With everything going on in the world, many companies are letting employees work remotely. It’s seen as the best way to protect employee’s health and keep the business going. Though a quarter of the workforce already worked from home, this may have been part-time or as needed. Many managers and employees now work outside the office and are separated from each other. This poses a problem relating to the quality of work performance.
Companies should establish clear policies for training and working in remote locations, but many were thrown into it because of the changing circumstances surrounding COVID-19. Fortunately, there are options available for improving work performance.
COVID-19 Backgrounds that Make People Work Remotely
While most office workers are being asked to work remotely, other industries can, as well. For example, call centers and computer technicians can work remotely because of new technology. Security is no longer a concern, either. However, this requires high-performance work systems to be in place so that everyone knows what they’re doing. Though the work is still similar, it can be tougher to focus on employee’s work performance.
It’s essential to find out ways to improve work performance so that your employees know what is expected of them and how to be productive while working from home.
What Is Work Performance?
Many people ask us, ‘what is work performance?’ This phrase focuses on how well the person performs their role, job, responsibility, or a particular task. Usually, it’s evaluated based on documented objectives, goals, and responsibilities.
For the question, ‘what is work performance?’ we have to consider whether work is the same as a job. In most cases, the words are interchangeable. Often, employees focus on a particular task or role within the company. Generally, they should be able to:
- Deliver on commitments (get work in on time)
- Communicate effectively (with other team members and customers)
- Be part of a team
- Make appropriate decisions
- Focus on efficiency
- Comply with all regulations
- Keep quality of work performance up
- Be professional
- Have the right knowledge (about products and services)
Most employees look to their team and managers to learn, ‘what is work performance?’ However, when they are working remotely, this definition becomes blurred. It’s much easier to get distracted at home than it is at work, but there are ways around that. We discuss them later in this article.
If you have allowed or required your employees to work from home and the quality of work performance is suffering, all is not lost.
You’ve got options and can still focus on how to get good work performance from everyone on the team.
What are the Common Challenges of Working Remotely?
Before you can identify how to get good work performance from the team, you need to know the challenges of working remotely.
- Lack of in-person supervision: Managers feel that employees aren’t going to be efficient or work as hard, though some studies have shown otherwise. Employees often think that they’ve got reduced access to the rest of the team, including management.
- Lack of info: Remote workers who have never done this before find that it takes more time to get information from coworkers. Even a simple question could be a significant obstacle to a remote worker.
- Social isolation: When employees go on break, they may have no one to talk to or might miss that informal social interaction they get in the breakroom.
What Are High-Performance Work Systems?
High-performance work systems (HPWS) helps to create an organization that’s based on the empowerment, commitment, and involvement of its employees. Instead of controlling them, you are helping them succeed. The basic practices here include open communication, self-managed teams, extensive training, and flexibility.
What is work performance in regards to high-performance work systems? Learning how to get good work performance from the team starts with sharing information, reducing the status barrier, training, and offering appropriate compensation. When people feel appreciated, they’re going to work hard for the company, even remotely. However, it can be hard to implement high-performance work systems if they aren’t already there.
With COVID-19, everyone got flung into a new way of doing things, so adding more to the plate might not be the best move. Consider the pros and cons of high-performance work systems to determine if it’s the right option for your company. In the meantime, consider improving work performance in other ways (shown below) while you set up and implement the process.
- Quality of work performance improved.
- More productivity for higher profits.
- Better job satisfaction for employees.
- Supportive environment where employees feel comfortable.
- Competitive environment (might be discouraging for some).
- Feelings that outcomes are more valuable than people.
- Fear factor reduces innovation.
- Possible high staff turnover.
As you can see, high-performance work systems are a possibility, but they can backfire without the right mindset of the employees. Therefore, take your time and show people how effective this merge can be. It’s going to help them feel relaxed during these unsettling times.
How to Get Good Work Performance
What is work performance? We’ve been talking about it this whole time, as it’s the basis of what an employee does. Typically, you work with your staff when they have issues. This is often the best way to take care of issues early and keep everything running smoothly. However, it’s harder to do that when everyone works from home.
As the manager, you can improve an employee’s work performance by setting clear goals or milestones. Let your team know what they need to do each day or week. Of course, they should also have objectives for themselves and a clear way to get things done on time. Make sure they understand any deadlines and consider creating a shareable online calendar to remind everyone what’s going on.
An employee’s work performance often depends on how well they have scheduled and prepared. You can’t be there to remind them of what’s on the agenda, but you probably didn’t do that before. Be mindful that they are at home and have other distractions, but let them know they have to continue working and keeping up the quality of work performance.
