The holidays are here, which means a lot of people will be looking to work from home so they can spend more time with their families or visit relatives. The good news is, thanks to the availability of communication and collaboration platforms, such as Webex Teams, employees who want to take time away from the office don’t necessarily have to stop working. Rather than deal with the annual rush of end-of-year PTO requests, companies can loosen up their work-from-home policies to let staff members get the best of both worlds, celebrating the holidays while staying on top of their job responsibilities.
With so many distractions and communication barriers to contend with, however, businesses should plan ahead to help encourage remote employees to be more productive during the holiday season. Taking these steps can get you started on the right foot and maintain smooth business operations through New Year’s and beyond.
A remote work arrangement can be a tough transition for employees and managers alike, as telecommuters have more autonomy and supervisors have less oversight. There can be a temptation to check in on staff members and co-workers (especially when collaborating on a shared assignment or project involving multiple stakeholders) several times a day to make sure they stay on track. Some businesses will go so far as screen- or mouse-tracking software on company-provided devices to keep tabs on remote workers.
These practices can be counter-productive, however, causing friction between employees and supervisors as well as between on-site and remote workers. There’s a reason to believe that micromanaging staff is ineffective. According to a recent Airtasker survey, 39% of remote workers who had their device screens or mouse movements tracked confessed to actively looking for ways to avoid working when that software was in effect.
Does that mean remote workers should be given complete autonomy in their work? Not necessarily. It’s always a good idea to check in once in a while on employees and co-workers who are telecommuting, even if it’s a temporary arrangement.
Staff members who are working from home during the holidays may not be accustomed to telecommuting and find it easier to get distracted than individuals who have had time to set up a routine and productive working environment in their home office. Long-time remote workers have the benefit of working out the kinks and figuring out what works for them. Temporary telecommuters don’t have that luxury. Stay in contact, but don’t micromanage. It’s a delicate balance.
Employees who work remotely during the holidays aren’t necessarily tethered to a desk in their home office. They could be traveling across the country to see relatives, getting out of the house and working in a local coffee shop, running last-minute errands or otherwise on the road.
Businesses can help employees on-the-go stay connected and productive when they’re away from the office by providing collaboration software that supports a variety of devices.
Someone flying to see their relatives for the holidays will probably have a lot of downtime waiting around in airports, for instance, and that’s the perfect time to catch up on work. Mobile-friendly communication platforms let employees set up virtual online meetings directly from their smartphones. They can schedule a quick check-in with co-workers and get progress updates on ongoing projects, staying in touch with staff members through crystal-clear, high-definition video.
Employees who work from home during the holidays are anxious to get their work done as quickly as possible so they can celebrate the season with their loved ones. Truthfully, in-office employees feel the exact same way, so business leaders should do what they can to streamline workflows and help staff members get more down in less time.
Webex Teams removes collaboration and communication obstacles, inefficiencies and redundancies that otherwise cause delays and prevent employees from working quickly. For instance, the People Insights feature compiles profile information for conference call attendees from publicly available sources. There’s no need to spend a lot of time on introductions or figuring out the roles of each stakeholder on a call because that information is made available before the meeting even begins.
Webex Teams also seamlessly integrates with a wide variety of third-party software platforms like Trello and Salesforce, so employees can do more work in a single interface. They don’t have to spend time on swivel-chair work that forces them to move between screens and applications because they can manage everything from one platform.
Employees who work remotely can be – and often are – just as productive as their in-office counterparts. We hope these ideas help you and your employees bring more success to your business this time of year.
Learn more about how Webex video conferencing and team collaboration software gives its users an entire suite of features to stay in direct contact with their co-workers and managers throughout the holiday season.
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