How to support your employees during work from home to ensure maximum productivity

Ever since the pandemic hit, 91% of organizations in the Asia Pacific have implemented remote work for their employees. The shift has been pretty massive. These are unprecedented times, hence for most of the companies the plans and protocols they had in place earlier might not end up delivering the same results.

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Has your firm decided on permanently working from home or adapted to a hybrid work environment? Well, it is the wisest move going forward, seeing the present scenario. However, a couple of questions might end up crossing your mind. Will the employees still deliver the same? Will, there be a need for micro-management? How will I ensure that all the projects are completed in time? 


These questions can make you question your decision of switching to remote work partially or completely. According to research, 30% of employers felt that the productivity in India reduced at the beginning of the pandemic and remote work setup. So, how do you keep your employees connected to the company’s goal and ensure nothing but maximum productivity? 

Here are some easy tips that will help you manage your employees and are you sure shots to delivering maximum productivity.


Plan expectations together with your employees


Before Covid, there were only a handful of companies that were working remotely. But ever since the pandemic hit, 91% of organizations in the Asia Pacific have implemented remote work for their employees. The shift has been pretty massive. These are unprecedented times, hence for most of the companies the plans and protocols they had in place earlier might not end up delivering the same results.


There is a need to look into it and revamp it to suit the present times. Instead of imposing KRAs on the employees, companies need to consider having a one-on-one with their employees and discuss the deliverables with them. Your employees are as new to this setup as you are, so give them the comfort of being honest with you and understand their pandemic capabilities.


Designated break time


Remember when we used to work from the office we would take a break in between to not feel burnt out and keep the productivity alive. The lunch hour where we would sit around a table and discuss both personal and professional lives. Studies show that taking a 5-minute break every hour and stretching isn’t just beneficial in increasing productivity but has health benefits too. However, ever since we moved to a remote working setup employees have been avoiding taking breaks thinking it might create a wrong impression in their employers’ eyes. This has not only resulted in employees feeling overwhelmed by work and loss of productivity.


A lot of companies hence have been encouraging employees to take small breaks in between work and connecting with their colleagues in small chat rooms and share updates of their lives. You can also host virtual stretch breaks to remind employees to get up from their workstations and move their bodies. This is a great way to connect with your colleagues.


Encourage dedicated workspace


Okay, so, needless to say, that remote work has blurred the line between work and home, we barely feel any difference. We all started with great enthusiasm and zeal but now after a year most of us end up working from our bed at times and while it is convenient it is pretty taxing to health and productivity in the long run. Even if you live in a small apartment, it is important to set up a workstation. The ideal thing to do is to not work from the place you sleep in. There are high chances that the bed will call out your name and you will end up snoozing instead of working. So, encourage your employees to set up a workstation, ask them to share pictures of their workstations- that’ll definitely help them to stop procrastinating and setting it up.


Here are some things to keep in mind when you set up your workstation at home.


Flexibility and trust 


If you are someone who is feeling the need of involving yourself in the day-to-day tasks of your employees, this one is for you. If things were still the same and people were coming to offices would you have been involved in micro-management? No, right. So, continue to trust your employees even in these trying times.


Allow them the freedom to work at their own pace, put your trust in them. Have a discussion when they are failing to deliver projects but don’t show them that you don’t them for the job you hired them to do. The more autonomy you provide your employees, the more responsible they will be, and the more productive they will be. Studies have shown that micromanagement often leads to high turnover, less employee satisfaction, and less productivity. Don’t do that to your employees.


Don’t stop the communication


While working from the office it was easier to keep track of your employees needs and outputs, remote work has definitely changed that. There is a need for constant communication now more than ever. Your employees need reassurance, want to know what steps are being taken, and what is being planned for the future.


A lot of your employees might not be having social interactions on daily basis, while it’s not your responsibility, however, it ends up affecting their productivity. So you might have to now ‘over communicate’ with your employees to ensure everything runs smoothly. Research shows that only 45% of companies have improved their communication and engagement with their employees in the COVID times. 


Importance to mental health


No one had dreamt that a movie released in 2011 (Contagion) would become a reality in 2020. And even though it has been a battle for more than a year, all of us are still pretty overwhelmed by it. People have either had the virus or lost people to the virus and that does take a toll on one’s mental health.


According to research, 48.9% of people of the age group 25-49 have either been suffering from anxiety or depression, or both. Needless to say, that it makes it difficult to deliver in the workplace. Most of your employees might not even be comfortable sharing their struggles. If you never had, this is the right time to talk about mental health, if possible have a therapist for your employees and provide them sessions in need. While it might appear as an add-on expense but imagine the effect of it in long run.


You can also consider giving a couple of days mandatory leave to your employees to take time off and rejuvenate and de-clutter their headspace. Trust us, your employees will love and rave about it.

Swetha Harikrishnan

HR Director, HackerEarth

The organization culture plays a very important role in inculcating employee care and wellbeing,an open culture from day one helps a lot.Culture is how the founders feel and reflect on different topics.We have a lof talks and organize discussions on physical and mental health issues. We celebrate diversity and inclusion and we do a lot of talks on mental health and awareness from that point of view.So that from a health point of view, we’re very, very inclusive of, and very vocally using physical, emotional, and mental health.We talk a lot about that and impact people have started using that terminology, talking to us very openly about that too.People have started using the words of anxiety and all of those things.

We have a lot of sessions we celebrate health.Sometimes we pick up specific days, mental health days awareness to create awareness, educate people, and have talks from inside our own people coming and talking to us about their journey with depression or anxiety and how they found help in just creatively journaling. And this is all done by our own people. We’ve also brought people externally from our network who come in have spoken to us about on different topics related to health, motivation,inclusion,diversity etc.

Be considerate


Even though we all are in the same situation right now the effects of it are different for each individual. While some of your employees might have their families to cope with the situation, others might have lost theirs. We have to understand that not every day can be the same, a person can be super productive and motivated one day and might find it difficult to strike even one task from their to-do list. It’s time for you to understand that it’s not like your employees are abusing work-from-home freedom.


Understand the problems, have conversations with them about a delay in deliverables if it happens and instead of threatening them to lay off or giving them warnings, work with them to resolve their issues. They might already be cursing themselves for not finishing their tasks. Remember, a leader always helps its employees to walk together leaving no one behind.


Times are tough and we have no idea if it will ever become easy or we will just continuing accepting the new turmoils and start living with them. Be the best leader you can and your employees will not just be thankful for it by delivering the best they can but also will stay loyal continue to stick around.

Hope you stay productive!