How to ensure your employees stay productive in the pandemic
Six steps employers can make to maintain employee productivity
Business owners, directors and managers alike are wondering how to keep enthusiasm and commitment alive and well as workers reengineer their daily work lives. It can be worrisome: How does the business owner or manager know that employees are not just working, but are enthusiastic and productive in the process?
What steps can one take to rest easy, knowing that things are going well – even great?
With summer in full swing, employees may be preoccupied with heat, planned vacations that may have changed from destination and kids who have been cooped up. However, what hasn’t changed is the desire for time off. Everyone is bursting at the seams to escape, and who can blame them? As a manager, it can feel impossible to know whether or not workers are really working given the new normal of home offices.
With the pandemic creating new obstacles around safety and profit, many businesses have been forced to pivot into a new and unexpected business model. Old processes require revisiting and the previously expected workflows from “before” may no longer be reasonable, forcing owners and managers to make unparalleled but necessary changes.
Below are some clear steps that businesses can take to help workers stay engaged and be productive:
- Make a plan/roadmap and continually revise it if it is unsuccessful at first.
- Create a new workflow chart that details who is responsible for what and the deadlines for each task.
- Redefine roles as necessary.
- Communicate, communicate and then communicate again. Make sure each employee understands what they’re responsible for and allow for feedback.
- Take the time needed to understand the new services processes and order.
- Finally, set aside time for training and the learning. Factor in time for any new learning curves employees might need to get on board, and be able to show measurable results in the right direction.
The idea with these steps is that leadership must lead with a solid agenda and a desired outcome. However, remember that getting buy in from the entire leadership team is a must. Employee check-ins must become a part of the new road map to maintain accountability. People want to do the right thing, so communicating expectations and confirming desired outcomes affords employees the chance to do it right.
Problems can and will show up. Allow for time to sort out issues and invite employees to help present the answers. Training, communication and affording employees a voice prevents issues like over-booked employees who work too many hours, goals not getting reached, and an overall sense of resentment.
Managers should consider using an online platform for project management such as E-works, Insightly, Asana, Jira and Click up. These tools allow managers to assign tasks and put in procedures for each task to each team member to complete.
A controlled and well-planned environment that supports and empathizes with employees while clearly defining desired results helps with efficiency, clarity and, ultimately, the bottom line. Not everyone works in the same fashion, and that can be a good thing. The critical element in this “new normal” is a focused road map combined with continued communication.