Three Tips for Construction Leaders to Stay Productive While Working From Home

Getting dressed for the day, maintaining accountability, and focusing on communication can help construction company leaders stay productive and focused while working from home due to COVID-19.
By Eric Herdman
April 22, 2020

1. Get up, get (CAMERA) ready and show-up

Leaders in the construction industry know the power of leading by example—a tried-and-true leadership act that has stood the test of time. It is very important in this climate that construction executives continue to demonstrate leading by example—even if not face-to-face or in person with the team. This means that every day, leaders get up and get ready (camera ready that is, because at any moment leaders may have to connect with a team member via video).

In addition to being ready for the bright lights of the webcam and virtual meeting platform, getting up, getting ready and showing up does wonders for productivity. Professionals know that physiology—how one looks and feels—drives psychology. Granted, it is easy to work from bed with a laptop in pajamas, but that doesn't get the mind and body to work as a productive leader. Leaders get up, shower, get dressed, go to a dedicated workspace to light the world up with productivity.

2. Use accountability tools

When the stay-at-home orders were first handed down, many people felt the loss of control. There are many tools available that let construction leaders hold themselves and the team accountable without feeling like micromanagers.

Some effective tools are those construction executives already use for project management and collaboration: Microsoft Teams, Trello, Asana, Monday and Jira. Even a simple shared Google Document or Google sheet can be effective collaboration tools. All of these tools create the virtual social production collective effect letting everybody know what is getting it done.

A 2018 study shows the power of the social production collective. A midwestern YMCA told members that attendance to the YMCA would be publicized publicly for the next month. This YMCA chapter credits the public announcement of productivity for increasing attendance by 23% during that period.

3. Emphasize Communication

Another factor lost in working from home and with social distancing is the ability to have the public sphere of accountability: working around and with others. Even if the team is not remote, teams are working very solo, even if the whole team is in the same office.

In a traditional work environment, people are observing others’ work habits and communicating with each other multiple times a day. Team members notice how long the manager is out of the office or on the jobsite. They can ask the manager or coworker a question any time they want. When a business goes remote and social distancing guidelines are observed the social production collective needs to be set-up to work virtually.

In the office, warehouse or jobsite, the leader and staff can physically see people working, producing and getting things done. Working from home doesn't present that benefit. There are no visual references. Instead, leaders need to create the virtual social production collective to track and drive productivity.

Emphasizing communication is the key here. Communication from the leader should be very specific and reinforced and emphasized repeatedly. Not in a big brother, micromanaging and overbearing way, but in a way to provide employees with details of what's required to get the job done. Another reason why this emphasis on extra communication is important is that the employees are not having interactions with other staff because of a remote set-up or social distancing guidelines. Leaders can be the point person for what is being achieved with the whole team.

Productivity can be highly influenced by an individual understanding phone, email, instant messaging and video meeting platforms are being checked multiple times a day. Not only will this create the social production collective virtually, it makes leaders set-up and follow schedules, agendas and established timelines—thus driving productivity.

by Eric Herdman

Eric Herdman provides orchestrated solutions for productivity and leadership challenges. He works with Laurie Ricahrds & Associates and has more than 20 years or experience providing training solutions for companies and associations. For more on increasing your productivity, developing leadership skills and negotiating training, reach out to

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