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The Business Magazine November 2023
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First Solution: How can you help drive productivity among your remote workforce?

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Chris Shanks, Head of Technology at First Digital offers some top tips:

In the past year, rightly so, we have focused on people’s physical and mental health and what they needed in order to work from home successfully. But we also mustn’t lose sight of what a business needs to remain competitive.

Remote or hybrid working challenges long-held beliefs about how employees perform well, but it takes strategic planning and the right technology to scale in a way that drives performance while maintaining employee culture and wellbeing.

1.Focus on outputs, not processes

Working from home, people have learned how to balance their work and family commitments in ways that are easiest and most productive for them. Without the commute, some start and fi nish early, while others prefer the regime of office hours. But if the work is good and the teams are happy, that’s the most important thing. So, instead of micro-managing how an employee gets their work done, focus on quality, and whether they still contribute fully to the collective business aims. Providing flexibility empowers teams and builds trust.

2. Prioritise what matters

Without the need to drive, we all have more ‘space’ in our diaries for meetings. Some find this ability to go ‘back to back’ extremely ‘productive’, but another argument is that we now have too many Teams meetings because it’s so easy to pull people in.

Teams meetings can run really efficiently if you make them, you can even set a timer to fi nish the video call early to give you time back to decompress. Being productive is about setting agendas, prioritising and doing the important things.

3.Build trust through transparency

Over the past 18 months, as the realisation came that remote employees could be trusted, businesses have opted for more honest and authentic styles of communications. This transparency is valued by employees and shows them that they’re part of a trusted team. It’s important that remote workers feel connected to an organisation’s goals and have a clear understanding of where they fi t into its mission. In turn they will feel less detached, share the common goals and be productive members of your organisation.

4.Create a Hub

We used to say all roads lead to Rome, now all roads lead to home. But if you build the right tech stack, your people will come running back. It’s human nature to take the path of least resistance, so use something like SharePoint to create a single hub that enables your workforce to get what they need quickly. If they can get the fi les they need and the answers to their key questions, then you won’t have to force their behaviour - it will happen organically.

5. Create your Hybrid working policies

Without precedent, so few employee handbooks had effective working from home policies. Everyone is familiar with an IT Misuse policy; ‘don’t do anything illegal on a computer we give you’ is pretty standard fare. But by now businesses should have implemented policies that reflect their new hybrid or remote working practices. Does your video meeting policy outline how employees should behave? Do you expect cameras to be switched on, colleagues to be dressed appropriately and have a presentable background?


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