Are you ready to be back in the office full-time?
Recent studies show that roughly 54% of adults prefer to continue working remotely after the COVID-19 pandemic (IBM, 2020). Aside from the obvious health benefit, many feel their productivity levels are higher from home as opposed to the office. Nearly 64% of respondents claim to be more productive, “even with distractions such as having children or a spouse at home with them” (Korn Ferry, 2020).
Trident President Ben Trantham quickly pivoted our company to a mostly-remote working arrangement for our employees amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Ben stated, "our core values include adaptability, innovation and people stewardship and these circumstances have provided us the opportunity to permanently give time and togetherness back to the families of our employees through the elimination of commuting and increased flexibility on working hours. As a result, the company has realized increased "buy-in" on our mission and values along with maintained, if not increased, productivity."
"As a result, the company has realized increased "buy-in" on our mission and values along with maintained, if not increased, productivity."
Working remotely is convenient for many of us but with such luxury comes more responsibility; in order to not fall behind it is important that we remotely maintain high levels of team creativity, individual productivity and employee engagement.
Can your team continue to be creative problem solvers without the face-to-face benefits like being circled around a conference table drawing up ideas on a white board? The answer is yes. Founded upon the groupthink theory, it may be helpful for managers to begin their brainstorming process by having each team member generate ideas on their own and then come together to build upon shared ideas (HBR, 2020).
Naturally, we may perk up at the thought of rolling out of bed and only being a few steps away from our “office” … hard to beat that commute! Working from the comfort of our living room has its benefits but many will quickly identify a big drawback- the MANY opportunities for distraction. Amid the chaos of our everyday home life, it is easy to fall victim to the random “popcorn thoughts” such as suddenly remembering to water the plants or change the laundry. These types of distractions could greatly hinder our work productivity if we do not maintain daily structure. In a Harvard Business Review article, Elizabeth Saunders (2017) highlights three steps everyone can take stay productive:
Establish working hours
Structure your day for success
Set boundaries with others
The importance of employee engagement has increased drastically with COVID-19 and remote working because when not in the office surrounded by our coworkers, it becomes easy to feel less connected and engaged with our company. Face-to-face interaction among employees is vital for an organization’s culture but unfortunately most businesses do not have this type of accessibility right now. So, how can we bridge this gap?
Create a time amid virtual communication that is for non-work-related conversation. For example, you may set aside 10 minutes at the beginning/end of a weekly meeting to ask about family or talk about sports.
Encourage health and wellness. This could be something small such as sending out weekly mental or physical help tips/reminders. Business News Daily (2020) noted “you can create an incentive for your team to get outside, cook a decent meal, exercise, or create some sort of healthy habit”.
COVID-19 has brought new challenges and opportunities for our workplace at Trident and all other businesses around the world. Stay tuned for future Trident blog posts as we will take a deeper dive into the topics regarding remote working.
What are some things you (or your team) have done to foster creative thinking, productivity or employee engagement while being away from the office?
Comment and let us know!
Accounting Specialist & Industrial-Organizational Psychology Graduate