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As millions shift to remote work in the wake of COVID-19, many business owners wonder how they can manage their workforce effectively. Business owners have become accustomed to managing workers in-person. As employees begin working remotely, employers must focus on keeping their employees productive from a distance. Fortunately, video calls are a great tool to boost remote work productivity.

That said, video calls will not boost productivity on their own. You will need to approach video calling as you would any other part of your business — with care, consideration, and a clear plan in mind. So, to help you run your business with greater efficiency, let’s take a look at our top 5 tips for video calls to boost remote work productivity:

1. Test Equipment, Software, and Internet Connection

Equipment

If your workforce operates remotely, you will have to ensure that your employees have the right equipment. However, it may not be in your budget to provide every employee with their own tools. If this is the case, your employees will need to provide you with the specifications of the devices they will use for work — including computers, tablets, and other mobile devices. 

For most workers, desktop computers or laptops will be the most important pieces of equipment. Here are a few of the most relevant specs to look for:

Software

When a job requires specific software, the responsibility for providing this software generally falls on the employer. While this may require an investment, it will ensure that your employees are working on the platforms of your choosing. You will just need to make sure that your employees have access to the software and understand how to install and use it properly.

Employers also need to know what kind of software would help a remote workforce. Here are a few categories that will apply to most remote work and some of the best options available on the market for each:

Internet Connection

A high-speed Internet connection is by far the most important aspect of improving remote work productivity. Without a reliable Internet connection, employees cannot participate in video calls, update information in cloud-based platforms, or quickly communicate with coworkers and clients. So, how can you test your employee’s home office Internet connection? 

The easiest way to test the connection is to have every employee take an Internet speed test and then save a screen-capture (or picture) of the results. Here is an example of what that might look like via Google’s default speed test:

internet speed

As you can see, there are 4 pieces of information that you can learn from an Internet speed test:

2. Establish Accountability Protocols

Many business owners question the reliability of remote workers because they cannot directly oversee their work as they do it. That said, technology has come a long way in the past 10 years, providing employers with plenty of tools to ensure worker accountability. Additionally, every employer with remote employees should establish accountability protocols to better track remote worker productivity.

Recordkeeping 

Without any kind of recordkeeping, information exchanged during video calls could be lost forever. That’s why it’s vital to have rules for video call management. At a minimum, you should implement call management software that can do all of the following:

Make regular “check-in” calls

Though studies show that remote workers are often more productive, you should still check in with your remote employees from time to time. This allows project managers and team leaders to check on the status of a project, ask about any issues, provide updated deadlines, and so on. These “check-in” calls also help remind remote employees that they are part of a team that depends on their work.

3. Build Professional Communication Channels

Once you know your employees are working with the optimal equipment, software, and Internet connection, it’s time to build professional communication channels. There are a number of ways to do this; all of them rely on coordination between you (the employer) and your employees. Let’s take a look at how to keep everyone in the know:

Availability and Appointment Scheduling

Though it’s not always avoidable, nobody likes to be caught off-guard by an unexpected conference call. With video calls, an employee may not be ready to take a call at the drop of a hat. 

For this reason, you must create a system in which managers and employees can see everyone’s availability in real-time. Moreover, everyone should be able to alter their hours of availability and schedule video calls ahead of time. Many businesses do this through project management applications like Slack or Asana. However, there are hundreds of other ways to keep availability clear, concise, and organized so that no one is caught by surprise.

Professionalism During Video Calls

The responsibility for building professional communication channels doesn’t just fall on the employer’s shoulders. Workers must provide a stable setting at home (or wherever they choose to work from). Your employees should also have all of the following for a professional call:

4. Don’t Rely on Video Calls for Everything

It’s important to remember that video calls aren’t always needed. In fact, they can actually waste time and slow productivity if not used properly. So, let’s look at when you should and should not rely on video calls:

Video calls are great for:

Video calls are NOT great for:

5. Treat Every Video Call as an Opportunity to Improve

Finally, here a few important things to help you improve your video calls going forward:

Conclusion

Video calls are one of the best ways for employers to manage and communicate with their remote workforce. If used properly, video calls can expedite the exchange of important information and boost remote work productivity. With all of the guidelines above, you are sure to have a hyper-productive remote workforce in no time!