The popularity of remote work is being to become a priority for many as we attempt to install a stronger work-life balance. Statistics estimated that anywhere between 30% and 50% of employees will be working remotely by 2020. There is absolutely no doubt that the recent outbreak of COVID-19 is going to further increase remote work. Whether obligated to or by choice, more and more people are going to be able to enjoy the freedom of working from home, shared working spaces and even satellite offices.
What are the Advantages of Remote Workforce Management?
Searching for talent anywhere- gone are the days when you were restricted to the talent pool of where you based. As well as being able to find better-skilled workers, you will also be able to increase the diversity within your company.
Provide employees with more flexibility- you will attract more people to your organization and reduce your carbon footprint.
Increased production- when employees have more balance between their work and home life, they are happier and numerous studies have shown that enhanced wellbeing leads to increased productivity.
What are the Challenges of Remote Workforce Management?
Limited personal contact- it’s much harder to develop trusting relationships without face to face contact.
Not being able to manage daily performance- in some types of work, there isn’t yet the technology to monitor what employees are actually achieving every day. This will require a communication system that is suitable for you and the employees.
What Can You Do to Manage a Remote Team and Ensure High Performance?
There are certain things that you can do to assist your remote team. Here are 9 things you can do in order to get the most benefits from remote work.
- Hiring Suitable People
Once you have confirmed the candidate has the right qualifications, you should then go on to check that they are capable of working remotely. Not everyone has the right mentality to work outside of the office environment. The ideal remote worker will:
- Have the correct equipment to perform the tasks of the job, for example, a reliable Internet connection
- Be independent and proactive
- Have the ability to learn independently as you may not be able to train them in the same way as you would in your office
- The best way to contact them for work-related matters
- Make Sure They are Correctly Onboarded
Onboarding is a process that shows the new employee how things are done. It helps reduce the number of issues a new hire might face while they are getting used to their new role. It’s best to do this in person as it gives you the chance to get to know your employees a little better. If it isn’t possible, the new employee should have excellent, detailed training documents that are simple to understand.
You will need to start in touch with new team members more than you would other remote workers for the first few weeks and it would be wise to set them up with a worker who is based in your office so that they have another person offering them support. Remember to reward those in your office who are supporting remote workers.
- Set Objectives and Deadlines
Your organization will have deadlines and you need to make sure that each team member knows what their objective is and when it has to be completed by. At the same time, for your organization to be successful, everybody needs to appreciate how their responsibilities play a part in the bigger picture.
Regardless of where your employees work, they must all follow the same rules and be held to the same standards. Make sure you are clear about your expectations from the first day. While it’s important for them to know working hours and response times, it is just as important for them to know that they are valued.
- The Importance of Trust and Flexibility
For remote work to thrive, there has to be a trusting relationship. The remote worker will be looking for flexibility, whereas you need to know that the work is being done. This trust may not exist on day one, but it can be helped along the way. If you can’t monitor daily productivity, set up virtual meetings so that you know they are fulfilling their responsibilities.
- Install Project Management Tools
Whether in not you only have a few employees or hundreds, maintaining consistent, effective communication is going to be tricky without a progress tracking tool. Project management tools like Asana and Trello are ideal tools to keep everyone informed on task ownership, the next procedures, and deadlines. You will also be able to add comments and attach files, even reassign tasks if necessary. Project Management Tools are critical for the organization and holding employees accountable while obtaining an overview of your project.
- Install Chat and Virtual Meeting Tools
Slack, Viber, and WhatsApp are popular chat tools that allow you to send instant messages to your whole team. Chat tools are best suited for projects reminders and/or company announcements. Virtual meeting tools like Google Hangouts and Zoom are great for training sessions and meetings, especially when multiple people need to see the same information.
- Hold Regular One-on-One Meetings
Quite often, during a group meeting, employees might not have the confidence to bring up their concerns. One-on-one meetings provide the employee with an opportunity to speak more freely and you the chance to get to know them better. When possible, hold these meetings in person, if not regular video meetings should be part of your office culture.
- Bear in Mind Employee’s Time Zones
Messaging tools are a good way to cope with working across different time zones. However, for online video calls or group virtual meetings, there will have to be some give and take. Alternate start times so that one week you start earlier than your usual working hours and the following they can begin earlier. Also, be respectful of the hours an employee is willing to work and don’t pressure them into working outside of their usual timetable.
- Make Sure Your Remote Workers are Included
Although not present in the office, remote workers still need to be made to feel like a significant part of the team. Make sure they know ahead of time when meetings are going to happen and invite them to join in on the meetings. Ask for input and encourage them to collaborate. If your company has a cake on birthdays, invite them to a video call. It might seem silly, but the more your remote workers feel involved, the more productive they will be. The same can be said for Friday night drinks or non-work-related activities.
Working on these 9 tips will help you successfully manage your remote team while they feel part of the team. There may be some challenges along the way, but the benefits of this popular trend will far outweigh any initial issues.