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Managing a remote workforce

Nowadays, technology has made our work easier, faster, fun and quite different. A world has been created where we do not have to necessarily report to work at 9 am to actually do the work, but can work from a remote location, a trend known as teleworking.

More and more new firms are encouraging work from home for its employees. This has several advantages including reducing unscheduled leaves, increasing productivity of the worker, less social interactions or interference, saves traveling time, and also one can work from the comfort of one’s own home. Remote working is quite beneficial for the employer as well as there is no need to setup huge offices, which saves money and thus leads to increased revenue. Remote working often lets you hire a more experienced workforce, and there is also said to be a high level of employee engagement.

While there are many advantages, actually managing a remote workforce can quite be a difficult task.  If not done properly it can adversely affect the business of the company. As a good employer it is important to take good care of your remote workforce, as you take care of your regular workforce, and pay the same amount of attention.

Says Wade Foster of Zapier, a company that worked largely with a remote team for three years, “It’s highly unlikely you could pluck any random set of people, at any random moment in history, dispersed around the globe, put them together and expect them to build something amazing. We’ve found there are three important ingredients to making remote work, well, work: Team, Tools, and Process.”

Apart from hiring the right team, effective and efficient communication is the key. You and the remote workforce should be good communicators and should be there for each other. Technology has made connecting with each other easier. For example, you can use Skype services for holding face-to-face meetings or use google groups to chat via texts and also share work-related files.

Focus on creating professional facilities at home. For example provide your remote workforce professional services like high speed internet, telephones if required, and other necessary facilities, for professional results. In terms of providing facilities you should not differentiate between your regular and remote workforce. After all both workforces are working to give you results for your company.

Establish a personal rapport with every member of the workforce. A job should also fulfil social needs of a person. Personal rapport means knowing and getting to know the other one as a complete person. Ask them about their personal lives without getting too involved. Understand their goals and requirements. Maintain a healthy trustworthy relationship with your remote workforce.
In order to increase employee retention hold social events for your workforce regularly. Many workers are passionate about sports or hobbies like photography, etc. Host parties or take your workforce out for social outings.  This will make your workforce happy, make them feel them wanted and will show your care for them. You can always host virtual happy hours for your remote workforce and throw in Google Hangout sessions where you can discuss work or have a little chit chat with your employees. Take and provide regular feedback, and also, appreciate your workforce, say with monthly awards.

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