At the time of writing this article, the uncertainties caused by COVID-19 continue to disrupt work environments, leaving employees and managers alike to navigate a new work reality. The instantaneous transition to remote work was intended to ensure business continuity, but working remotely under the current circumstances means experiencing an unprecedented fusion of work and private life. Achieving an appropriate level of productivity with remote work is an important consideration for employees and employers.
Productivity is a key factor to measure the business performance of an organization. Teams cannot achieve productivity without a level of trust to work autonomously. Building workforce trust allows teams to explore new ideas and make decisions empowering them to do their job. Productivity of physically isolated teams is all about prioritizing work and being able to adapt to changes on the fly. By optimizing this individual productivity, businesses can significantly improve their performance to ultimately increase business results.
Here’s how three interdependent attributes can help remote teams optimize productivity in the current crisis to eventually increase business results.
- 1. Agile Practices
Working in remote agile teams can often present challenges that need to be overcome. The agile approach achieves productivity gains through effective communication and being highly responsive to customer demands. Agile practices such as gaining commitment to a set of goals, using the daily stand-up to ensure alignment, and delivering the tasks still apply while remote working. Agile keeps everyone focused on one task at a time, and this self-organized way of working leads to transparent goals, it promotes communication and, last but not least, increases productivity.
The agile methodology focuses on learning and adapting to new requirements quickly. Using agile practices to collaborate with a remote team is a continuous process. And for this process to be successful, you need to regularly look for what works and what needs to change. Through commitment to agility, teaming and relentless improvement, agile teams are well positioned to adapt.
- 2. Employee Autonomy
An autonomous workplace is based on trust, dependability and integrity. Employee trust at work equates to a sense of ownership; this leverages individual strength and adds more value to the process. Studies have shown that employees given more autonomy were likely to be self-driven, and teams more connected and less susceptible to burnout.
Autonomy in the workplace has as much to do with access as it does with trust. Employees should be able to create in a style that plays to their strengths. They may need technology, training and input from subject matter experts, and managers should be able to strike the right balance of providing freedom and remaining on hand to provide support and advice.
- 3. Remote Team Alignment
Remote working increases the autonomy and self-responsibility of employees. A remote work environment needs structure and a strong direction for employees to be aligned. A formal structure reinforces processes for how employees operate as there are targets to be met.
Structured communication boosts engagement of team members as they understand that the value of their daily output relates to the success of the organization. The ability of teams to self-organize and generate their own structures takes on an even greater significance in the context of distributed work. The balance of a formal structure and informal communication with employees stimulates engagement, which is critical for productivity.
In summary, remote working removes all the noise and distraction of the office and replaces it with the much more potent distraction of your home. Maintaining the context around work requires you to be more thoughtful in planning and more considerate in communication. Striking the right balance between the three interdependent attributes is incredibly effective for productivity. An agile organization uses technology to strike a balance between agility, autonomy, and alignment