47 per cent rise in productivity among those working from home

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As governments around the world told people to stay home due to the coronavirus pandemic, many businesses and workers had to adapt working from home.

With the easing of lockdown, many companies have decided to gradually ease their workforce back to the office. However, with business insights company Prodoscope suggesting there has been a 47 per cent rise in productivity among those working from home, there’s a strong argument for allowing staff to work remotely on a long-term basis.

But, as a manager or employer, it’s crucial that you keep members of staff engaged, focused and motivated when working from home.

Why is employee engagement important?

When an employee is engaged, the quality of their work and performance is likely to be at the highest possible standard.As an employer, you should do all you can to get the most out of your employees by ensuring that they’re engaged in their roles. By doing this, you will not only benefit your business, but you will also create an involved, vibrant and focused workforce.

How to motivate employees that work from home?

To keep employees engaged while working from home, you could:

Organise regular catch-ups –
Staying in contact with employees can help them to feel engaged and motivated. It can be easy for employees to feel detached from their work and their colleagues, but by scheduling regular catch-ups – preferably via video calls – you can create a structure to promote a sense of teamwork and belonging.

Encourage an office environment at home –
Many remote workers have chosen to replicate their office set ups in their homes. As a manager or employer, it can’t hurt to encourage this, as it’s only likely to benefit employees by making them feel more like they’re at work.

Set and track targets –
Whether employees are working from home permanently or temporarily, it’s far easier to keep them motivated if they have targets to work towards. Once you’ve established these targets, you can keep track of them and discuss them during your catch-up meetings.

Organise educational courses –
Professional development is something that many people want in their career, so it’s important to offer your employees the opportunity to build upon the skills they already have. There are many courses available online, including free ones, so it couldn’t be easier to provide additional training to your workers, and it benefits everyone, as you can actually make them feel more valued and present evidence that you’re investing in your workforce.

Make time for casual activities –
It goes without saying that the most crucial part of working from home is the work itself, but if you don’t make any time for casual communication, workers are likely to become mentally and emotionally drained, and this could hinder the working relationship you have with them.

During lockdown, online quizzes became popular, and it’s easy to conduct one yourself. Simply arrange a video call with multiple members of your team, prepare a selection of questions and use the quiz as an opportunity to wind down with your team at the end of the week.

Request feedback –
Nobody was prepared for the impact that the pandemic has had, but the ability of many companies to adapt almost instantly was impressive. However, this isn’t to say that all of the processes companies put in place to cater to employees working from home were correct.

As an employer, you should be open to the concept of constructive criticism and the possibility of tweaking your approach. As part of this, it’s useful to give your employees the opportunity to offer their thoughts.

Promote a sense of community with dedicated, branded live radio
It’s more difficult to cultivate a sense of team spirit and togetherness when employees are working remotely, but there are effective steps you can take to help with this. For example, you could take advantage of a branded live radio channel that your workers can stream via your apps or website. As well as playing carefully selected music that will appeal to your employees and reflect your brand, you could use live radio to keep your workers connected with the brand and each other, up to speed on company developments, industry news, training and more.

You could also create podcasts for your workers that offer in-depth, conversational content covering anything from training needs to expert insights. Your employees can then access this content at a time and place that suits them. Additionally, you could consider running interviews and phone-ins with management, as it will help to bridge the gap between employees and management, encouraging members of staff to feel better connected to the company.

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How does background music impact employee productivity?

Background music has long been used by many companies as a way to help keep employees engaged and increase productivity. As mentioned previously, one way to encourage employees to listen to background music if they’re working remotely is by using a branded live radio channel.

Music is commonly associated with altering mood depending on the type being played and its ability to resonate with the listener. Research from a number of studies suggests that background music could benefit businesses by motivating employees to work harder. For example, an experiment by Scala Radio involving 2,000 people found that productivity improved by 15 per cent when workers were listening to music during working hours. Other findings from this study were that over a quarter of UK workers use music to block out background noise and that 47 per cent of people polled said they work better listening to music.

Claims that music helps to keep employees focused are supported by research carried out by the University of Central Florida. In an in-depth study of how the brain reacts to music, the researchers explain that the hippocampus section of the brain is stimulated, causing an increase in endorphins, which leads to reduced stress and anxiety.

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