COVID-19. It’s the global pandemic that’s sending shockwaves around the entire world. It’s like nothing we’ve ever seen before and as an Australian small business, it’s something you’ve most likely never had to plan for. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, we’ve put together this free COVID-19 employer response pack that can help you navigate through this time. So, with office closures happening all around Australia and a shift to remote working, how do you ensure your employees remain productive when working from home?
If you’re one of the lucky Australian small businesses that has the option to allow your employees to work from home during this period, it’s important you make sure that your team is set up for success. A change of working environment can lead to increased productivity for some, but on the other hand, can lead to a dip in productivity for others.
At Employment Hero, we’ve been working from home for the past week. We’re one of the lucky ones — our business allowed us to do this quickly with minimal disruption to our day-to-day. While it took a day or two to get into the swing of things, for us, it’s now back to business as (almost) usual.
So how do you ensure that your team is staying productive when working from home without micromanaging your team? If you’re seen to be micromanaging, it can be detrimental to employee morale and culture. This can have a knock-on effect throughout your entire business as trust begins to decrease.
If you’re new to working from home concept and looking for ways your team can stay productive, we have a few suggestions. Keep reading as we share seven ways your employees can set themselves up for success and remain at the top of their game whilst working from home during this period of uncertainty.
1. Remind your team to start their morning as if they were going into the office
This sounds simple, but for those who have never worked from home before, it’s an important one to remember. When you think about working from home, some might have the perception that it involves lazing around in your pyjamas all day. But a more relaxed dress code can often mean a more relaxed day of work, which can greatly impact productivity levels when working from home. With this being said, it’s important your team still continue their morning routine as if they were getting ready for the office. Whether that consists of going for a run, having a shower or making a coffee, these are all things that will keep them in their work routine. It will also help them have a clear head when it comes time to log on for work.
2. Ensure your employees work set-up is safe
When your team is working from home, you have a duty of care for your employees to ensure they are still working safely. When it comes to workspaces, ensuring your employees are set up safely and effectively is paramount for productivity. You can download our COVID-19 bundle which includes safety tips for setting up safe workstations.
As an employer, you should send a reminder around to your team letting them know that they should have a clear desk to work on and a comfortable chair that is set to the correct height of their computer. This will reduce the chance of your employees having neck or back strain that could lead to other implications further down the track.
3. Remind your team to prioritise their physical health
When working from home – and especially during this time when we’ve been advised to stay home – it can be easy to neglect your physical health. During times like this, it’s never been more important to focus on your physical health. Why? It can get your endorphins flowing and improve your overall mental health during an unsettling time. Some ways you can encourage your team to prioritise their health include:
Drinking at least 2L of water a day
Exercising for at least 30 minutes. This could be a walk around the block during their lunch break, doing bodyweight exercises in their living room or practicing yoga.
Focusing on a healthy diet and eating balanced meals and snacks
This can be as easy as sending out a daily reminder on Slack or via email telling your team to get up for 15 minutes and go for a walk.
4. Encourage your team to take regular tea and lunch breaks.
It sounds basic, but we all know how easy it can be to get caught up in a task and spend hours at your desk without a break. If you want to make sure your team is taking their breaks, why not send them calendar invites so it’s in their diaries? We also encourage you to make sure your team is stepping away from their workspace during their breaks and follow a ‘no eating lunch at your desk’ rule. Encourage this opportunity to get up, stretch and refocus. This will do your team a world of good.
When it comes to staying accountable and productive working from home, your team are your superheroes. By having an online daily huddle in the morning, your team can talk about what they achieved from the previous day, what they’re wanting to achieve for the day ahead and any issues or concerns to address. By sharing your team’s intentions for the day, they’ll feel more productive and ready to hit the ground running.
This is a great way to stay productive and can assist with:
The alignment of goals and tasks as a team
Improved communication across teams
Accountability and overall productivity
6. Keep in regular online contact with colleagues
It’s crucial to ensure that your team is regularly communicating with colleagues. Here at Employment Hero, we use Slack and Google Hangouts for online communication. When faced with an unknown amount of time to be working from home, it can take a toll on your mental health. Social isolation can greatly impact your team, so it’s important you reinforce communication. Scheduling virtual coffee dates is one way you can beat social isolation and improve mental wellbeing.
7. Use task management tools
At Employment Hero, we’re big fans of planning out our days. Whether it’s a simple to-do list or using a task management tool like Asana or Trello, it’s a great way to stay accountable and productive when working from home. These tools allow everyone to map out their day whilst providing transparency to the wider team what everyone is working on.
If you’re new to using a task management tool, take a look at Trello. They offer a free version that can have your team up and running in no time at all.
If you’re looking for more information, we’ve put together a COVID-19 employer response bundle that will help you navigate through this time of uncertainty. At Employment Hero, we’re on a mission to provide you with helpful content that can help your business. It contains all of the essentials including:
COVID-19 Continuity Plan: Detailed Personal Checklist (Example)
Work From Home/Flexible Working Agreement Policy
Work From Home Guide for Employees
Safety tips for setting up your work from home space