Credit management and teleworking: how to improve productivity

by 23/12/2020Blog

What does your company policy look like during this year’s circumstances? In Belgium, teleworking is obligated if possible. This enforcement requires necessary adjustments for companies. In this article you’ll read how to make the right adjustments and improve your credit management team’s productivity. Keeping your team motivated is important because it looks like teleworking is here to last.

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We’ve been working from home for most of 2020. This makes the ordinary course of events impossible (read: small talk in the coffee room or a quick disucssion between two colleagues). Companies need to adjust their policies because of the persistent COVID-19 situation. The National Bank of Belgium announced that all Belgian enterprises will permanently expand their teleworking policies. CFO’s and credit managers shouldn’t overlook the impact of this decision.

 

Research by Grant, Wallace and Spurgeon regarding teleworking shows that social interaction at the office impacts employees’ motivation. Born to be social creatures, interaction with colleagues enhances our motivation. The sudden transition to teleworking hinders this social contact, which led to decreased motivation. This finding is supported by Brazilian researchers who conducted a study on teleworking during the pandemic. Team members who interacted more with others showed higher job satisfaction.

 

Plan activities

Een virtuele meeting op een laptop met een drankje ernaast

To keep your team motivated, it’s therefore important to respond to these findings. Organizing virtual intitiatives to improve interaction between team members is the way to do so, as proved by the Brazilian study. A virtual lunchbreak is a great example, but your team can also benefit from virtual teambuilding games. This is a way to continue teambuilding activities. Or you could organize a virtual quiz like we did!

 

Determine a policy tailored to teleworking

Companies aim to implement more teleworking into their policies permanently. They realize teleworking is beneficial when you find the right balance

  • Meetings that require creative discussions should be held at the office. These ones run more smoothly if you’re sitting face to face to each other, such as brainstorms to improve your company’s liquidity.
  • Other tasks can be completed at home, where your team members are able to focus without interruption of other colleagues. Possibilities include individual projects and linear tasks. Project meetings organized to run over a checklist can also easily be held through a virtual channel.

This division allows employees to plan their days better and work more effectively. On teleworking days, they schedule individual projects. Days at the office are reserved for meetings and brainstorm sessions. These days are filled with activities that prove to be the most productive when you’re sitting in the same room (with the necessary precautions, of course).

An important bonus to this type of scheduling: you allow your team to have sufficient social interaction. This keeps them motivated! 

 

Adapt your daily tools

Boek over productiviteit voor telewerk

The second crucial element influencing your team’s performance is how companies deal with the transition from office work to telework. The studies reviewing this questioned if employees had received all the required resources: were the procedures regarding meetings adapted to the new climate?

Now that companies are looking to implement teleworking as a permanent policy, it’s crucial for them to broaden their focus. The basics no longer suffice. They need to question which resources will keep their employees involved and increase productivity.

Finding the right communication tools is an important resource to maintain social interaction between colleagues. A lot of companies use Slack or Microsoft Teams to communicate with colleages formally and informally. The tools allow you to launch task-related group chats and private ones. If you prefer talking over things with a colleague or your team, you can. Some videocall tools even allow people to use a virtual whiteboard during meetings so you can still have brainstormsessions.

Discover how you can improve your productivity here

Pay extra attention to your employees

Finally, managers should realize not everyone is made for teleworking. Some employees reported they got too distracted from or too focused on their job. A respondent in one of the researches found it difficult to put away his work now that it’s constantly present in his personal space. For these people, it’s hard to seperate work from their personal lives because the boundaries have dissolved between them. 

Therefore, managers should follow up employees. That is what Camila Durante did. Camila, Credit & Collections coordinator at L’Oréal, planned enough personal conversation with her team. In these one-on-one meetings she talks about their mental wellbeing and how they experienced the shift to teleworking. By providing personal support, she made them feel valuable team member. As a result, her credit management team felt more motivated and collected overdue invoices faster. The productivity rate of her team improved.

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This is how you get a future with more teleworking, happy colleagues and high productivity rates

  • Set up enough opportunities where your team members can talk to each other about non-work-related things.
  • Provide communication tools that add value to teleworking, both for formal consultations and informal conversations.
  • Balance work from home and work at the office. Let your team use the working days at home to focus on individual tasks and process-based meetings. Bring your team together in the office – once allowed – to host meetings and brainstorm sessions that require creativity and in-depth discussions.
  • Follow up team members personally: some have a harder time working from home than others. Pay more attention to these people and guide them.

Read other blog articles on credit management