A Global Workplace Analytics survey revealed that at least 50% of the global workforce work remotely. Further, 80-90% of the surveyed employees said they would prefer to work remotely for a few days in the week.
Considering the increased competition for finding suitable employees, several companies are now aiming for remote workforce management for better productivity. Without the limitations of recruiting only from the local talent pool, companies can leverage foreign talent and significantly lessen the operational costs at the same time.
Will it hinder productivity? What problems will arise while managing remote employees? These are a few questions that concern the Employers and Team Leads. This blog discusses five proven ways to ensure effective remote workforce management.
Fact: According to MerchantSavvy, 85% of over 15,000 global businesses affirmed that increased location flexibility leads to a rise in productivity.
You interact with your local team every day. You either meet them in the halls, have lunch with them, or hang out together at the office. Your local team is always around you and can easily contact you if needed. On the other hand, imagine you set up a remote team thousands of miles away from you. Your remote employees cannot stop by at your desk or meet you every day. And that’s where being intentional can be very effective.
Being intentional: What does it mean?
Simply put, it means making your remote team feel like they belong to the Company. Even if it takes extra effort, ensure that your remote team doesn’t feel that they’re unlike the local team.
Fact: According to LinkedIn, 59% of the workers said they would feel like they belong to the Organization if their accomplishments are recognized.
When an employee (local or remote) is appreciated for their work, their productivity and morale increases. Little efforts like replying to them as quickly as possible, creating virtual spaces for interacting, or always remembering and celebrating birthdays & work anniversaries may seem unimportant but can be very gratifying.
Make each team meeting an intentional opportunity to interact with your remote team and discover new ways to contribute to healthy collaboration.
Create a communication strategy
Improper Communication owing to geographical distance is a thing of the past now. Thanks to the rapid technological developments in the communications sector, connecting with someone across the World is just a matter of seconds.
However, studies have revealed that 60-90% of communication can be nonverbal. Therefore, it’s easier to get on the wrong page when operating with remote teams. They aren’t physically present and may misunderstand your voice’s tone. This makes it imperative to build a robust communication strategy. Here are some tips that you can implement:
- Try to interact with your remote team at least once a day, even for just a few minutes.
- Use multiple platforms to communicate. Instant messaging platforms like Slack work well for quick texts and updates. On the other hand, video-conferencing platforms like Skype can be used for presentations, brainstorming sessions, and review meetings. Pick your channels wisely.
- Plan weekly or bi-monthly calls with your team. Use this time to discuss the workflows, blockers, and project highlights. Such frequent & planned discussions would translate to better managing remote workers.
Use cloud-based project Management Tools
Project Management Tools help in managing remote employees in an effective way. They help the employees to find important documents with ease, download files, and stay updated with important events and meetings.
Some popular project management tools include Wrike, Trello, Basecamp, Zoho Projects, and Clarizen.
A cloud-based project management system lets you plan, collaborate, and control the various stages of a particular project using a chain of tools. This is really useful as you can’t physically monitor the tasks of your remote team. Various features of an effective project management system include a customizable dashboard, task management Kanban boards, fully-integrated file storage, and a few other task-tracking tools.
Another significant advantage of using a project remote workforce management system is that you no longer have to stress about organizing work. You don’t need leather-bound planners or sticky notes.
All important data will be automatically backed up on the cloud servers for easy access. Every week, during the weekly review meeting, you just have to review the progress made by your remote team, and you’re good to go.
There can be times where you miss to update your remote team about any significant development. Sitting in another country, they may not always know what’s happening at the head office and vice versa.
However, employees usually look at their leaders & managers as an example of how to function in a work setting. If you are transparent to your employees, there is no reason why they won’t reciprocate the same.
By ensuring transparency at every stage and executing it as part of your team culture, you win your remote employees’ trust and ensure that they aren’t reluctant to approach you with any questions or issues.
This practice is also effective in retaining & managing remote workers in the years to come.
For example, if you have an update about the newly-joined team member, ensure that every team member knows and participates in welcoming the new joiner. This applies to both the local and remote teams. This way, your remote team won’t feel left out about the recent happenings or that you’re deliberately keeping information from them.
Visit your remote team
Managing remote employees won’t be possible if you do not involve them in the team activities & make other necessary efforts. Managing remote workers requires visiting them in person – even once a year can develop real cohesion with the employees.
During your visit, you can get into one-on-one meetings with the employees to review their goals and analyze their performance.
You can even plan a work vacation for your local and remote teams. This trip can be used as an opportunity for the teams to understand each other personally. Team-building exercises, socials, brainstorming, board-games – see what works best for your teams and stick to it!!
Ensuring proper communication and motivating your employees (local or remote) is important for increased productivity and the right work environment. We hope that the five tips regarding managing remote employees best practices will help you to manage your remote employees effectively.