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. 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 feeling overwhelmed, we’ve put together Free Working From Home Assessment Form, Part 1 – Workplace Hygiene and Infectious Disease Assessment, Part 2 – Workplace Hygiene and Infectious Disease Checklist,  that can help you navigate through this time.

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 in the working environment can lead to increased productivity for some, but on the other hand, it can lead to a dip in productivity for others.  

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 Coronavirus resources 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 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. 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.

By taking regular breaks, your team will:

  • Be more productive
  • Have improved mental health
  • Be more creative in their thinking and work

5. Have daily team huddles in the morning

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. 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 health and mental wellbeing. 

7. Use task management tools 

it’s a great way to stay accountable and productive when working from home. This will allow everyone to map out their day whilst providing transparency to the wider team that everyone is working on.

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