Amidst today’s uncertain and remote work environment, it has become critical for leaders and managers to examine ways to drive productivity and efficiency across their teams.

How can managers prioritize and streamline their work? How can they help their teams do the same? How can they avoid burnout—or worse—their employees feeling useless and ineffective?

To answer these questions, Skillshare CMO Liana Douillet Guzmán was recently joined by leading productivity strategist and founder of Productivityist, Mike Vardy, for a webinar discussion focused on practical tactics and strategies for maximizing team productivity.

In the webinar, Mike highlighted 5 simple tactics that organization leaders can leverage to maximize their teams’ full potential in a remote and uncertain business landscape.

In case you didn’t get a chance to watch the live discussion, we’ve outlined these 5 tactics and strategies:

1. Act: “As If”

First, it’s important to remember that the vast majority of teams and organizations were thrust into today’s remote work environment. In order to combat the uncertainty created by this abrupt shift, managers need to act as if this is how their team will operate moving forward.

By acting as if the new remote work environment is here to stay, managers can produce a positive trickle down effect throughout their workforce.

  • Acting as if remote work will be here for the foreseeable future will normalize the situation and reduce anxiety across teams.
  • A more comfortable workforce that is free of uncertainty’s distractions is then enabled to be more productive and drive progress in their work.
  • Forward progress leads to forward innovation, which boosts the team’s bottom line and KPIs.

2. Clear Communication

Considering that the majority of teams are no longer working within the same physical space, it is vital for managers to adopt a strategy for clear communication that keeps individuals in sync with one another, reduces uncertainty between team members, and increases productivity.

One of the most effective strategies for instilling clear and consistent communication is to establish communication silos.

By designating specific channels exclusively for certain communication types (like only using email for external, client communications and only using Slack for internal, team communications), managers can establish a sense of predictability in how they work together.

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To enact and reinforce communication silos, we recommend creating and distributing a Team Task Manager Charter, which outlines standard operating procedures for each communication channel and type.

You can check out a sample Team Task Management Charter, here.

3. Rethink the Calendar

Another key tactic for driving productivity, both individually and between team members, is to rethink the calendar through a tactic called time theming.

Time theming is the process of consistently designating certain days, or hours of the day, for specific tasks. This could mean that Mondays are focused specifically on outreach while Wednesday is a deep work day, or that 9-11am is spent solely on CRM work and 1-3pm is left open specifically for internal calls and meetings.

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By incorporating time theming, individual team members can wake up each day and know exactly what they’re meant to be working on while other team members have a clear and consistent understanding of when their coworkers are available and what their day to day priorities are.

4. Work by Mode

Working by modes allows employees to look at their task list through a different lens and find flow faster. This means working outside of usual date or project oriented work flows and to instead leverage modes that are a bit more personalized to each individual .

Some examples of modes include:

Time based modes – Working by time based modes means grouping tasks by how long they take and completing them at a time that maximizes workflow. For example, if you have 30 minutes available before your next meeting, you can use that time to quickly knock out as many short, 5-minute tasks on your todo list.

Resource based modes – Working by resource based modes means grouping tasks based on the people or tools required to complete them and tackling those tasks together. By leveraging one set of resources at a given time, instead of repeatedly swapping between multiple pieces of software or requesting multiple meetings with colleagues, employees can achieve a more efficient work flow.

Energy based modes – Working by energy based modes means grouping and completing tasks based on the amount of energy and effort required to complete. By categorizing tasks based on their energy levels, employees can tackle low-effort items when they’re feeling tired and prioritize tasks that require greater effort during more energetic times or days.

5. Trustworthy Tools

One of the final practical tactics for increasing productivity in a remote work environment is to leverage tools and software that your team trusts. The only way your tools become trustworthy, however, is by ensuring that all employees within your team use them.

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This could include team-wide task management apps, internal communication apps, storage tools, or really any other resource leveraged within the team.

By ensuring that each tool is used consistently within a team, each team member will get better at using it as time goes and drive a greater sense of communal trust within the tool or resource.

Elevating Productivity – One Step at a Time

To get started driving more team productivity, it’s important not to try tackle each of these suggestions all at the same time. To take your team’s productivity to the next level, it’s important to adopt each tactic carefully, one step at a time, and with as much empathy as possible for your team amidst today’s uncertain times.


Looking for more guidance on taking your team’s remote productivity to the next level? Watch the full webinar discussion on-demand and check out our list of some of our favorite productivity classes.

If you have any questions about Skillshare for Teams or would like to brainstorm some creative ways to support productivity across your team, we can help! Learn more here.