Returning to the office again after a few months of home working is probably giving millions of workers a sense of relief and nervousness. Roughly 44% of working adults have had to turn their living spaces into makeshift offices; this demonstrates just how impactful the COVID-19 pandemic has been on businesses of all kinds.
That said, businesses have come to understand how easy implementing home working solutions can be. Home working can offer the same benefits as office-based work in terms of productivity, given the right set-up. It also reduces costs of operation and travel for both the business and its staff
Working in the office is great if it offers your staff increased levels of productivity; but what about when it hinders progress? Often, a large chunk of the working day is spent with staff asking unnecessary questions and trying to address problems that could be easily solved by taking advantage of cloud tools and proper procedures.
The first step to curing bad habits like these is to familiarise yourself and your staff with two states of mind in the office: the focus zone, and the interruption zone.
In the focus zone, important tasks that actively drive the business forward are completed without disruption or distraction. A lot of business owners may have found that a shift to home working made the focus zone easier to attain; simply because they were one of, if not the only person left in the office.
When your staff return to work in the office, you want to eradicate the interruption zone. This is where unnecessary questions are asked in person, and time is wasted on things that don’t contribute to success. Examples include looking for searching through your computer for an old document without knowing where to start looking, or not having a designated process for ordering the printer ink when required.
Before the COVID-19 lockdown, many employees were guilty of spending too much time in the interruption zone. To ensure that productivity levels remain high when returning to the office, bring your team together to discuss solutions for preventing these kinds of unproductive activities. Host a Teams call and outline what questions or problems are appropriate to raise and to whom they should be addressed.
Types of problems that you should always share:
- When you have a technical problem that hasn’t been addressed before.
- How to handle a specific customer complaint and whether it needs to be escalated.
Types of problems that should be solved once:
- When there is no coffee left – as simple as this is to sort each time it happens, placing a repeat order or having a designated employee to ensure you don’t run out is going to stop this from being a repeat issue.
- If you’re looking for a previously used document and it’s already stored in the cloud or on a hard drive.
So how do you prevent these problems and phase out of the interruption zone? First, you can create a simple procedure for every task and process you know about, no matter how mundane. This is where Teams and WVD (Windows Virtual Desktop) help to eliminate time that might have previously been wasted; you can upload and collaborate on processes in real-time using Teams and other Microsoft productivity apps like SharePoint, regardless of whether you are working at home or in the office.
We also recommend hosting regular, brief 121s with employees both if they are working from home or returning to the office, to ensure they are on track and working productively. Keeping a productivity log can work from some businesses, but regular 15-minute syncs can be just as effective.
Regardless of whether you are in the office or at home, less distractions and more streamlined and automated procedures will lead to heightened productivity. Talk to us today to understand how cloud solutions can help your business eliminate bad habits and recurring problems and improve the productivity of your employees.