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Posts Tagged ‘working remotely’

Beyond remote work: insights and strategies for enhancing employee productivity and performance


Remote work and the implications of continuing the process, including its potential impact on employee performance, are widely discussed. However, there is no right answer, and it is not one-size-fits-all. 

The future of work includes flexibility, employee experience, agility, and the responsible use of artificial intelligence (AI)—these significant shifts impact where and how employees work. With an increase in remote work options, we have seen positive trends in work-life balance, employee empowerment, inclusivity, and an increase in diverse talent. These factors are also known to increase employee productivity and retention. According to BCG, a considerable population of employees are ready to leave their jobs if they find their flexible work arrangements unsatisfactory. Based on their survey, approximately 90% of women, caregivers, individuals identifying as LGBTQ+, and those with disabilities, deem flexible work options as crucial in determining whether they will continue or resign from their current employment.

Remote work productivity is subject to debate due to various factors that must be considered. Some suggest remote work can increase productivity due to a flexible schedule, no commute, and fewer interruptions. While many employees thrive in a remote work environment, some find it challenging due to the discipline it demands.

Remote work was on the rise even before the COVID-19 pandemic. A July 2023 report from Stanford University found that working remotely has doubled every 15 years. Then, when the pandemic occurred, although devastating, it provided a new perspective for those previously constrained, forced to relocate, or live in less favorable locations to work for a specific company and advance their career. Worldwide ERC states that around 56 million Americans moved to new residences between December 2021 to February 2023 due to COVID-19-related shutdowns and the surge in remote work and online education. With such a huge increase in their number over the past few years, this begs the question: do employees working remotely demonstrate productivity?

Taking a deeper look into the study by Standord University, researchers shared that remote work employees’ productivity differs depending on perceptions—the nature of the research and the conditions under which it was conducted. The report revealed that workers believed productivity was higher at home (approximately 7% higher), while managers perceived it lower (around 3.5% lower). Another example, according to a poll by the video presentation applications mmhmm, 43% prefer office work and 42% favor working from home for peak productivity. Moreover, 51% of employees stated that working asynchronously or having the flexibility to set their schedules contributed positively to their productivity. Perceptions aside, the Stanford analysis found a 10% to 20% reduction in productivity across various studies.

The bottom line is today’s company culture is crucial. Ensuring work-life balance and putting the employees in the driver’s seat are the best ways to retain and increase productivity because they will feel valued and empowered. In a 2022 Microsoft employee engagement survey, 92% of employees say they believe the company values flexibility and allows them to work in a way that works best for them. An even higher percentage (93%) are confident in their ability to work together as a team, regardless of location. People have different preferences—some individuals opt for a hybrid approach, while others choose either remote or in-person work exclusively. 

Regardless of the work setup, company leaders and human resources (HR) or human capital management (HRM) executives should ensure that they can still make a lasting impact on employee performance. One measure involves establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) that assess innovation, program, project, and product success—the output, not the physical location. Another crucial step is developing a strategy that includes all future work options, such as in-person, hybrid, and remote choices. Employees tend to be more productive if there is a level of empowerment that allows them to decide where to do their best work.

Planning in person events makes a difference. Leaders who bring new hires and internal transfers, new to the team, on-site for several days should see an uptick in productivity post-gathering. In-person team or company-wide gatherings 1-4 times per year provide employees an opportunity to reset and socialize. Moreover, managers should bring teams together for major program and project kick-offs. When onsite in person, people being present makes a difference. Discourage using Teams or Zoom when employees are in the general vicinity. I have seen companies spew the importance of in-person just to fly employees into a specific location and have people take meetings from their desks or in a different on-site building-conference room, defeating the purpose of in-person interaction.

Having organizations foster all work options is critical and foregoes having to decide which is best. There is no right or wrong answer to this challenge; it should be considered a new way of working and requires future-forward ways of thinking, just as we do with emerging technologies. 

