Management of a Remote Workforce: The Best Practices
According to the Owl Labs State of Remote Work Report 2021, as the pandemic continued to evolve throughout the year, so did the way we work. In 2022, it was found that employee expectations permanently shifted, with many choosing to resign for a better work-life balance or more flexibility in where and when they work. And with nearly 70% of full-time U.S. workers having worked remotely – with many still continuing to do so – employers started adjusting their workplaces to fit a new hybrid working model. The report in collaboration with leading remote work consulting firm Global Workplace Analytics, surveyed 2,050 full-time workers in the U.S. to learn more about the current state of remote and hybrid work and what lies ahead. This survey data was collected in September of 2021 and it concluded that productivity didn’t suffer, with 90% of respondents that worked from home during the pandemic saying they were as productive — or more — working remotely when compared to the office. 84% of respondents also shared that working remotely after the pandemic would make them happier, with many even willing to take a pay cut.
A few ways to excel at remote workforce management:
Managers may find they need to take a little more of a back seat while still looking for ways to hold staff members accountable in order to effectively manage a remote workforce. Being open to working with a remote workforce management tool enhances the productivity of a team.
Recognize typical issues with working from home
For functional employees, it is crucial for them to be in constant touch with their coworkers. But it is important for the management to understand the problems that an employee might be facing and remain empathetic and patient.
Choose and supply the appropriate tools
Making the required tools accessible to remote workers is an important component of managing them properly. Leaders and teams may have to consider what measures should be taken to make the transition to telecommuting easier in order to meet that need. This not only helps improve the productivity of the team but also helps in tracking the KPIs of the employees.
The same resources used by onsite employees must be accessible to remote workers, including but not limited to:
- handbook of policies and procedures
- Presentation tools and materials
- Postal equipment and stationery
- Applications & Software
- Business credit card
Build a better team connect
For remote communication, it goes without saying that email, instant messages, and phone or Zoom video calls are necessary.
Employees should, if possible, maintain their workday calendars current on a centralised platform or application. Software “away” alerts and out-of-office email responses sent during regular business hours are also helpful. These seemingly insignificant actions reduce the annoyances brought on by communications bottlenecks.
Take feedback positively
According to Justin Hale, a training designer and researcher at VitalSmarts, a leadership training company in Provo, Utah, “The most successful managers are good listeners, communicate trust and respect, inquire about workload and progress without micromanaging, and err on the side of over-communicating.”
According to Paul Pellman, CEO, of Kazoo, surveys are a frequently underused instrument. For a deeper look into employee feelings, pulse surveys and a monthly or quarterly employee net promoter score, for example, can be helpful. According to an HR Technologist, an employee’s net promoter score is a gauge of how likely she or he is to recommend his or her company to other job searchers. Just keep in mind, he advised, “if you’re asking for our employees’ opinions, you need to take action.”
Remote equals cost-effective
When discussing remote workers, budgets are an important element. Some corporate executives believe that implementing remote work and reducing office space by 50% will result in a 50% decrease in the cost of housing staff in a traditional workplace. Your business will definitely spend less on real estate, and other costs associated with running an office and those savings may be used elsewhere.
Eliminate work/life balance issues and employee burnout
As remote workers more regularly swing back and forth between business and personal priorities throughout the day, working remotely can easily translate into putting in too many hours. More than half of respondents in a PWC study on the future of workers strongly agree that they seek work-life balance, but only 34% feel they have achieved it. Remote workers enjoy the freedom of working from home or any location, but also have to put in long hours to stay focused and fit everything in. Certain jobs necessitate working with teams in several time zones worldwide, which means longer or irregular hours, as it entails being accessible for meetings and video conferences.
The management of remote employees is a tricky area. But the zeal to grow and learn with the employees is something that managers need to do, as the experience of managing a remote team is as much a new experience for them, as it is for the employees.
The future of work will continue to be a hybrid or a remote model. According to a survey by Upwork from their ‘Future Workplace Report’, five times as many hiring managers anticipate having more of their team members work remotely over the next 10 years than they did before the global pandemic. Thus, remote work will necessitate fully integrated software tools for effective remote workforce management to increase and track employee productivity.