25 June, 2018

5 Ways to Improve Work Performance in Your Virtual Office

When running a business from a virtual office it can be hard to stay motivated and productive. Here are 5 ways to improve work performance in your virtual office.

The modern workplace is shifting in a big way.

With conference calls and online work channels, more and more employees are working remotely.

Pretty soon, the standard 9 to 5 office job could become obsolete, and it’s easy to see why. In a virtual office, employees can work from any location in the world, usually staying connected online or by phone.

But alongside the freedom of a virtual office comes a dilemma. There are only so many hours in a day, and it can be a challenge to keep a workplace engaged when your employees are scattered all across the map.

Here are a few ways to improve work performance and make your virtual staff feel like they’re part of the team.

5 Ways to Improve Work Performance in Your Virtual Office

Improving engagement and performance in your virtual office might be difficult–but it’s not impossible.

With a little time and effort, you can shape your virtual workplace into a welcoming and productive environment–no matter where your workers are.

Here are 5 simple but effective strategies to increase efficiency in your virtual office.

1. Build a Personal Connection

Even though you want to keep things professional with your employees, just remember that they’re still human.

They have strengths, weaknesses, and desires–and recognizing these aspects in your employees will help them connect with you and your business.

Try to keep tabs on what your workers want and try to engage with them. Plan events like virtual celebrations or create a non-work related chat or Facebook group for employees to socialize.

It’s all about fostering a personal connection with your employees. You have to do more than just check up–show that you really care about them and their well-being.

Another way to build commitment is by providing personal or financial incentives. Try offering benefits, bonuses, and additional rewards. The more you invest in your remote workers, the more they’ll want to invest in the company.

Above all, it’s important that you cultivate a culture of transparency and honesty with your workers. Honest and friendly communication is the best way to get someone’s attention and keep it.

2. Spark Their Competitiveness

Sometimes all it takes to encourage loyalty and engagement is a little friendly competition.

This popular strategy is known as “gamification,” or the application of game-playing elements to non-game environments. Not only can competitions push individual employees to strive for increased productivity, but it can help build a sense of teamwork and cooperation.

Try incorporating some individual or team-based competitions and rewards for day to day activities.

Measuring performance through a competition can also help create a more standardized evaluation of employee productivity. This also helps remote employees feel more included in team rewards like promotions or raises.

3. Invest in Collaborative Tools

Good communication is the key to keeping your workers engaged.

It can be hard to tell how well your employees are working if they’re not in the office. It’s vital that you build trust in your employees and encourage constant communication.

Invest in some collaborative tools that can help keep your whole team connected. Here are some options to consider:

  • Slack offers real-time messaging for workplaces, along with the option to organize the chat into different channels
  • Basecamp is a project management tool which allows you to keep all your work and communication in one place
  • Microsoft Office 365 provides several office apps for your computers and mobile devices–including email, Skype, and file storage/sharing

Once you’ve found a tool that works for you, create a schedule for face-to-face check-ins and regular updates. Not only can you track work progress, but you’ll be creating a culture of team trust and loyalty.

4. Focus on Outcomes

Setting goals can be a powerful motivational tool.

Use your communication tools to share to-do lists and set daily, weekly, and monthly goals. Make sure everybody knows what they should be working on and what their deadlines are. It helps everybody stay on track and keep each other accountable.

Be clear with your team about what you expect from them, and let them know that they should reach out to you if they’re struggling to reach their goals.

Offering your guidance and setting scheduled meetings will help your workers focus on the outcome–but don’t go too far. Give them enough space that they learn how to work towards their goals independently.

5. Enforce Time Management Policies

While you can’t monitor your employees’ every move at home or on the road, you can set some reasonable expectations for working hours.

Establish a time management policy that lays out when they should be working or how many hours you’re expecting in a day. You can also request that an employee minimize distractions to ensure that these hours are met.

Just like if they were working in an office, let your employees know that they should inform you in advance if their working hours for the day or week will be reduced for any reason–like an illness or family emergency.

If you’re contacting employees often on the phone or by email, set certain hours when they should be available. If your work allows more flexibility, you can set a requirement of how quickly they should respond to messages.

If time management proves to be an issue for your workforce, there are other measures you can take. Try scheduling time management classes or using online time management tools like Freedom or Focus Booster.

The Bottom Line

Putting together an efficient, productive, and happy remote workforce is the key to moving your business forward.

Always remember–finding new ways to improve work performance is a long process. Don’t be afraid to try new things, change your strategy, or incorporate employee feedback. This is an opportunity for learning and improvement.

When you prioritize engagement in your business, your employees will thrive–regardless of their location.

Looking for more virtual office tips? Check out our blog for more advice on the challenges facing today’s businesses.

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