Since the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19), employees all over the world have traded their office desks for their dining room tables. Ready or not, we’ve had to quickly adapt to working from home and figure out how to deliver results without going stir-crazy.
While many things feel out of our control right now, it’s important to focus on what we can control. Demonstrating our engagement, productivity, and commitment to our employers and coworkers is thankfully something we can work towards. If it can alleviate some of our job security concerns, even better.
Because working remotely can change how we interact and communicate, here are our best tips for how to show value to your employer when working from home. We also asked managers and team leaders working remotely to share with us their favorite tools for demonstrating productivity to top management.
1. Be Reliable and Responsive
Communication is essential in any organization, but is even more important when working remotely. The quick chats and in-person meetings facilitated by an open office environment aren’t possible when working remotely. That’s why being available on chat services like Slack, email, and over video meetings is key to demonstrating engagement.
When communicating virtually, it’s important to follow some simple rules of communicating through video calls. For example:
- Minimize external environmental noises
- Mute your microphone when not speaking
- Turn on the camera if connectivity is not an issue
- Wait a few seconds after asking questions
If you’re not used to using video conferencing tools, these tips might not be obvious at first but can go a long way to making all of your remote workplace communication smoother!
Open and frequent communication is the best way to show your employer and your team that you're involved while working from home. If you're not confident in your virtual communication abilities, taking a quick online communication skills course can provide useful techniques and actionable advice to help you.
2. Record Your Achievements
One of the most important things is being able to measure your impact. If your manager assigns you goals or KPIs to meet, make sure to write down exactly how and when you met them. This gives them easy, quantifiable data to bring to top management demonstrating the value you bring to the company.
When you’re working remotely, keep your team informed about what you’ve been working on. Send daily or weekly progress emails, maintain a shared doc with tasks listed, or have a daily video check-in with your team. Keeping everyone updated about how your work fits into the overall team structure is an effective way to demonstrate your value.
Want to go even further? Our survey of individual learners found that 60% are more likely to sign up for training in the coming three months. The top reasons for signing up for a training course is that respondents have more time (49%) and want to be more valuable to their employer (39%). If you have extra downtime due to social distancing, why not sign up for an online training course to add value to your resume and boost your professional skills?
3. Stay Present and Engaged
Remote teams may feel disconnected, so encourage your team to check-in frequently. Video conferences through tools like Zoom or Google Hangouts are your opportunity to get that much-needed facetime with your team. Try beginning each meeting with a little chit chat: ask how they’re feeling or how their day is going. Showing you care can go a long way towards becoming a valued employee.
When you take part in these video meetings, it’s important to stay present. Traditional conference room meetings may have been your time to practice multitasking. This might also be a temptation during video conferences, but it’s important to resist checking your email or working on another project.
Listen, actively nod your head, and show you’re interested in what your manager or team is saying. This can help make everyone feel connected when working remotely and will show your employer that you’re truly invested in your team.
Top Productivity Tools for Working Remotely
We sent out a request to managers and team leaders around the world to tell us what productivity tools they’re loving at the moment. These tools are great for communication, project management, and tracking productivity. If you’re eager to demonstrate your value to your team, one of the following tools can help.
Trello is a popular collaboration tool that allows you to organize and prioritize your projects in a fun, flexible, and rewarding way. Create boards, lists, and cards to divide up a project and assign tasks to members of your team.
“Project management boards are a must-have. Set up a Trello board today, get every project or task put on the board and organize from there. The whole team can see where people are and even motivate those falling behind to pick it up.”
- Paul Ronto, Chief Marketing Officer & Director of Digital Content at RunRepeat
“We use Trello as a project management tool - and every weekend, we review the Trello board and see the status of the various tasks we were assigned at the start of the week. The more complete the tasks list is, the better is the performance of the employee considered.”
- Saurabh Jindal, Talk Travel
Asana is a work management program similar to Trello that keeps your team focused on their goals, projects, and tasks--no matter when or where they work.
“With Asana, you can even create subtasks that auto-notify the next worker in the pipeline when it's time for them to jump in and complete task dependencies. You also have the ability to search for who/what tasks are holding up progress to better understand what team members may need a bit more help or guidance. I've found tools like these to be tremendously helpful for managing my team as well as myself!”
- Meg Marrs, Founder & CEO of K9 of Mine
Teamwork is a work and project management tool that helps in-house & remote teams improve collaboration, visibility, accountability and ultimately results.
“Teamwork is the time management app we use. It allows us to set up all employees as users and they can record their work in blogs, under specific tasks/clients and put an accurate time spent on it.
The dashboard allows us to see who has been working on what and when, and most importantly is each client getting the required time and attention it has paid for and expects.”
- Dustin Vann, Owner & CEO of Trusy Social
Monday.com is another project management tool that allows you to plan, run, and track remote work in one flexible program.
“We use Monday.com and it’s been a fantastic tool. Automations mean that we can assign tasks to each other easily, and there are a lot of great features in Monday that help us keep track of deadlines.
- Chris Mills, Data Marketing Strategist, hatch IT
Google Data Studio is a dashboard and reporting tool that is easy to use, customize, and share. You can transform your data into appealing and informative reports for your audience.
“Data Studio from Google is a great tool that lets you build visual data, and because it can be synced with Google Docs, it can extract data from all documents used by your team in no time, showing real-time results.
This is also where you can create a graph showing each team member's productivity and completion of all tasks. The sky is your limit here. It is easily shareable through a URL so you can send it to company owners via any communication channel.
- Karol Nowacki, Outreach Team Lead at Zety
There are many productivity tools available for demonstrating your value to your team. Use these tools to quantify and organize your goals, but don’t forget to be an open, communicative, helpful, and supportive team player. This is a difficult time for everyone, so the most important thing is to mitigate the feeling of distance caused by working remotely. Be there for each other, be kind, and do your best to show your engagement with your company and your team.