Times they are a-changing… Whether you are relatively new to working from home or have been telecommuting for a number of years, focusing on your career during a global pandemic is no easy feat. It is no longer possible to step out the office and grab a coffee with your colleague for a quick break if you’re feeling swamped at work. Employers and employees alike are tasked with finding new, creative ways to connect with our co-workers to keep communication and productivity levels high. While some employees may face distractions when it comes to setting up their home office – such as partners, pets or kids – there are also a number of positive lifestyle adaptations that have made working from home more favorable than operating out of an office.
Maryland-based, ShieldCo, who design and manufacture custom branding and signage, conducted a survey of 100 business owners across the Old Line State to examine employees’ productivity levels while working from home. Interestingly, it was found that a significant 42% of Maryland business owners say working from home actually increases their employees’ productivity. There could be numerous reasons for this, including employees getting extra hours of sleep each morning by avoiding their daily commute. It may also be that employees are putting in extra effort in an attempt to highlight the value of their work to their employer, for example picking up more hours.
For local business, ShieldCo, things have certainly changed in terms of how things operate. The brand has ventured into manufacturing face masks and shields to help the community combat the effects of the crisis. They have also partnered with a company that implements the use of UV light to disinfect masks.
ShieldCo CEO, Luke Markey, says he is more concerned about his team’s mental health than sales or production numbers during this time. Here are some pro tips he recommends for maintaining a sense of teamwork while working from home:
Check in on your team. During trying times, employees appreciate a little extra time dedicated to making sure they are coping. A system can only operate optimally if all gears are good to go!
Schedule regular team calls to stay connected with your employees. You can also set up a main webcam on a daily basis so team members can virtually ‘stop by’ to ask questions or just to chat.
Use file sharing software so that when someone has a question, it is sent to the entire team and anyone can answer. Think of it as an attempt to replicate the act of spinning around in your desk chair and asking a question to the whole office.
Advocate and encourage taking regular breaks. Sitting in front of a screen all day, every day can be straining on your eyes and mental health. Encourage employees to take 5-minute breaks if they are struggling with balancing work and home life.
Reassure each member of their value to your team. Not being in an office can take toll on work ethic as it is easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. Remind your team that each of them plays an important role in achieving your overall brand goal.
Arrange virtual teambuilding activities, such as after-work office drinks or quiz nights to keep spirits high.
‘Now more than ever, it is crucial that business owners are present for their entire team. Having to adapt your business model to accommodate those who wish to work from home is an important step in making sure you achieve your brand goal, even in the face of adversity,’ says CEO of ShieldCo, Luke Markey. ‘Take the time to get to know your individual team members in order to reassure them of their value to your brand during these trying times.’