4 Tips For Maximizing Productivity When Working Remotely

Eeshan, Knowledge Producer at Inknoe
Eeshan, Knowledge Producer at Inknoe

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused organisations to question the “old school” paradigms of commuting to work, fixed 9-5 work hours, and attendance at face-to-face meetings. With remote working looking to be a key part of work routines for years to come, here are our tips for maximizing productivity and keeping teams motivated when working from home.

We’ll start with a general overview of best practices, before diving into specific tips for common video conferencing solutions, such as Microsoft Teams (here), Google Meet (here) and Zoom (here). On the other hand, if you’re keen on using any of these platforms in an online teaching context, keep your eyes peeled! We’ll have a dedicated series of articles on that in the near future.

Young mom working on sofa with her kids reading books beside
Working remotely comes with its own unique set of challenges!

1. Keeping the chat alive!

One of the top struggles facing teams working remotely is that of keeping staff engaged. Office chit-chat in particular, is a large part of positive work culture, especially in strongly interacting teams, and is one of the most sorely missed elements when working remotely!

Ensuring that employees have access to an appropriate instant messaging solution can go a long way to maximizing productivity. While it’s not a direct replacement for tea-room conversations, having an outlet for venting frustration, sharing ideas and even just general anecdotes about day-to-day life, can be enormously beneficial for keeping the team spirit alive.

Read on to our specific articles to discover how to implement IM solutions as part of your remote working system for maximizing productivity.

2. Collaboration, made virtual

Who doesn’t love a good ol’ brainstorming session by the meeting room whiteboard? And for good reason! The world is full of innovative products that are the outcome of workplace collaboration (the 3M sticky, for one!).

Maintaining a platform for enabling collaboration, whether it’s working on documents, spreadsheets or even sketches, is of critical importance for companies hoping to drive growth, especially in a rapidly slowing market. But what happens when your teams are working remotely? How do you keep collaboration alive?

Well! You may not have realized, but video conferencing solutions like Microsoft Teams and Google Meet both offer dedicated file sharing integration, meaning that you and your team can work on the most urgent documents, spreadsheets and plans no matter how far apart you are. Better still, a number of these solutions offer a shared virtual whiteboard, which provides a great outlet for employees to doodle in their spare time, building on one another’s ideas when the inspiration sparks.

A lady doing video call infront of an iMac
File sharing is a fantastic tool for maximizing productivity when working remotely

It’s vital to be aware of how these solutions work, especially because the benefits are far from theoretical. Did you know that a key study in the early 2000s demonstrated a doubling of productivity in companies employing VC solutions? If you’re not making the most of your video conferencing solution, you’re missing out on a fantastic method of maximizing productivity of your remotely working team!

3. Spice up your team calls

Alas, we’ve all been in that team call. You know the one. The boss keeps droning on about this month’s performance, while you’re wishing you had made that third coffee before you dialed in.

This is both a serious and frequently occurring problem for teams not used to working remotely. At its heart, is the flawed assumption that face-to-face meetings can be conducted via video conferencing (VC) without modifying content, duration or meeting flow. Unfortunately, when VC meetings fail to be as productive as face-to-face, the blame falls on tech solutions. This is incorrect!

Video conferencing is a different form of communication. It definitely has its advantages over face-to-face, the most important of which is its efficiency (yes, you read that right) when carried out in shorter formats. Not used to concepts like scrums, musters, or sprints? You should be! Simply moving from long weekly calls to short daily sessions can save an organisation millions of dollars, when factoring in the cost of meeting overruns! A great way to maximize productivity.

Keep reading to find out how to reduce time wastage and keep your team productive during VC calls, no matter which platform you use.

4. Flexible work… with controls

Most people are loving working from home, and a massive part is all the new found free time. Zero commute time, don’t need to change into formal work clothes, no need to waste time doing make-up… need I go on?!

Naturally, it can’t be all play and no work, but finding the “balance” in work-life balance can be a real challenge for organisations and their staff. In particular, as managers are finding out , it’s much harder to monitor attendance (and performance!) when you’re physically apart. What’s the expression? When the cat is away, the mice will play! Appropriate performance management tools are thus essential in ensuring that staff remain productive when working from home.

Did you know that most video conferencing solutions actually offer a number of tools for monitoring both attendance and performance? If you didn’t, read on, to find out how to make the most of software like Teams, Meet and Zoom!

Logos of Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and Zoom
The three best-known remote working productivity tools: Meet, Teams & Zoom

Meet Teams & Zoom

This is the first in a series of articles that’ll show how tools like Google Meet (here), Microsoft Teams (here) and Zoom (here) have a plethora of add-ons that allow you to maximize the productivity of your team when working remotely.

If you have a question about a tool, or would like us to walk you through tips on tools other than these three, please drop us a note!

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