What can you learn from the mechanics of booming businesses?
They put great emphasis on creating an ideal work environment for their employees.
Employee productivity is the backbone of successful business enterprises. In recent years, many virtual startups had to shut down because they weren’t able to evolve with the changing business management practices and policies, particularly in the post-pandemic era. The pandemic has accelerated the remote work trend at a pace that is hard to ignore. It has brought with it a tremendous change in the working dynamics of remote employees and managers.
This disruption in the work setting has a negative impact on remote employee engagement. It is why at this point, it’s more important than ever before to apply strategies that create an ideal remote work environment for your team.
But how do you find the best ways to ensure an ideal workplace culture in a virtual workspace? Well, that’s exactly what we’ll dive into in this blog.
- A dedicated workspace without distractions
- Availability of the right equipment and tools
- An Efficient project management system
- Flexibility in working style and hours
- Focus on output instead of hours worked
- Mutual feedback is encouraged
Strategies to Create an Ideal Workspace
Here is a list of strategies that will help you to mitigate remote work challenges and eventually create an ideal workplace culture.
1. Create a Comfortable Workspace
Your immediate physical environment shapes the state of mind you bring to work.
Recent studies showed that only 49% of remote workers have a dedicated workspace at home, and the remaining 51% work from their bedrooms (could even be the bed!) or shared living rooms with their kids.
Remember Professor Robert Kelly’s live BBC interview?
Besides distractions, uncomfortable sitting for long hours can also result in long-term health issues affecting employees' productivity.
A comfortable (preferably ergonomic) work chair and desk, good lighting, earphones, speakers, and a peaceful secluded background with an efficient internet connection are essential to a productive workspace.
Make sure your employees have a dedicated workspace with all the right tools, equipment, and resources if you aim to retain top talent and enhance business productivity.
2. Keep the Working Hours Flexible
There is a reason that the remote work trend is on the rise, and so many people prefer to work from home. Keeping the work schedule flexible can allow your team to work at times when their productivity and focus are at their peak.
According to the Staples Workplace Survey, 90% of employees said flexible work arrangements will boost employee morale.
It also creates time windows for them to pursue specialized training courses and enhance their skills. Or to meet certain family obligations that might keep them mentally preoccupied at work and, therefore, unfocused!
A strict 9-5 schedule may cause a lack of motivation and engagement. On the contrary, a healthy workplace allows individuals to customize their working hours and styles.
Celebrate the fact that everyone works differently and can produce better results if they are in charge of their time!
3. Automate Repetitive and Boring Tasks
Repetitive tasks become meaningless for employees. They lose interest in work and might even fall into boredom which is a major productivity killer.
Introduce automation of tasks that do not require problem-solving skills to preserve employee engagement. Several digital tools on the web can assist your employees in organizing data and increasing the workflow of projects.
You can also reduce the number of tasks assigned to each member by incorporating productivity tools in your planning and processes.
Managing the employee workload equitably promotes a sense of goodwill and understanding, one of the basic requirements of a productive workplace.
4. Clear Communication
Clear and effective communication is the key element of a productive workplace culture. Bernard Shaw couldn’t be more right when he said that the single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place!
Ensuring that instructions are direct and uncomplicated is even more important for a virtual workforce. If you solely rely on texts and emails, there is a greater chance of miscommunication.
Have regular video chats with your employees to make up for face-to-face interaction common in a regular office. You can answer their queries in person, and it eliminates any ambiguities that might cause delays and poor workflows.
Keep multiple channels of communication open for the employees, like Google Meet or Zoom, for visual communication in addition to audio calls, emails, and texts.
Your employees should be able to reach out to you in case of any troubleshooting scenarios.
5. Encourage Mutual Feedback
Mutual feedback should be an important part of your workplace culture. Let the employees know their strengths and weaknesses so they are more aware and can work on personal improvement.
Similarly, welcome your team members to share their opinions and suggestions regarding any procedure or process. It builds up an environment of trust and confidence in each other.
There is always room for improvement at the workplace, and it can only be accomplished with constructive and mutual feedback. It creates an atmosphere for better collaboration for team productivity.
You grow best as a team when you are ready to learn from each other.
6. Recognize and Reward Employees
Feedback can easily become counterproductive and demoralizing if it only focuses on flaws and deficiencies. Every employee has some unique value that needs to be recognized and appreciated so that they strive to do even better.
Reward your employees on their individual performance and highlight their positive attributes to raise their morale.
Positive reinforcement: Inspire your team with positivity and respect, and watch them go the extra mile to add value to their input.
7. Have Well-Defined Goals
Set clear goals and expectations to help your team stay focused and engaged. Define the objectives of the project/tasks and share them with your team.