About the guest author:

Dr. Malika Viltz-Emerson is a Senior Global Human Resource Leader at Microsoft. She has over 20 years of experience in human capital management. Her mission is to identify and address the real-world challenges and opportunities for employees and the company, and design and implement optimal solutions that leverage the latest tools, technologies, and processes.

Practitioner Interview: Hassan Al-Asaad on the Pursuit of Employee Happiness in Running a Successful Organization


Hassan Khalid Al-Asaad, Strategist and Business Developer at Gulf Cooperation Council Interconnection Authority (GCCIA), believes that one of the future major challenges in managing performance is achieving employees’ happiness.

Employee happiness is one of the most important factors in running a successful, profitable company. Happy and engaged employees tend to miss less work, perform better, and support company innovation.

In this interview, he explains the critical role of pursuing the employees’ happiness, how it affects the performance of employees, and why organizations should exert more effort in research and development in attaining the happiness of employees.

How to boost your sales strategy and planning during the pandemic


If you are still waiting for the old normal to come back, you will see that almost two years of experiencing the pandemic has forever changed the way people look at sales. Back in the day, businesses skipped the socializing aspect and went straight to selling products or services. However, it seems that building a relationship is more important now than ever as COVID-19 inadvertently transformed sales towards being more human. 

LinkedIn report’s State of Sale for 2021 states that “70% of the buyers want to continue working remotely half or more of the time in the future.”  Remote working, the limited in-person interaction, and the inability to travel had a strong impact on the sales strategy, so revenue leaders discovered the urgent need to shift their strategy by building a more human and personal approach when closing a sale. 

Certainly, we are now at the beginning of a Human-to-Human era. So what kind of sales strategies should sales leaders use to increase the sales team’s performance? This article will present seven sales strategies that can be used to outsmart and overcome pandemic challenges.<

Regain and re-qualify your loyal clients

The cost to acquire a new customer is higher than to retain an existing customer. Loyal customers are a source of boosting profits through these challenging times when customers are extremely conscious of their budgets. Companies must have a customer loyalty program for salespersons to use to their advantage. 

Having offers like additional discounts, credit card programs, punch cards, and points systems is a good way to incentivize customers. If the customers feel rewarded, they will choose to stay with your business. It also avoids the possibility of them going to other competitors in the market. 

A referral program is another fruitful strategy that can bring unlimited opportunities. Customers are more inclined to spread the word and refer your company’s products or services to a friend or family member if there are rewards for doing so. This is also an easy way to keep existing customers and to attract new clients.

Follow up with your customers regularly

As shown in LinkedIn’s report, only 2% of sales are done from the first interaction with a client while 80% of sales occur after at least five follow-ups. In terms of timeliness, 63% of the potential customers are not ready to buy for at least 3 months. Meanwhile, 20% of customers would be more likely to purchase in the next 12 months. 

In practice, almost half of salespeople give up after just one trial. However, only 8% of salespeople will try to reach the customer for the fifth time. This means that those who make an extra effort would more likely be the top-performing salespeople in their organization.  Following up means building trust and loyalty. This means salespeople need to take time to use various channels such as emailing, calling, and even social media to reach their clients. It cannot be done without a consistent and time-efficient strategy. Nevertheless, a follow-up time-efficient strategy implies efforts, creativity, and a lot of patience. 

Use Social Selling like a pro

Salespeople can use Social Selling practices as a tool for building relationships. Social sellers can connect and interact with potential prospects on social media, avoiding spamming. This is a new sales strategy that can focus on presenting your brand and providing solutions to build trust and loyalty. 

In times like these, when we are missing face-to-face interaction, social selling should become a priority. Social selling cannot be done without Social Listening. This term refers to using the right tools in monitoring what people are saying on social media about your company, products, or services. In being cognizant of these tools, you can also find valuable opportunities to know what your customers need. Oftentimes, companies will send an email to their customers. However, sending an email will no longer be enough to break the barrier between the seller and buyer. Instead, having a real conversation with your clients can build trust and confidence. 

