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Managing Time with Staff Working Remotely

This will have birthed potential new polices around working from home and WHS, however here are some things to consider in your time management and productivity for this new work environment to succeed.

Performance Management – Effort or Output?

Working from home blurs the boundaries of what is acceptable and normal workplace conduct. Fundamental to any organisation’s performance is the outcomes, output, or production.  Does your team have a clear indication of what results are expected? These are commonly referred to as KPI’s. (Key Performance Indicators).

It is easy for a business to become regimented; stuck in its ways, too focused on process and less about output.  For example, a sales team could change their rewards or incentive schemes from number of team sales, to number of phone calls made, damaging the likelihood of secured business sales. Because the team will be focused on churning through calls, rather than building rapport to close a sale, the number of sales is likely to diminish.  This is sacrificing relationship building for phone call quantity. 

Given that home life is likely to impose upon work life, a business may wish to consider being flexible on hours worked, or hours of operation and focus more on what is achieved.

The key is finding the perfect balance between Quality and Quantity. For example, I might have a business making cakes. I could, either churn out 50 cakes in one day, but my haste and process mean I produce poor quality cakes.  Or I could spend all day making the most beautiful, stunning cake. However, producing just one cake per day is not necessarily economically viable.

Effective Team Communication

Without the watercooler to stand around in the office to get updates on where people are at, communication will be vital right now.  Some businesses have taken on tools like “Slack” to keep communication lines open. Others are using zoom to hold regular meetings.

Be careful not to get bogged down in an unnecessarily lengthy zoom call.  Ensure you have a clear agenda and consider what needs to be discussed or achieved with the whole team, from this meeting.   Remember a one hour meeting with ten people, is not one hour of time lost. It is a collective ten hours.  Consider what can and should be discussed outside of a group zoom meeting, such as the one-on-one meetings you may need to have with the team you are managing.

Now, more than every you will need methods of communication to keep well informed of the ‘Work in Progress’ (WIP). Some organisations use tools like ‘Smartsheets’ to keep track of project work. A good working document may include:


  • Start Date (How long has the task been on the list)
  • Task Details
  • Who owns the task?
  • Who are they working with?
  • What are they waiting on (to determine bottlenecks)?
  • Due Date


Ease & Impact for Business Revival

When things becoming overwhelming or somewhat chaotic, Businesses will need to develop a heighten level of awareness and mindfulness in their business. With the onset of the Corona Virus, most businesses have been thrown into a state of upheaval, causing shifts in income, income streams and process.  Businesses can gain greater clarity by simply stepping back and considering a few simple questions. Such as:

  • What do we do well and how does this serve the public right now?
  • Can we offer this to our customers quickly, efficiently, and professionally?
  • What can we produce with the most amount of ease and the least amount of impact (cost, time, resource, labour)?

These questions are vital to ask your team. Gain their feedback on what they believe they can do well right now and how they will achieve outcomes with the least resistance/effort.

The Business Enterprise Centre has brought together a team of businesspeople, experts in their field to offer guidance and direction to small business to survive, revive and grow.

Call the NT Business Helpline on: 1800 229 500 for information on the subsidised programs you may be eligible for which you maybe able to have immediate access.



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