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Work From Home Productivity: Tips From Blue Label Labs

| April 2, 2020

All companies – especially those that work as a geographically dispersed model – are subject to stumbling from time to time meaning it’s crucial to maintain work-from-home productivity. Building company culture is one thing, but coming back from a falter is another matter.

Where you ask developers, engineers, mechanics or anyone who builds or repairs sophisticated technology will tell you it’s much easier to build from scratch rather than fix what’s broken. Hence, it’s easier to build a great foundation through exercising best practices than to continually patch shortcomings with work-from-home productivity. Let’s go over some tips we use learned from the last 10 years of working as an entirely remote company.

Maintaining work-from-home productivity through culture

Creating a great culture seems obvious to some. Dating back to the times of ancient Egypt the saying (or something close to it) “Do onto others as you’d like done to yourself” surface. This ethos has been applied to everything from geopolitical relationships, country culture and all kinds of organizations.

Using communication as the basis, a healthy work environment roots itself in developing a standard of quality around products and services, providing freedom via autonomy and trust, as well as a carrying out conversation face-to-face, just to name a few. Remember that happier people are better performers.

Tips for sustaining and improving work-from-home productivity

In the wake of COVID-19, many companies are transitioning to a work-from-home model that we’ve employed for over a decade. The following are tips we use to keep our team in top shape and productive.

Mandate the use of central project management tools. When people aren’t clear on their tasks you’re not only going to have productivity issues, frustrations surface. Lack of direction is unacceptable as there are plenty of project management tools circulating in the market.

Use project management tools to ensure everyone knows what their deliverables are and when they are expected. Our nexus app is Asana, among other PM tools, which is updated regularly by the project manager on a daily basis. This keeps everyone in the loop and dissolves the confusion that stems when someone isn’t clear on what they’re supposed to be doing or where other collaborators may be in a project. 

For us, Asana serves as the central repository of information, files, and more where we lay out the milestones and roadmap for completing the work ahead. Each team member (and even the client) can go to see the current state of the project to grasp our progression on each task.

Encourage exercising early in the day or at least wherever it fits into a schedule. As an employer, it can feel out of place to suggest lifestyle tips but hey, it’s 2020 and we’re in the midst of a pandemic. Aside from whatever diseases may be out to get us, there are mental health matters to consider. Take a tip from the experts: exercise is the best medicine.

You don’t need to start every day with calisthenics over Skype but it’s not a bad idea to create some collateral to help people budget time where exercise is one of the items. Some people find it best to routinely exercise while others find it easier to keep to their regimen by doing their exercise of choice when the opportunity presents itself. The key here is to make sure that you’re not pressing individuals too hard for deliverables and let them know you want team members to take the time to sweat out some stress so they don’t snap.

Respect people’s boundaries. Employees and contractors, especially when working remotely, need to understand that even though a communication tool like Slack could be running 24/7, this doesn’t mean that people are available at every given hour. As an employer, you need to respect people’s boundaries in whatever timezone they might be so you’re not encroaching on personal time.

Deadlines exist for a reason but prodding people at all hours of the day can be mentally taxing for may individuals. Make sure your team members understand this – it’s one thing when some agree to pound things out at a random hour but don’t get in the mindset that this is the norm. Make sure to respect people and let them be when they’re supposed to be away from work or when they’re clearly wrapped up in some other pertinent task.

This is why tools Asana, JIRA, and other PM software are ideal as they’re non-invasive. Rather than blow up someone’s DMs in Slack, plug notes into Asana and let them follow up when they have time. Almost o one likes to wake up to 14 rambling messages from one person about something they’re “supposed to do.” This is the crux of why we use PM tools.

Encourage employees and contractors to work with a buddy who keeps them accountable. Ask Goldman and Sachs or Hewlett and Packard – they’ll tell you that having a good business partner is the way to go. Keep this in mind when developing a strategy for staff as this tip benefits workers in a similar fashion by inherently acting as a second set of eyes plus, it offers a kind of synergy that simply helps the pair (or group) more accountable.

Encourage team members to find someone to work alongside that helps keep them on task. Often times, simply having another person you can banter with during the day helps keep things moving along. Something as simple as saying, “Hey, how are you coming with X?” even if the person isn’t working on the same project can be helpful to keep people on task instead of perusing Steam to see what games went on sale. Like in a physical office, “water cooler” chat or even bitching about some challenge their facing helps keep spirits up and individuals on task. 

Blue Label Labs minds our worker’s best interests to build the best possible apps

Working on remote teams should be easy but the fact is, building a remote culture is a challenge in itself. Blue Label Labs takes pride in cultivating a great culture thanks to following best development practices and sustaining integrity to maximize work-from-home productivity.

Touch base with our team to learn how our great culture integrates with your needs, allowing us to build best-in-class software for your business.

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