Focus on inbound sales

Inbound sales are defined by Mark Roberge, Advisor at HubSpot as “a scalable sales strategy that focuses on attracting interested prospects to your business and building lasting relationships to help your customers succeed.” The focus is more on quality than quantity. This is also the opposite of outbound sales.

Inbound sales start with defining your Buyer’s journey and understanding their current needs in three main steps: awareness, consideration, and decision. After which, the next step should be focused on identifying leads, connecting with them, exploring their current needs, and advising. From there, inbound sellers should separate the passive buyer from the active buyers and focus more on finding a good fit or ideal buyer. Finally, inbound sales imply writing a personalized presentation adapted to the buyer’s context. 

It is now very important to step out of the game when it comes to sales. Sales representatives should become advisors and consultants who can understand the current challenges the customer is facing. By doing so, they should also be translators for the content that is provided on the website of the business.

Create content and provide solutions

Through creating and sharing useful content, social sellers can provide value and interact with potential customers. With the sophistication of interactions today, customers will know genuine intent from just a simple sales talk. If a sales representative is only interested in promoting what he wants to sell and not connecting with the customer, the customer will feel it and refuse any further interaction. 

Furthermore, sharing the right content can change up the routine. This will help both customer and seller to also learn something new and useful. Channels such as LinkedIn and other relevant news and articles sites can prove to be useful in this area.

There is a wealth of relevant content that sales representatives can use to reach their clients in a meaningful way while providing information. LinkedIn articles, statistics, and research data that are relevant to your company are important for customers to learn more about your business. Other information such as infographics, videos, and even content on your company’s working culture can be useful in connecting with your customers

Use technology to your advantage

Social sellers should use and master technology to their advantage. Learning how to use various online tools to strengthen their online presence will give them that edge when reaching out to customers. You can utilize technology and boost your sales through various means such as having knowledge in CRM tools, video conferencing software, meeting schedule, content automation, and quote generation.

In an article written for Johns Hopkins Magazine, Patrick Ercolano describes sales as “a struggle for everyone, but it is less so for those who understand it and know how to leverage digital sales capabilities.” This goes to show that there is a need for sales representatives to rethink their strategies within the digital space. Additionally, he mentioned that “digital sales transformation is about making technology focus on the process, so you can focus on the customer.” 

LinkedIn also stated this year that 77% of sales professionals are going to invest more in sales intelligence tools. This number shows that CRM System integration is a must. Utilizing sales engagement and sale intelligence software is very useful for building trust with their customer base as well. 

Use KPIs to measure personal and departmental performance

There is a need for a rigorous measurement system to improve sales performance. In the past, metrics were more oriented toward measuring individual or team performance. Nowadays, the performance measurement needs to be more focused on customer satisfaction and retention, as well as the tracking of activity quantity. 

The most important KPIs to measure customer satisfaction and customer retention are % Customer satisfaction, % Customer loyalty, % Customer satisfaction with service levels, % Customer satisfaction with complaints handling, % Net Promoter Score, % Customer retention, $ Customer retention cost. Meanwhile, the most used activity quantity KPIs used to measure sales performance during this pandemic are the following: # Leads created, # Calls made, # Sent emails, # Follow Ups, # Social Media Connections, # Meetings Scheduled, # Proposals Sent, % Closed Ratio, # Referral Requests, # Attemted Upsells. To see all these documented KPIs, explore, the world’s largest database of documented KPIs. 

Satisfied customers mean happy customers and they can become the best advocates of your brand. Considering all these seven sales strategies, we realize that it is time to reconfigure our ways to sell. The sales representative will not disappear and cannot be replaced by any technological inventions because humans need other humans to trust and interact. 

If we reconfigure our sales strategy based on building loyalty and trust, we need to be perseverant in following up, mastering social selling and social listening skills. We also need to focus on Inbound Sales by using the best technological advances to our advantage. Finally, if we can do all these and measure our performance, we can outsmart the pandemic challenges. 


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