by Neil White | Business
At the onset of the 21st century, more and more people are starting to work from home. Therefore, home offices are no longer a privilege or a passing trend but a novel model of employment.
There are numerous advantages to working from home including better productivity but only if you set up the home office in a way that teams can still cooperate efficiently.
Setting office space boundaries
The entrance door of an office building is the line that separates two worlds but often enough, such lines don’t exist inside a house. With a housing crisis going on, not everyone can afford a separate study, so they have to come up with interesting ways to partition the house/apartment.
Essentially, if you’re aiming for high productivity, the house needs to become a stress-free zone. The office should be located inside a low-traffic area, such as the corner of a room. However, it’s impossible to ignore family members completely, so you should work out a schedule with them.
Improved efficiency = More family time
The schedule that you work out with your family members means that you won’t be distracted while you work. However, the time you have for work will be limited, so you need to make the best of it, i.e. be productive.
Being able to pack three hours of work inside an hour and a half work frenzy means that you’ll spend more time with your family.
At the same time, you will have completed more tasks within a shorter period. Before you lay out the definite work-leisure schedule, be sure to consult both the family members and your colleagues.
More than one communication channel
Once every individual is able to focus on the tasks ahead, they should be able to communicate with their colleagues. Nowadays, there are many teamwork platforms and employers are constantly on the lookout for novelties in the industry.
However, truly “productive” communication should include several communication channels, especially during the time when live contact is limited. Workers should have each other’s (work) phone numbers, so they can text or call their co-workers to get a task done quickly.
Furthermore, teams should have as many messaging apps as necessary installed. Sometimes, a circular message on Viber will suffice, while at other times, they’ll need to chat live on Zoom or Skype. In fact, conference calls are among the most efficient methods of communication.
Focusing on essential tasks
One of the biggest snares of working from home is the inability to focus on the truly important tasks. The whole team will have to learn to prioritize and delineate personal and group priorities.
Namely, a worker outside of the office environment has limited capabilities, so they shouldn’t waste their energy on insignificant tasks.
In this sense, productivity standards set by the management should be, before all, realistic. If a senior manager starts asking his team to deliver better than when they worked physically together, he/she is in for a disappointment.
Letting the team blow out some steam
The best way to help your team unwind, relax, and ultimately bond is through team-building activities. However, work from home means that attending a pub quiz or going canoeing together is pretty much out of the question.
Luckily, organizing virtual events is a great way to help the team unwind a bit. After they have had a fun and meaningful break, they will feel energized and get work done quicker.
Like with in-vivo team-building activities, schedule virtual events for periods when folks would normally be online for work. You don’t wish to chip off their precious rest time.
Speaking of the work-rest cycle, we have already mentioned that the harder you work, the shorter you work. In terms of a timeline, you should be hard at work for 45 minutes to one hour, max! Afterward, you need to make a break that would last anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes.
As far as breaks are concerned, you should get up from the computer and take a short walk to stretch your legs. Since the work you perform online is intellectual, it’s important to make the break mental as well. Read the headlines in the local newspapers or wash the dishes; anything that would get your mind off work.
Cut down on meetings
When there are too many business meetings in a company, morale and productivity suffer. What is worse, this detrimental practice often goes on in the virtual world as well. A group video chat is ideal for collaboration but it shouldn’t turn into a monologue or drag on for ages.
Essentially, the longer the employees chat, the less productive they are. In a remote work environment, meetings ought to be brief and to the point. Ideally, micro-meetings should last no longer than 15 minutes, which is more than enough time to pass along information, delegate tasks, and make short-term decisions.
Finally, it’s important who is responsible for what, even in a virtual environment. The online itinerary should be able to help workers balance their schedule and tasks ahead, as well as give out tasks to their subordinates.
Despite several communication channels, it’s a common occurrence that a seemingly minor task is left undelegated. Everyone will presume that it’s not their job to complete it, so there should exist a virtual notice board that assigns each name with a particulate task.
Remote work isn’t bad on its own; quite the contrary but productivity can easily become an issue. That’s why you should adopt the 8 tips listed above to help your team stay motivated and maintain high productivity levels inside a home office.