. This will also help maintain team synergy, allowing them to coordinate with each other well

2. Who’s the hall monitor?

It’s extremely important to discipline self and others by appointing team supervisors and add an appropriate number of junctions in the hierarchy to keep the team working in tandem, maintain harmony and track progress

3. Team Standups and Town Halls

Yes, it’s work from home but your supervisors still need to hold daily team video or audio conferences to keep their respective teams together, gather daily updates and report back to you. Apart from these daily “standup” meetings, you also need to mimic Town Halls at regular intervals to stay connected with your employees.

4. Cultivate a tribe, not a team

Encourage your team to connect with each other on a personal level for the sake of their sanity. This helps them check on each other’s physical or mental health, share advice they might need but may not be able to reach out to their superiors. Similarly, at regular intervals, either you or the supervisors can connect with each of the team members on an individual level to check what they need to perform better or if there’s any hindrance that’s affecting their lives or work. This sort of camaraderie creates great professional bonds which result in a well-knit team and a healthy working environment, inspiring them to go that extra mile and achieve all that is possible with teamwork.

5. It’s Playtime

You might also need to come up with different ways to keep your team’s spirits up. For instance, we at 17Seven hold creativity and sharing sessions where team members can showcase their creativity outside of their scope of work, share industry-specific and otherwise, inspiring or interesting bits of information, tools and tips. You can also introduce games, fitness or other various challenges, etc.

6. Switch Off

You and your team should never compromise on their personal time, meals, family time, sleeping patterns etc. It can quickly lead to stagnation and a dip in their motivational levels.

7. Take a break

Photo by Rohit Tandon

When one’s working from home, it’s easier to lose track of time. But taking those breaks in between is necessary just like you’d do if you were working in an office. All individuals need to regularly step away from their systems, stretch a bit, maybe do some physical or mental exercises to keep themselves healthy and avoid achy muscles and joints, optical issues and other long term ailments. Besides it also re-energizes them to tackle the rest of the day.

8. Set up your desk

Photo by John Hoang

One of the most basic things you need to do is build your work shrine that’s sacrosanct. Which means you need to find the most ideal place in your home to set up your workstation. Things to check off in this list are proper internet connectivity, a good system, comfortable seating, the right background view for professional video calls, a peaceful and relatively quiet place, setting up all necessary software and devices in advance. And yes, don’t forget your water bottle to keep that engine running throughout the day.

9. Don’t ghost your clients

Photo by Anna Shvets and Andrea Piacquadio

Make sure you’re holding regular discussions with your clients to stay updated about their sentiments about how your company’s handling their projects and also to keep them in the loop about all the progress on these projects. This will put their minds at ease and sustain their trust in you.

10. Communication is key

Photo by Anna Shvets and Andrea Piacquadio

When you’re all working in the same space, having conversations is easier, fewer texts, you can just walk to your colleagues’ desks or huddle up to get clarity within minutes or even seconds. So even when you’re working from home, you need to stay connected with your teammates through the list of pre-decided communication channels. Keep the list very small and finalize the purpose for each channel and have the team stick to that. For instance, assign fixed platforms for text communication, audio-video communication, external and internal communication, project progress trackers, etc. And encourage everyone to stick to only those channels, get or give as clear instructions as possible, convey all doubts, have crisp but open communication to avoid any kind of miscommunication that might arise due to the physical distance.

It can get overwhelming and you might lose track of the end goal sooner when you’re physically working alone but it’s certainly possible to keep each others’ spirits up and add a method to this madness to make WFH work. Last but not the least, do remember to step out often or meet each other once in a while but not when there’s a global pandemic lockdown situation. ;)

Now let’s quickly revisit these tips.

  • Fix a routine similar to your regular office work hours
  • Introduce hierarchy and appoint team leads, managers and supervisors wherever required
  • Have daily team update sessions and regular online or physical town halls (again not during lockdowns 😅)
  • Encourage good camaraderie amongst the team
  • Create ways to engage your team’s creative and fun side
  • Encourage Personal Time
  • Encourage Regular breaks
  • Set up a work station
  • Connect with your clients regularly
  • Draft clear communication tactics

Let us know what you think of these tips and do share your own set of tips with us as well. In our next article in this segment, we’ll share a list of some of the best tools in the industry suited for working from home.

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