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How Smart HR Managers Improve Employee Productivity in Remote Work Setups It has become imperative for organizations to invest in an effective and robust Human Resource Management System (HRMS) to ensure their workforce remains engaged.

By Saurabh Kumar Edited by Heather Wilkerson

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The traditional 9-to-5 approach to working is coming to an end in several industries. Employees are no longer willing to work long hours glued to their desks with little to no breaks. The culture of working remotely has made things more accessible and more flexible for both employees and managers.

Plus, the global pandemic has increased the prominence and relevance of working from home. The use of online collaborative platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and Slack has made organizations and professionals across the board switch to remote working.

However, while remote working comes with several benefits, it also has its challenges. When the functioning of an organization shifts to virtual platforms, HR managers need to make sure that productivity and engagement are not affected by the same. It is essential to refine the HR management processes to make the environment conducive to remote working.

Related: Is Remote Work Getting Stale? Here's How to Freshen It Up

Before we get to the processes undertaken by HR managers to enhance employee productivity, let us talk about the major benefits of working remotely.

Key benefits of remote working — for employees and managers

  1. Improved work-life balance
    "All work and no play" are never advisable for an employee, regardless of the industry. On-premise working often tends to exhaust employees as it confined them to limited space all day long. Also, in working overtime, employees often have to compromise their leisure and personal life to work at their offices.

    Working remotely, employees can work while spending time with their loved ones. Instead of taking dedicated breaks while working on-premise, employees can time their work and take breaks at their convenience. Also, when employees are not confined to a physical location and time for working, they can work remotely while traveling and spending their time wherever they want.
  2. Increased freedom
    Naturally, when employees work remotely, they have more freedom to work from wherever they want, at any time. If an employee needs to attend an important family gathering during traditional work hours, remote working allows them to attend the gathering and work at night instead. When employees get more freedom to work, it results in increased engagement and productivity within the organization.

  3. Cutting down costs
    When employees work remotely, the organization can save money as several costs are cut. With no physical workspace, the company can save money that would have otherwise have been spent on office rent, furniture, electricity, and a range of other expenses. This allows the organization to make other investments that reap more returns.

  4. No restriction on hiring employees
    When an organization has a dedicated office space, it limits the geographical boundaries when it comes to hiring employees. Remote working allows you to hire employees from any location across the world. All your employees need is an internet connection and an efficient collaborative platform to work for you. This helps you recruit dedicated and deserving talent from across the world without any restriction.

Related: You've Been Tracking Employee Productivity All Wrong

Enhancing employee productivity in remote work setups

Here are some of the major ways HR managers enhance employee productivity within an organization in remote work setups.

  • Implementing a modern employee service desk
    Employee service desks have come a long way. Traditionally, the implementation of service desks was limited to the physical premises of a company. Its functionality was limited to employees working on-premise with mediocre support.

    In 2021, organizations have been using modern employee service desks that are conducive to working remotely. These service desks use AI and machine learning, with the platform being integrated with online collaborative platforms. This allows employees working remotely to access the service desk simply by logging into the collaborative platform.

    The modern service desks provide personalized solutions to the issues faced by employees. The use of conversational AI allows them to employ AI chatbots that assist employees until their issues are resolved. These virtual assistants understand the questions asked, scan your enterprise knowledge base, and provide employees with unique and tailored solutions just for them.

    Apart from providing remote employees with seamless support, the AI-driven service desks help them automate repetitive tasks to save time and effort.

  • Onboarding remote employees the right way
    If you manage to onboard your employees the right way, you can significantly increase their productivity. Especially when you are onboarding remote employees, you need to make sure that their first few weeks go well.

    Apart from providing seamless assistance to your employees and helping automate processes, modern service desks can also be used for onboarding remote employees. HR managers use these platforms to create personalized emails and send them to every new employee as they join the organization. These emails consist of important information, including login credentials, contact details, company policy, information about orientation and lots of other details.

  • Creating the right management plan
    The traditional management plan rarely works when it comes to remote employees. Organizations often make the mistake of continuing with the same plan in place for on-premise functioning. It is important to alter older plans or chart new ones to increase employees' productivity working remotely.

    While setting a new management plan, HR managers set dedicated targets and milestones to help employees achieve more and give 100%. They set priorities to channel the business processes in the right direction and make optimum use of the available resources.

  • Regular monitoring of work
    When it comes to remote employees, it often becomes difficult to keep track of their work daily. Physical workspaces allow managers to take regular reports, provide feedback and monitor work effectively.

    To increase the productivity of remote employees, HR managers focus on obtaining regular reports through collaborative platforms. They make use of virtual workspaces to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the employees provide their work status regularly.

    This allows managers to keep track of the productivity of every employee and take relevant measures to increase the same.

  • Providing remote training
    If you require your employees to be trained in specific skills, you cannot afford to ignore training remote employees. Well-trained employees always tend to add to the productivity of an organization.

    HR managers can make use of modern service desks equipped with microlearning. This allows them to get their employees trained by themselves and helps them learn all the necessary skills effectively.

    With modern service desks, HR managers can access all relevant training resources within the knowledge base and access remote employees. This allows the employees to learn at their own pace and have their doubts cleared through the service desk.

    Moreover, these service desks allow managers to provide training content in engaging formats, deviating from the traditional plain texts and tutorial videos. They can set milestones at different stages, gamify the training sessions, and ensure that they can retain the information consumed.

    This allows the remote employees to get self-reliant and feel motivated to work better, thereby leveraging their productivity.

  • Limiting video meetings
    Although it is vital to obtain regular reports and monitor the work done by remote employees, HR managers need to ensure that there are fewer video meetings.

    Many managers and team leaders make the mistake of assuming that regular video calls and virtual team meetings are important for improved employee productivity. In reality, you should limit the frequency of such calls and let the employees focus on their work.

    Collaborative platforms like Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Zoom and Slack, can always be used to stay in touch during work hours and interact with employees across the organization. It is important to brief your employees about their responsibilities and give them enough time to focus. Excessive video calls only distract them from work and harm their productivity.

  • Giving importance to mental well-being
    While remote working has given enough flexibility and comfort to employees, it has blurred dedicated working hours. When employees work from the exact location they relax in, they tend to overwork and find themselves working beyond the dedicated work hours.

    HR managers should have fixed working hours for every remote employee to ensure their mental well-being. Unless it is imperative, always encourage your employees not to attend to work-related calls or emails beyond their working hours. This helps them focus on work and enjoy all the benefits of working remotely. Always remember that your employees will be able to give their best only when they are mentally healthy.

Related: 6 Ways Small Businesses Can Prioritize the Mental Health of Their Employees

The final word

Remote working is a relatively new trend and needs much attention. Follow the approach discussed above to provide a conducive work environment to your remote employees and increase their productivity.

Saurabh Kumar

CEO of Rezolve.AI

Saurabh is CEO at Rezolve.AI where he working to leverage AI to reimagine the first level of employee support. Prior to launching he was running a digital strategy and consulting firm Negative Friction. He has worked in various senior roles in the banking and healthcare industry.

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