How to Maximize Remote Worker Productivity and Happiness

Looking at the New Workplace During the COVID Pandemic and Beyond

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07/30/2020

Colin McMahon

 

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a change—one that looks more permanent with each passing week. Remote workflow (a long-time subject of speculation and debate in the United States) is increasingly solidifying into business as usual. Workers are getting used to operating from home offices and, in many industries, managers are developing effective techniques to ensure productivity remains high despite not having (or only operating on reduced) in-person hours.

 

While essential workers will always be needed, it is up to executives and decision makers within print organizations to determine who must work onsite. Once that is accomplished, the remaining remote workforce must be maintained, uplifted, and continually refocused. In this article, Keypoint Intelligence will highlight several technologies and strategies needed to adapt your business for the new remote normal.

 

                                                            Source: My Modern Met

 

The Importance of Employee Happiness

Print providers can have the most technological optimized facility on the planet and still not make their financial and operational objectives. While embracing automation technologies and streamlining a 21st century workflow is important, it arguably still pales in comparison to the human element. 2020 has not just been a year of unexpected events—it has also been a time of unprecedented stress. Pandemics, protests, and recession have all gripped the United States, helping to ratchet up tension, depression, and anxiety. The sudden shift to remote workflows also caught the average employee as much off-guard as it did any executives and the owners.

 

One of the greatest myths that helped slow the shift to remote was the belief that a company could not have a culture without a physical office location to help cultivate one. This is not true. That said, comradery requires effort in both settings. There are no more “watercooler conversations” where employees can vent about problems and swap life stories. There are no more casual office visits to discuss plans and ideas. These situations must be replaced in virtual settings or morale may suffer. There is tension in even the most well-run company and natural ways to vent help let off steam before an explosion occurs.

 

Print companies must prioritize keeping their employees happy; firstly, because it is the humane thing to do and, secondly, because happy people tend to be more productive than disengaged people. Research conducted in part by the University of Oxford found what it describes as a conclusive link between happiness and productivity. The study concluded that workers who reported being happy were 13% more productive on average than those who did not.

 

 

Given that many have had to eliminate redundancies and downsize (processes that increase stress while lowering morale), maintaining a happy staff can help make up for any loss in headcount. Obviously, a happy worker is no substitute for a lost employee, but 2020 has presented many challenges and sadly, while businesses may not be able to take care of everyone they did before, they should make the effort to maintain the sanity and emotional health of those who remain.

 

Workers Value Remote Options and Flexibility

There is another reason to embrace more modern remote working policies. Data compiled by SmallBizGenius showed that businesses allowing remote work had a 25% lower employee turnover rate than those that did not. The research also showed that over three-quarters (76%) of employees stated they would opt to stay with their current employer if flexible, remote work options were allowed. The overall rate of remote workflow was also increasing—and this is before the COVID-19 pandemic—going up by over 100% since 2005.

 

All of this to show that robust remote workflow policies were already becoming the new normal before this tumultuous year. If print companies want to attract and retain the best of the best, they must be forward thinking and thorough in their remote and flexible policies. This requires rethinking how the average office day went in some cases and figuring how to bring those advantages over to a remote setting.

 

How Keypoint Intelligence Can Help

COVID-19 has sparked many changes; most will be largely irreversible after the pandemic ends. The accelerated shift to more remote and flexible operations is one such movement. Print companies must be willing to adapt to meet the standards of the new workplace, and Keypoint Intelligence hopes to help. We have created a series of online video presentations around the idea of “the new workplace” and what print companies can expect. Our first online panel around this topic addressed in detail the challenges of remote productivity and how to optimize employee effectiveness and happiness during the pandemic. Those who wish to learn more may watch our presentation in full, free of charge.

 

For those curious on the more technological side of change, Keypoint Intelligence’s next New Workplace online panel focused on the value of automation and how print companies can ensure they are equipped to move forward in the new remote normal.

 

In a changing world, the successful companies will be the ones with the best adaptation strategies. Future leaders of the print industry will have met the challenges of COVID-19 and embraced the future that is a new workplace.