Take a moment and assess your current work environment.
On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the best possible work environment, how would you rate yours? Is it bad, falling between 1 to 3, is it an average 3 to 5, an okayish 6 to 8, or a great 9 or 10?
Most of us are working in a 3 to 5, average environment.
Starting from disorganized workspaces to bad ergonomics, boring work stations to incessant chatter in the background, we constantly combat with our environment just to get things done.
This is sad because rather than pouring our energy into our work and achieving constructive output, our energy is drained away by our surroundings. It’s even worse from an organization’s perspective. The bright minds and great talent brought together to achieve success, is wasting away battling trivialities that could have been avoided in the first place.
Failing to create a productive workplace costs a lot for companies – be it the upfront hole in the pockets each month or the slow corrosion of positivity over time. It would be no one’s fault but everyone’s loss.
What is a productive environment?
A productive environment is one that gives you the maximum working experience and lets you get into the “flow” easily. You know you are in your flow environment when you can slip into work mode easily and you feel energized all the time!
Your productivity can soar if you find your flow environment or create it if you have to. Here’s how to create a productive workspace for your team:
A productive environment doesn’t stay so if you don’t introduce the newcomers to your ways, onboarding is the means to do so.
Bringing a new member on board is one of the most important steps to building a successful environment and culture. Set and convey expectations to bring them into the fold.
Even companies that don’t have laid out onboarding plans manage to welcome a new employee well enough on-site. If your company doesn’t have an elaborate or official onboarding system, you could always create one for your team.
If your employee works from a remote location, onboarding poses some added challenges – owing to the obvious fact that they are not physically in the same place as you. But being as electronically connected as we are, that tiny hurdle can easily be bypassed or avoided altogether.
Goal setting is crucial for any kind of work.
Whether you are a freelancer working for clients, or an employee with a boss, you need to know how to break down projects into small, measurable, and achievable tasks.
Tasks vs Goals
Should you assign tasks?
Creating and managing tasks also becomes work in and of itself.
Yes, tasks should be assigned to the employees. With this, they get some basic ideas about the to-do project and can learn along with the other members who are closely working on it.
Moreover, it works as a strategy of building “teamwork” quality within them.
To envision success and achieve it, setting up goals with clear metrics is the primary step. You need structure to stay aligned with your team and company. It can be easy for remote employees to get off track and land up to nowhere by working on the wrong projects.
Any success to a productive team takes place because of its shared sense of mission amongst all colleagues.
Setting measurable goals is a must to track employees’ contributions, monitor your progress and to keep a check if you’ve achieved your objectives.
A ‘goal-first’ approach keeps everyone aligned and focused on building what matters. Attaining your business goals generally requires a team effort among employees and makes clear what is required to achieve a satisfactory outcome.
When you’re used to plenty of in-person meetings, stopping by cubicles, and on-the-fly progress reports, team alignment in a remote setting might bring some discomfort for a while and you may take some time to adapt this routine. It is a valid concern. KPIs are the key to your problem.
Almost every company sets yearly and quarterly goals. That more or less makes the goals of the teams involved clear. Make use of Google Spreadsheets, calendars to stay updated and track goals.
How to track the goals?
Use SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) goals, both on an individual level and a department level, to track your goals for the year. It is an easy method to review the progress of your employee.
A proactive metrics dashboard provides a system for tracking that can be used to drill down directly to see exactly what is working and what we need to improve. It is a platform where you can measure your own metrics.
Managing your remote team
How to set tasks?
Remote work stops working when you stop to trust people on the other end of the line. Creating a digital workplace and choosing the right people for the remote team is a crucial task. But how do you manage it?
Having a measurable vision for an employee on the basis of his/her working patterns can work as a strategy to set certain tasks. By setting tasks clearly and assigning them to your team members, you are also making them accountable for carrying out the assignments.
There should be clear transparency when assigning work to the employees. Make it clear what you expect your employees to do.
Remote teams live a very different dynamic than those that congregate in person. Since employees know what is expected of them in their daily jobs, it becomes manageable for them in getting their tasks done. By implementing a project management platform like Trello or Asana, you can keep a track of your projects and assignments and their progress.
The team gives each other tasks to complete with a deadline, and it sends out the necessary notifications.
Updates and Reports
Ask your remote employees for regular updates and hold check-ins with your team regarding projects either daily or weekly. At the end of each day, every team member should share a list of things they’ve completed in one day.
WAR meetings (Weekly Action Review) with your direct reports should be conducted virtually making use of the remote tools.
Are your employees overworking?
Keeping track of your remote workers can be challenging. How will you get to know whether they are working during office hours or procrastinating on the task? What if your remote workers are overworking or underworking?
Using effective collaboration tools will help your remote working employees do their best work. With the help of time tracking tools, you can get timely updates regarding your client projects.
You might wonder why you need tools at all when your current set up seems to be working fine. You probably can manage without these tools but you cannot streamline, scale, and automate without these though.
Time tracking apps development has been of great use.
Several apps and tools have emerged that can help us keep track of the amount of time we work during. It can be simplified further by using Jibble, Timedoctor, Hubstaff which can be easily used by everyone working in a team to see what they’re working on, who they’re working with.
Are tools enough?
No, tools are not enough. To share our low-quality decisions and come up with suboptimal solutions in our personal lives, we need people to talk to, and they can be anyone- friends, not professionally maybe.
Team sync (motivation, human factor)
Either it’s a professional working space or remote work, caring for your remote employees is an even-handed measure towards team bonding. You might not have in-person contact with each other but it is totally fine to share your personal problems with them.
Each team member has a few specific and quantifiable metrics so measuring a person can be dehumanizing and demotivating.
Team sync meetings encourage people to participate in meetings so that everyone can catch up and is on the same page/on top of things.
It’s an opportunity for everyone to share sync up on their weekly priorities, problems, and data. Remote tools allow you to communicate at ease and be in touch with your teammates virtually.
A positive culture
Remote work has become the new norm and is considered as the way forward for a flexible, happier, and more productive workforce. Creating a set of values is essentially the foundation of a positive culture and gives direction to the work culture. Lack of values in companies (large or small) is one main reason for improper functioning at a cultural level.
Articulating the document of company values clearly to everyone in the company is very essential. Never stop monitoring, measuring the values for a more positive culture on your remote team.
There is a need to acknowledge more often that remote work for employees isn’t like sitting beside their colleagues in a typical office set up. No doubt, why is it equally important to create virtual moments like that in the remote setup.
It is important to set boundaries and a clear vision, establish effective processes, and create measurable goals. Doing so ensures that your team feels supported and produces high-quality work on time and on budget.
If you also have some thoughtful ideas to create a productive workspace, you can share them in the comment section. You can also drop an email at email@example.com.