Companies want their employees to deliver desired levels of productivity on a consistent basis. We see innovative products and services coming up every now and then challenging the existing players. So, this becomes all the more important for companies to stay flexible in their approach towards all their resources including talent.
Cities are facing historically unseen sprawl. Thus, employees are more likely to stay farther away from the work place and in the process, waste energy and time in commuting. This generates stress at home and at work at the same time. On the other hand, companies need to retain their high-performing employees so that they can easily change gears and adapt to the dynamic business environment. Moreover, real estate costs are on the rise and employee benefit spends have been a source of stress on company finances.
To deal with these changing times, companies have been encouraging employees to work from home for significant part of their workhours and at the same time, are trying to figure out how to obtain their optimum productivity. What could be the possible ways to improve their productivity?
Help them build personal relationships
Human beings are social creatures. We need recognition; we look for challenges and we have an emotional dimension to our own mind. When someone works remotely, it becomes hard to identify others at work as human beings. He or she relates to the organisation, co-workers, boss and sub-ordinates as instruments who are supposed to deliver a specific utilitarian value.
Given this context, it is natural that the interactions with people at work do not always yield the result one expects. More often than not, one’s engagement with the organisation gets limited to a predefined set of work hours, the remuneration and the process of carrying out one’s work. It works well when the job is mechanical and does not involve interfaces with multiple stakeholders.
Gradually machines are taking over tasks which are to be performed based on predefined rules and standardised inputs. So, jobs performed by human beings will involve discussions and making a decision combining the power of predefined algorithm with one’s insights. That makes it worthwhile for humans! To succeed, one needs the environment to be transparent, trusting, rewarding and friendly. One has to feel encouraged to turn up for work each day because there is an unseen drive all around.
Hire the right people for remote working
Not all of us are comfortable staying away from colleagues, desks at office, the gadgets around, the meals together in the pantry and the coffees in the hallways. Some of us find it stressful being alone and limiting our conversations to emails, phones and video chats. We aren’t satisfied with the small chats on remote connections. It is our personal preference and style that is more natural than the trait of focusing on issues without the noise and the distraction around.
Remote working is a good match for highly motivated souls who feel energised at the prospect of working alone. They feel more in control of their schedule of the day; do not need the camaraderie of colleagues to keep them going; they draw energy from within and do not look for the affirmation of the others to make progress.
While designing remote-work, human resources professionals must keep this in mind so that we are able to keep our remote-workers happy and engaged; thus, productive in a sustainable manner.
Building the right systems
This is a no-brainer that we need to get the right IT systems and controls to facilitate work in a seamless and secure manner. Our systems of communication, rewards, recognition, learning and performance management have to be real-time, transparent, efficient and empowering. The leadership team has to provide the necessary impetus and direction so that right investments take place on people, tools and technology.
In summary, organisations have to keep themselves flexible and agile. Letting their employees work remotely helps improve quality of life for the employees, achieves some gains in employee retention and reduces operational costs. Work will continue to demand collaboration amongst workers. Hence, in order to get their remote workers deliver high productivity, they need to get the right people on board; they need to build a transparent environment with the right systems and processes that promote camaraderie and healthy collaboration.