Pretty much every type of workplace has distractions, but when employees work remotely those distractions can be even harder to ignore. Even the best employees can succumb to distractions that can impact their productivity and potentially the quality of their work. If you have a remote workforce, you can help them to stay on task in the following ways.
Recommend Distraction Blocking Apps
Distraction blocking apps work in different ways, but most block sites that are generally found to be distracting like Facebook. Depending on the type of work that is being done, some apps can even block internet access completely for set amounts of time. These may be invaluable for remote employees, as many are astonished to find that several hours each day in front of the computer are spent unproductively.
If you simply set assignments at the beginning of the week or month and let remote employees work on them, there is a huge possibility that employees will either feel stressed and become burned out or feel like there is plenty of time and procrastinate. Either option is a set up for failure. Communicating with employees frequently to see how things are coming can work to make employees feel like they are both supported and being held accountable for their time management.
Set Incremental Deadlines
Along the same lines as communicating frequently, setting incremental deadlines can help employees to feel obligated to work at a certain pace. Breaking down larger projects into smaller tasks and setting items to be due at a certain time or on a certain date can help employees to be more productive. Basically, work will expand to fill the amount of time given, so limit that time and watch tasks get accomplished with greater ease.
Encourage Specific Hours and Days
Remote work is flexible, which is very convenient, but can also be burdensome if employees end up working late nights and through the entire week. The best hours and days may vary depending on whether the remote worker has children and other obligations, so making work hours nine-to-five, Monday-to-Friday may not work in all situations. Hashing out optimal hours with each employee and then encouraging them to stick with those hours can make it easier for you to reach them when needed and can help them to minimize their own distractions.
Recommend Workplace Settings
Working from home sounds wonderful to most people, but can actually be quite difficult when home distractions like family, neighbors, and food intrude on work hours. Recommending that employees relegate themselves to a distraction-free environment like a set room or even a coffee shop or library may be the epiphany that they need to begin mitigating distractions and becoming more productive. Sometimes a change in environment can work wonders for mitigating distractions.
If you have a remote workforce, having a conversation with your employees about distractions can be helpful. After that, you can recommend one or more of these tips to help your employees stay on task.