Define productivity. It is the final output you get from a person or from a machine. It is than measured by timeline, cost, quality and quantity to arrive at the final product.
An office atmosphere would have enabled regular meetings and reviews in order to ensure that projects or regular activities are on track. However, the pandemic has forced many offices to shut down temporarily and employees to work from remote places. Understandably, the regular meetings or stop-by’s are missing. Meetings occur over calls or streaming platforms and may not be very effective due to connectivity issues, local disturbances, noises or even costs.
We have very little choice but to make best use of available resources and equipment in the given situation. Let us look at some best practices or work flexibility on what an office can offer to its employees and what employees can do to ensure productivity is achieved:
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How offices can support their employees with infrastructure and equipment
Many offices encourage their employees to work from home as much as possible by providing equipment such as laptops, internet dongles or support these business-related expenses with reimbursements. Some companies have gone to the extent of providing them with their favorite office furniture too!
In the case of a manufacturing unit where employees need to be physically available to achieve productivity, the best a company can offer is ensure safe-distancing, shorter or flexible work hours to minimize exposure, safe environment in cafeterias, washrooms & rest rooms, a stand-by medical team, soaps & sanitizers, safety clothing, private transport, etc.
Blocking calendar is the best
It is always a good option to block the date and time of your team members for a meeting upfront. Recurring meetings for the whole week or day of the week can be set up on the calendars. An agenda would also help to set the expectations of the invitees.
Respect the privacy of the employee too
Working from home or remote locations come with its own challenges. Visitors may drop in, children may need attention, aged parents or dependents may need to be attended to, household or noises from pets can occur during a meeting – all of which may be beyond the employee’s control. These issues need to be anticipated and respected.
Employee wellness program
Many organisations engage their remotely working employees with online debates, games, yoga and other fun activities in an effort to maintain the office atmosphere. Mandatory and other training are also provided to keep up with the skill enhancement programs.
Employees need to be as committed to office work as it is done in office
From an employee’s perspective, they need to be as committed to office work as they were before while working out of their office. Working from home could sometimes lead to distractions and could deprioritize office work. Certain fixed timings need to be strictly allocated towards office work and some for household work. Time share will ensure harmony between both the work demands.
Keep your manager informed & engaged at all times
It is advisable to keep your manager informed regularly on the activities or project that you are working on. Challenges or roadblocks need to be brought to their attention and discussed immediately to ensure timely remedies are agreed upon and also that no surprises await them.
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In summary, it is very important for all to keep in focus the most underlying factor in business and that is productivity. The onus is on all parties to accept the situation and make the best effort to ensure productivity does not suffer.
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