The whole coronavirus pandemic and sudden, involuntary shift to working from home left many companies struggling to keep up with the changes. Indeed, it was not easy to implement a business continuity plan and send all employees for remote work with a little or no notice. Companies that managed to make changes on time and keep working, as usual, might still be struggling to stay on top of the game when it comes to results. The reason behind it is the decline in team productivity.
If you are managing a team, you might be worried about the results. At times like this, underperformance is not surprising. After all, your team members are human beings. And human beings need clarity and social interactions, which we all lack during this lockdown. The lack of normality leads to the reduction of productivity and efficiency.
By all means, you are not the only one who is facing this challenge. It is a common issue today, and it also is a temporary one. However, it does not mean that you need to sit down and wait until the pandemic is over. Good managers continuously try to increase their team productivity when they are working in the office. It is especially important when your team is working from home.
There are common reasons why your employees might have trouble delivering the same results. Acknowledging and addressing these issues will help you manage your team better during the pandemic.
Issue #1 You do not have a proper IT infrastructure.
Before you think about coaching your team members and try to increase their mood and motivation, you need to check if your IT infrastructure works well. If your team members cannot work securely, or do now have the means to communicate with each other properly, they will not be able to work effectively. Proper technologies and IT infrastructure is a must when we are talking about team productivity during remote work.
Solution: Invest in IT infrastructure and proper tools
What companies need to understand today is that the need to work remotely will stay at least until there is a vaccine. Thus, if they want to keep working, they need to invest in technologies and proper tools.
IT services such as remote connection, backup solutions or security is a must. If you create a safe online working environment and provide your team with communication, collaboration, task management and other tools, you can expect the spike in team productivity and efficiency.
Issue #2: you do not have a communication plan
In many countries, the government announced lockdown very quickly and did not give a chance to the businesses to prepare for the new reality. If your company went to work from home without a communication plan, you might be suffering from the absence of it. Communication plan is one of the main parts of the crisis plan. Without it, your team will not be able to work efficiently and be productive.
Solution: Keep frequent communication with the right tools
Do your team members know where they can discuss ongoing projects? When and where they can approach you or other managers? Do they have space and time to discuss work? If not, you need to create a good communication plan and let your team know about it. Have frequent communication with your team members and use the right tools. It will lead to an increase in team productivity.
Issue #3: Remote work is a skill, and not everyone has it
Being able to work remotely is a skill. Some of your employees might be feeling like a fish in a sea when working from home. Others might feel isolated and distracted. It is a normal reaction to the current situation. But as a manager, you can reduce the impact of it on team productivity.
Solution: Build a supportive culture
Good managers know the importance of support, especially today when many people have trouble adapting to the new reality. Implementing a supportive culture will help you resolve this issue. Start with identifying workers who might be having a hard time staying productive. Have personal conversations and create a safe environment for such workers. Implement a culture of frequent communication and let your team know that they are not alone.
Issue #4 there is not enough collaboration
Collaboration is key to team productivity. When workers can collaborate and work together, their productivity increases and hence, the results are better. But now, when everyone is working from their bedrooms or dining rooms, it is hard to stay united. Managers should ensure that team members can work together and collaborate.
Solution: Have a remote leadership team
As mentioned above, remote work is not suitable for every person. In your team, you will have people that are doing great and people that don’t feel well while working alone. By joining them and having a leader that can manage the process you will be able to increase team productivity. Have small teams and have a leader that will ensure that everyone is involved.
Issue #5 You do not have clear rules
Rules are important. In the office, where people communicate face-to-face rules can be unwritten. There, every newcomer can understand how the company operates and what are the rules. It is not the case with remote work. Without clear rules, even your long-time employees can get confused and demotivated.
Solution: Write down rules and send to your team
Rules create a direction for the employees; it marks the way the team operates. Not having them highly negatively affects team productivity. By introducing the clear rules, you will avoid the confusion. Create a list of rules that apply to the team members during the lockdown and send them to everyone.
Every company is facing some challenges due to the ongoing pandemic. Many managers are struggling to achieve their goals and are searching for ways how to increase team productivity. These are the most common issues behind the underperformance. By identifying and addressing them you will be able to resolve the issue at the beginning and help your team be as productive, as ever.