Since you can’t be around the team, consider using video conferencing throughout the day for mini-meetings. This helps you see what everyone is doing and their workspace setting. Pay attention here so that you can offer suggestions later. These can include:
- Limit distractions
- Use the right tools
- Support each person’s individual productivity needs
- Set appropriate goals
These are all ways to improve work performance for remote employees.
Tips for Improving Work Performance in Employees
Though we’ve touched upon improving work performance, now is the time to get down to it. You don’t have to make each of these tips a best practice or rule, but you should inform your team of these ways to improve work performance. That way, they can use the ones that seem right to them and be more productive – even while working at home.
1. Schedule Breaks
When employees work remotely, they often feel that they can take time out of the workday to wash dishes and handle domestics. Gently remind them that they should keep the same or similar schedule as they do while at the office.
It keeps them focused on work, but it also helps them take a break to refocus and relax. This is one of the easiest ways to improve work performance because anyone can implement it in their daily lives.
2. Reduce Distractions
Most employees have families or other people living in the home. Therefore, they’re going to get distracted by children, spouses, roommates, and more. They may not realize that they have the power to say no or to have a separate room in the house designed solely for work. Improving work performance starts by reminding employees that this is a job. Just as they cut out distractions at the office, they should do this at home.
Effective ways to do this include:
- Creating a work schedule where you aren’t bothered at specific times
- Asking for help from family/friends (or hire a babysitter)
- Closing the home office door when you absolutely can’t be disturbed
- Stay off social media (avoid digital distractions) unless you’re on a scheduled break
3. Make Them Accountable
You may find that an employee’s work performance automatically improves somewhat when they are more accountable for their actions. Ask them to check-in at specific times throughout the day. That way, they know what’s in store for them if they aren’t on the schedule to complete their work.
Improving work performance with accountability can also be easy to implement. However, you’ve got to make sure that you’re available when it’s time for their follow-up. If they’re waiting for you to respond to their messages and check their work, they aren’t getting much done right then.
4. Have the Right Tools
Whether your employees have standing desks or not, they can benefit from having the right tools for the work they do. When they want to continue sitting and working, they can lean back and still use a monitor stand to avoid eyestrain.
It’s possible to stand completely and do most of their tasks, too.
5. Use Time Management Apps
Most people don’t have to be told when it’s break-time, but at home, the lines can get blurred. An employee’s work performance can be improved when they use time management apps. They can download them to their phone to boost productivity and get the job done on time.
If your employees ask how to get good work performance, let them know about such applications. They can be programmed to block out distractions, enhance your focus, and plan the day. Of course, there are many options out there, but you can research them and ask the team to use the same one. Some apps also allow reporting features, so you can track what your team is doing.
6. Where They Set-up the Office
Most people think that the quality of work performance is solely based on that person’s ability to do their job. However, they have had a significant change in their life by being allowed to work from home. They may not be sure of what to do or what they need. However, you can talk to them about their office setup. Most people desire to keep things the same at work and at home, so they use similar aspects.
They may keep the computer in the same location as their office desk. Others might not think that way and require a little push in the right direction.
How to Get Good Work Performance with Autonomous Smart Items
Most people don’t realize that the quality of work performance depends on the tools the person uses while working. For example, your work is going to suffer if you sit in an uncomfortable chair all day. Studies have shown that you should be using an ergonomic chair because it helps you sit up straight.
If you want to know how to get good work performance from your employees, take a look at their office setup. Of course, the right chair is essential, but they shouldn’t be sitting for long periods, either. You may be primarily focused on your employees’ work performance each day, but this includes exercise and the right products.
A standing desk is one of many ways to improve work performance. Employees can stand up and stretch the muscles while continuing to work. That way, they don’t slump while talking on the phone or typing.
L-shaped standing desks are often overlooked, but they can be a great way to stay organized. Though you may not realize it, this is just one of many ways to improve work performance at home. If the desk is cluttered, it makes it harder for people to focus. The computer monitors and keyboard can be in the corner part with paperwork and other things off to the side. This reduces distractions and helps employees do their job.
What is work performance? It’s the way someone handles a job, responsibility, or task. Usually, it’s evaluated based on the typical duties of anyone in that role. At times, it can slack off, especially if you’re now allowing your team to work remotely.
We’ve discussed many ways to improve work performance, some of which include tips and tools that can be beneficial. Ergonomic chairs and standing desks are smart office furnitures that can help people stay on track and be comfortable while doing it.
If you’re having trouble with a remote employee’s work performance, all is not lost. You’ve simply got to give them the tools to be successful and have an open discussion with them about what you expect.
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