Remote and hybrid working environments became the norm for many throughout 2020, and a return to such circumstances may be on the horizon as businesses continue to pivot due to the impacts of COVID-19.
While most workplaces have gained substantial experience navigating a remote workforce over the past 18 months, many employers are still understandably concerned about how either maintaining a remote workforce or not returning to an office environment may affect their team’s productivity and their organization’s bottom line.
Here is a closer look at some strategies employers can leverage to ensure productivity is maintained and objectives can still be accomplished this fall, whether at home, in the office, or through a combination of the two.
Hire with remote capability in mind
In today’s job market, hiring high-caliber and reliable talent is already difficult enough, and doing so during a prolonged period of remote work can be even more challenging. While relevant experience and mutual fit should always come first, it is now also important employees are comfortable in a remote or hybrid work environment. This is something that may continue for years to come, as 85% of managers believe having teams with remote workers will become the new norm.
Being upfront with applicants in the hiring process about the nature of the job is a necessary step, and confirming they’ve been able to successfully work remotely in the past can ease any concerns you may have in that regard. Ask questions of the candidate in the initial screening and again during interviews. If they are uncomfortable in a remote or hybrid environment and aren’t sure if it will affect their performance, that may be cause to move on to the next candidate.
Equip employees for remote success
While many have grown accustomed to remote work, it is still important for employers to ensure their personnel have everything they need to remain productive in their at-home environment – and that includes technology. For most businesses, this likely extends beyond the simple presence of a smartphone and laptop.
Tools such as dual monitors, webcams, project management tools, and videoconferencing software can help employees maintain productivity and effective communication amid volatile circumstances. You should also make sure your team members are able to access any files, platforms, and resources they would from the office, whether via a cloud-based platform or a VPN. Footing the bill for at least some of these tools can even serve as a differentiator, as only 20-25% of companies pay some of the cost for home office equipment.
Prioritize output over process
Employees in remote environments should not always be expected to perform as they would in office environments, where focus can be more readily maintained and processes and task execution are often more standardized.
Working remotely, many people may be more susceptible to increased distractions and a much less standardized way of doing things – especially for those with children and other family members at home. Because of this, it is critical to afford flexibility to your employees to ensure focus is kept on the efficiency and the quality of their work – and less on how it gets done.
While output should be prioritized over process, remote work can also make it easy to lose focus on objectives on a day-to-day basis. Because focus may wane, staying in touch regularly with team members and reinforcing objectives can help keep everyone aligned and contributing toward the same end. Ensure you’re relying upon the tools you provided to your employees to have objective and task accountability.
But be careful not to micromanage. It’s the employer’s responsibility to balance reinforcement with trust to keep employees on track and then give them space to perform. Often, micromanagement can be a negative impact to productivity. Seeing their work contribute to company goals is one of the top engagement drivers for employees, which lends itself to increased productivity.
Communicate updates and expectations
As has been the case for the past year-and-a-half, everyone is operating in a constant state of uncertainty and volatility, which can lead to a lot of anxiety and frustration for employees. Clearly communicating your organization’s plans and expectations to your team is essential to successfully navigating this period.
From how long these impacts to work and business may go on to what should be the primary daily or weekly goals, employees undoubtedly have a wide range of questions. While you may not have a concrete answer to everything (especially long-term timelines), you can at the very least clearly communicate to your team your plans for the foreseeable future and what you expect of them until the pandemic is firmly in the rearview.
Maintain a healthy and productive workforce in 2021 and beyond
In finance and accounting, staffing and recruiting is about much more than just filling a seat. It’s about finding the right people for the right positions that will help your business succeed.
At Oggi, we understand what it takes – and the talent it takes – to get the job done, taking time to understand your organization and its goals before providing a winning solution. Our team of professionals uses decades of industry expertise and a passion for people to ensure your workforce continues to deliver – whether at home or in the office. Whether in need of a short-term, long-term, or permanent solution, we are here to help facilitate lasting career connections.
Contact us today to start finding skilled and experienced finance and accounting professionals for 2021 and beyond.