How to increase your team’s efficiency during Coronavirus

remote-work-coronavirus

There’s no arguing that 2020 has brought some massive changes in the way people do life, especially when it comes to work. In the midst of this pandemic, your team must cope with emotional stress (protecting their mental health and physical wellbeing, fixing the disruption in their daily routine) and economic pressure (fear of losing their job, having to pay rent, the scarcity of promotions and bonuses) while maintaining high productivity levels. That’s quite a lot to handle. Here’s how your team can rise above these challenging times and really thrive.

#1 CREATE A BALANCED PERFORMANCE CULTURE

One way to keep your team motivated and engaged is to foster a balanced performance culture. There are two types of performance, tactical and adaptive, and these two are the yin and yang to effectiveness:

Tactical performance refers to how well your team sticks to rules, checklists, and standard operating procedures, and how consistent they are following your business strategy while using resources efficiently. It’s like making sure your burger stays exactly the same every time you make it without having the sauce drip all over the place or losing quality. Think in terms of a franchise-oriented business where the core value is consistency.

Adaptive performance refers to how well your team diverges from your business strategy in order to develop new and better ideas, products, and services. It’s like experimenting with your burger, changing one ingredient at a time or the entire recipe altogether. Think in terms of a  dining-oriented business where the core value is innovation.

Balancing these two in a time of global crisis is not impossible, but you have to be intentional about switching from a “fight-or-flight” mentality to one of growth and stability. 

#2 REDESIGN THE REMOTE WORK ENVIRONMENT

People can’t seem to agree on whether remote work is effective or not, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced both traditional and progressive business models to implement, even encourage remote work due to restrictions and health concerns. Despite this, remote work differs from what it was before 2020, and the secret to increasing your team’s efficiency lies on HOW you do remote work while working from home.

Stick to a regular schedule for a sense of normalcy

Work can be a great distraction from the pandemic. Completing daily tasks may help counteract the inertia of “what’s the point of doing anything during this pandemic, anyway”? For most people, the structure of the office, the fixed schedule, the presence of their coworkers kept them focused and engaged. When working from home, make sure your team eases into a new work schedule that doesn’t disrupt their personal lives. Since you can’t clock out as you used to in your office, make sure to keep track of the hours you put in. Use a time tracking software and get your team onboard as well! If possible, finish work at a set time every day and do something significant or fun to mark the end of your work day.

Use technology to feel connected

Have an employee engagement plan that’s tailored around empathy during this pandemic. Send out employee engagement & satisfaction surveys. Gather feedback from your team and factor in their mental health, their hopes and expectations, and exhausting circumstances outside of work. Were their family members or loved ones hit by the coronavirus? How are they dealing with the anxiety and uncertainty that the pandemic generated? Granted, this pandemic is not a looming apocalypse, but it would be unwise not to consider the anxiety brought about by the coronavirus being dragged on. So, you can open a  Slack channel to substitute the catching up over the coffee break or water cooler dispenser. Or a Zoom call to mingle as often as you need. See what works best for your team.

Suspend slow-moving processes and bureaucracies

What the COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to do is cut the nonsense. Delete useless tasks, sift through the task list and discard the unessential, eliminate workflow bottlenecks, ban needless documentation, and try to make decisions in the same meeting. This new kind of work essentialism will not only help your team focus on what’s important, but also give them a breather.

This way, you’ll have more time to engage in meaningful conversations. Encourage your team to reflect on the past week or recent efforts. Ask what worked and what hasn’t. Discuss bottlenecks and inefficiencies. Make a practice of measuring backwards your goals — to review and assess which steps and processes worked in order to establish your next moves.

Set clear goals

By measuring backwards, your team will have a sense of what needs to be improved or changed. Be explicit about future initiatives and projects. Make sure your team understands their roles and duties. Employees can only be accountable for what is expected of them. The need for a resource management software that explicitly lists workloads against tasks is crucial in boosting your team’s efficiency. Also, create a contingency plan should anything unpredictable happen due to the coronavirus pandemic.

#3 MAINTAIN PRODUCTIVITY LEVELS

Remote collaboration has never been easier with shared word processing services (Google Docs), file-sharing hubs (Dropbox, Google Drive), mobile CRM, and video conferencing tools (Skype, Zoom, Meet). Not to mention the plethora of project management software out there to help your team reach their goals.

Technology enables your team to be creative and collaborate. So, give them more ownership to experiment and to create new ways of doing business. Set apart a day in the week, preferably Friday, for reflective and creative processes. This is when adaptive performance (the dining-oriented one, remember?) takes place.

When communicating with your team, one sure way to boost their efficiency is to recognize their wins. Especially since this pandemic has taken a toll on everyone’s mental health. So, increase the feedback you give your team by acknowledging a job well-done or how well they adjusted to the changes. Send them a thank you note, give them a public shoutout on Slack or a kudos on LinkedIn. Encourage the behaviors you want in your team and cheer great remote collaboration. Boost morale and cultivate bonding — make sure your team feels safe and valued.

#4 ADAPT AGILE METHODOLOGY

It’s already been stressed out how crucial agile methodology is in streamlining people’s workload, especially during this pandemic when priorities are constantly changing. You need to recalibrate your team’s agile processes, ceremonies, and sprints to ensure efficiency. Start with these two:

Rethink meetings

Due to social distancing, your team had to rethink meetings, which is a good thing! That doesn’t mean you should video conference everything now, especially if you only need to share information. So, consider asynchronous communication instead, which encourages thoughtful communication and creates a remote work “hierarchy of needs”.

The only meetings you should be hosting are problem-solving sessions, which allow your team to brainstorm and troubleshoot, to make room for innovation. These are the kind of meetings in which you identify the problems you can solve and then find win-win solutions. Your team wants a challenge or a problem they can help solve, especially if it has social implications.

Track time accurately

As mentioned before, sticking to a regular schedule gives your team a sense of routine. On one hand, you’ll be able to track the progress against your initial estimations; while your team will become more aware of their own efforts. You don’t want them to experience burnout on top of collective anxiety though. So encourage them to track 5-6 hours/day out of the standard 8 – that’s a healthy dose of work.

Takeaway

While change can be difficult, it brings opportunity and growth. In order to boost your team’s efficiency, you will have to create a culture of balanced performance, finding the sweet spot between the tactical and adaptive kind.

For this to happen, you will have to redesign the remote work environment — stick to a somewhat regular schedule, use technology to connect with your team, cut down on needless bureaucracy, revitalize slow-moving processes, and set clear goals for everyone to get on board.

At the same time, your team should feel safe and valued, so make sure you acknowledge their good work. As for the methodology, see what works best for your team in these two respects — rethinking meetings and tracking time accurately.

There’s no arguing that 2020 has brought some massive changes in the way people do life, especially when it comes to work. In the midst of this pandemic, your team must cope with emotional stress (protecting their mental health and physical wellbeing, fixing the disruption in their daily routine) and economic pressure (fear of losing their job, having to pay rent, the scarcity of promotions and bonuses) while maintaining high productivity levels. That’s quite a lot to handle. Here’s how your team can rise above these challenging times and really thrive.

Be the first to comment on "How to increase your team’s efficiency during Coronavirus"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*