This will help everyone understand what they are working towards and how their contributions fit the bigger picture. Your team will be more engaged if they understand the value of their work.
Make sure that projects’ timelines, milestones, and deliverables are effectively communicated so everyone is on the same page.
Establish clear guidelines, such as how often team members should check in, what tools should be used for communication, and how quickly they are expected to respond to messages.
This will also indicate that everyone is reachable and accountable and that any issues or concerns can be addressed quickly.
8. Encourage Regular Breaks
Remote workers often struggle to maintain a work-life balance. Taking breaks can help reduce stress and prevent burnout.
Studies have shown that creating opportunities for movement through “microbreaks” can help employees manage their energy and stay engaged throughout the day.
It will make your team more focused and better able to concentrate on their tasks when they return to work with a fresh perspective.
A quick walk or a few minutes of relaxation in the open air can help employees recharge their faculties and prepare them to welcome more challenging tasks.
Encourage your employees to take regular breaks and prioritize their physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
9. Informal Discussions
Remote work can be isolating, and informal communication can help prevent feelings of disconnection/detachment and loneliness.
Lighten the moods at work by promoting informal discussions and open communication every now and then. It will make your employees feel connected to their colleagues and your enterprise.
When you promote having light conversations, you indicate that the organization values its remote employees and is invested in creating an employee-friendly culture.
Having friendly relationships at the workplace fosters a sense of belonging and promotes team collaboration by creating an understanding between the team members.
Practice virtual coffee breaks where everyone can share what’s up in real time, have a laugh, and feel listened to.
10. Track Productivity, Not Hours Worked
To establish a flourishing business, it's crucial to focus on the results delivered rather than the number of hours worked.
Micromanaging employees by tracking their every move can be counterproductive and may divert their attention from important tasks, ultimately leading to diminishing productivity.
Instead, help your team members become more aware of how they spend their time by using non-invasive time-tracking tools like timegram. This will allow employees to identify their peak productivity hours without being micromanaged.
It will also help you delegate tasks based on individual capacity and willingness rather than roles and titles so you can focus on the actual output to measure productivity.
You can use time-tracking reports to identify areas that need improvement without distracting employees.
Make your business run more efficiently by focusing on supervision, not surveillance, which might restrict your team's creativity.
Summing it Up
The workplace environment can significantly impact employee well-being and job satisfaction, which, in turn, can affect productivity, retention, and overall organizational success.
Prioritize implementing employee-centered policies like effective and open communication, flexible work schedules, introducing the right productivity tools, and non-invasive time-tracking to create the perfect workplace for maximum business productivity.
timegram Helps You Measure Employee Productivity Without Invading Their Privacy
timegram is a zero-surveillance time-tracking software that allows your team to gauge productivity patterns and plan their day accordingly. They can choose to log private data (which of course, is irrelevant to the tasks assigned) from Highlights, so you, as a manager, will know the exact number of hours employees spend on each task.
An accurate estimate of your team’s capacity significantly improves time and project management for you while creating an environment of trust and accountability, which is crucial for optimal business productivity.
How do I describe a workplace environment?
A workplace environment combines the physical, social, and cultural conditions in which people work. It includes;
- The physical surroundings include the office layout, lighting, equipment, furniture, and noise level.
- The social environment includes how employees interact with one another, including teamwork, communication, and collaboration.
- The cultural environment includes organizational values, policies, attitudes, and behaviors.
What is a positive work culture?
A positive work culture is one where employees feel supported, valued, and engaged. It is an environment where:
- there is open communication between coworkers
- employees are encouraged to take on new challenges and grow their skills
- employees feel a sense of purpose and fulfillment in their work
- achievements and contributions are publicly acknowledged
- a clear direction and constructive feedback are provided
- work-life balance is prioritized
What are the 4 types of Work Environments?
There can be multiple types of work environments depending on the organizational policies. The 4 basic types are:
1. Open Skeptical
In an open skeptical environment, employees are encouraged to ask questions and share their ideas and opinions, which increases employee engagement and productivity.
In a communication-focused environment, there is a strong emphasis on open communication and collaboration among employees and management. The workplace structure and policies focus on building positive relationships and mutual trust to create a cooperative environment.
3. Individual Focused
An individual-focused work environment allows employees to work independently and customize a working style best suited to their productivity. In such an environment, there may be less emphasis on collaboration and teamwork and more on individual achievement and performance.
In a team-based environment, employees collaborate to achieve shared goals and objectives. It involves sharing responsibilities with your team members and building strong professional relationships with colleagues to develop teamwork skills and reward team players.