6 Proven Ways to Boost Remote Team Productivity

For every study that suggests remote working makes employees happier, healthier, more productive, and more innovative than their on-site counterparts, another appears highlighting concerns of poor collaboration, fractured team relationships, low motivation and plummeting output.

The truth of the matter is that both of these scenarios are real.

And management practices, internal culture and systems capabilities have a big hand in determining which one you find yourself in.

But regardless of whether your remote working dynamics are in need of a complete overhaul, or just some minor fine tuning, everyone can aspire to improve.

Here are 6 proven ways remote teams can hope to boost their productivity

Read on for the blog, or why not download the whole thing as an infographic and share with your team?

^ ways to boost productivity infographic

1. Preserve a healthy routine

A study published in the journal Cognition concluded that short breaks help keep our attention span on track. [1]

Respondents to a survey by Airtasker ranked having regular breaks and sticking to set working hours as the first and second most effective ways to aid productivity. [2].

But it’s important to have some flexibility…

47% of employees strongly agree flexible working arrangements would allow them to be more productive than a rigid 9-to-5 schedule. [3]

 

2.Manage burnout and stress

The American Psychological Association estimates that more than 550 million workdays are lost each year due to stress on the job [4]

30 days using the Headspace app has shown to reduce stress by 32%, while just 4 sessions reduce employee burnout by 14% [5]

More exercise = more output

Staying active is key to minimising stress and maximising output.

According to Reuters, if every worker added an extra 15 minutes of walking to their day they could boost the world economy by as much as $100 billion a year [6].

 

3.Encourage employees to block out time for ‘deep work’

Deep work refers to:

“Professional activity performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit” [7]

Often referred to as being in a ‘state of flow’...

Encouraging your employees to block out periods of time where they focus on their own workload, and temporarily block out calls and emails can have an incredible impact:

  • People have shown to be as much as 5x more productive when in a state of flow [8]

  • Those working in flow state report being 6-8x more creative[9]
  • A number of studies show people learn up to 500% faster when in a state of flow

4. Help your teams establish the right environment

Small changes in working environment can have a tremendous impact on remote teams.

Users of standing desks are nearly 45% more productive each day than their seated counterparts [10]

70% of employees say having access to natural light makes them more productive [11].

Working in a room with no windows?

Adding plants to a windowless workplace can make employees 12% more productive and less stressed. [12]

The right choice of music can also increase mood and productivity, with research showing it helped students work for longer and retain more information. [13]
 

5.Protect internal relationships at all costs

Acknowledge efforts

40% of employees say they would put more effort into their work if it was recognised more often. [14]

Improve team communication

According to a McKinsey study, improving team communication can increase productivity by up to 25% [15].

Open workplaces perform better

Research from Harvard shows staff achieved better learning and performance outcomes when their leaders:

  • Appeared to ‘have their best interests at heart’
  • Were more inclusive
  • Encouraged them to speak up and ask for help [16]

More monitoring only makes things worse

More data from Harvard Business Review also found workplace anxiety to be greater in workers experiencing high levels of close monitoring. 

  • Of workers reporting low levels of monitoring (less than 2 on a 5-point scale), 7% were often or always anxious when doing their job

  • But for those reporting high levels of monitoring (more than 4 on a 5-point scale), 49% were often or always anxious when carrying out their job. [17]

Little freedoms make a big difference

A research study conducted by Frost & Sullivan found that employees who ‘bring their own device’ to work save their employer an average of 58 minutes every day. [18]

In real terms, that’s a 34% increase in productivity.

 

6.Invest in better communications systems

New research from Sharp has uncovered that the average UK office worker wastes at least 21 days each year due to outdated technology. [19]

Low network capacity is a concern

65% of networking professionals reported feeling extremely or somewhat concerned about their organisation’s network capacity during the pandemic. [20]

Remote teams should look to streamline their systems

The average employee now switches between 35 job-critical apps more than 1,100 times a day...

Workers multitasking between 30 applications or more in a single shift have a 28% higher error rate [21]

  • UK businesses lose over £30 billion every single year due to missed calls [22].

  • 93% of businesses that invested in Unifiedonconnect.com/blog/blog-archive/increase-productivity-with-unified-communications/? Communications saw an increase in productivity and motivation [23].

  • Investing in Unified Communications and VoIP systems can save employees an average of 32 call minutes per day [24].

Conclusions

The move to remote working was a rapid and forced phase of evolution.

Not only that, but it also occurred with a global crisis lingering in the background.

So it should come as no surprise that not every remote team immediately lived up to the high expectations of those in tech and digital who had been championing its benefits for years.

The conditions of lockdown should serve as a lesson to all - that remote working can be difficult for any team if not backed by strong:-

  • Managerial support
  • Team dynamics
  • Physical workplace environment
  • Work ethic
  • And technological infrastructure

Takeaways

Remote teams can help to boost their productivity by:-

  • Sticking to a consistent routine of working hours, with regular breaks.

  • Effectively managing feelings of stress and burnout; wellbeing apps and regular physical activity can both be hugely beneficial.

  • Having the ability to block out time for ‘deep work.’

  • BONUS point: cloud-hosted telephony features can help achieve this.

  • Optimising the furniture, lighting, and general decor of their working environment.

  •  Acknowledging the effort that is put in by their peers, improving team communication, and looking to establish an open workplace environment. Avoid heavily monitoring employees.

  • Investing in better communications systems that can streamline communications channels, and guarantee high-level connectivity and resilience.

Why not check out our complete guide to managing remote teams?

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