I decided to write this blog after the rise in popularity of recent MainSpring blogs on productivity. What lessons have we learned in the past twelve months, and do productivity tips stand the test of time?

Whether you are working from home (WFH) or in an office environment, managing your email inbox is still a concern for many. Many have responded that WFH has actually increased the traffic in their inbox. This MainSpring blog with email inbox tips stands the test of this year’s business environment.

As many of us continue to work from home, a blog written by team MainSpring in 2020 is still valid. Click on the link to find ways to inspire your WFH employees in 2021.

With a review of lessons learned and peeling back the onion, there are additional ways to remain productive. Or maybe even thrive in the face of challenge. In this blog, I outline ways to keep your team productive, combat Zoom fatigue, and tackle an increase in workload.

A time for business

In the Spring of 2020, business leaders were left to wonder if employees would remain productive in the new world of WFH. As weeks turned into months, some business team leaders were surprised by a surge in productivity. Statistics show that WFH employees spent more time at their home desks than initially anticipated.

This may initially sound like a positive outcome. Employees are not lounging on their sofas, binge-watching Netflix. They are spending an unusual amount of time working on business projects.

Over months, team leaders have noticed the negative impact. Employees are showing signs of WFH burn-out and are spending too many hours in their home office. Productivity is waning, and so is creative thinking. Life is out of balance.

Bring balance back to your business and enjoy a surge of creative, solution-based ideas. Business leaders can bring balance back to an organization. Here are 5 ways to get the balance back to your business.

  1. Encourage efficient work and not more work hours. Make a list of technology that can promote efficient work without adding hours to the workday. Consider upgrading or establishing an intranet or even an app for smartphones and tablets.
  2. As we continue to WFH, offer flex time to your team. Does it matter if work on a project is done during regular business hours, or is it to finish the project on time?
  3. Ensure that everyone takes their vacation, comp time, and breaks.
  4. Promote creativity and encourage your team to think out of the box. Be open to encouraging employees to propose new standard operating procedures and even projects.
  5. One way to create balance in the workplace is to hire a contractor. For details, keep reading.

Slow the Zoom

Raise your hand if you have Zoom fatigue.

“The daily time spent on video chat calls has increased 277% since March 2020”—Rescue Time

Early in the COVID pandemic, companies used video calls to create a community. Team members re-arranged their home office to portray the best video call backdrop. Lists of Zoom tips surged across social media. Company Zoom time quickly leaped from meetings to team happy hours and coffee breaks.

Perhaps, we added too many video calls to the business day. Have you replaced a quick PM chat or email with a video call on the calendar? Ask your employees if they would be more productive if video calls were limited. Reflect back to pre-COVID months. If a one-hour weekly team meeting fits the need then, consider scaling back your video meetings to truly cover your needs now.

Or your team may have had a “meeting overload problem” before the COVID pandemic. If you scheduled too many meetings each week before COVID, you are likely now scheduling too many video meetings. It is time to act.

Poll your employees to gauge their video call and meeting burn-out. In your organization, video calls may have now become counterproductive. Is it time to scale back video meetings and add new technology?

In place of video meetings, consider a business chat/messaging application. We’ve found Microsoft Teams to be a great solution. Here is a list of other business communication software applications to discuss with your technology partner.

Hire a contractor

In the DC, Maryland, and Virginia (DMV) region, the economy shows signs of recovery. With recovery comes new projects and new business ventures. It may be time to increase productivity by hiring additional employees. Or you may need a new skill base to carry a project over the finish line.

It is a great time to hire a contractor. Below are just a few of the reasons why:

  1. They will bring a new point of view to your team while increasing productivity.
  2. Often, you can find a contractor or outsourced firm with a focused skillset, such as IT technology management.
  3. You can hire a contractor for a pre-determined time. Hire to fix a problem, to complete a project, or on a monthly/annual contract.

Hiring a contractor may be the solution to help your organization compete in today’s marketplace. MainSpring is an IT service provider in the DMV region. Read our bi-monthly blog and review our IT strategy and support services.

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