The ultimate guide to managing remote workforce: Jobma
A study shows that 44% of global companies are allowing work from home to some extent, while 16% of them are fully remote. As much as remote work looks appealing to employees, employers also recognize the benefits of working from home. Each industry has seen a natural inclination towards remote work.
While working remotely, technology has made work easier for different departments, and it has completely transformed the way of working. For example, video interview software has gained tremendous popularity during the pandemic, and these tools have completely changed the world of hiring. Although these tools have made our work life significantly easier, managers still face challenges while managing the remote workforce. With the proper remote team management, organizations can capitalize on the plenty of benefits of a remote working model. Explore this ultimate guide to learn the tips to manage your remote team.
What is a remote workforce?
Remote work is practically a desire for everyone today. Coronavirus has pushed everyone to work from home, and many companies are working off-site. A remote workforce is a group of people who are not working from their traditional office but from a remote location. It is a type of flexible work arrangement that every employee wants in today’s time.
Why is remote work so important?
Remote work became so popular during COVID-19, and now it has become a need of the hour. Remote work has various benefits, such as no commute, working from the comfort zone, etc. Moreover, contrary to all popular beliefs, remote work has proven to be more effective in terms of productivity. The reason can be the elimination of the commute. Employees now can use that time to do something more productive. All the benefits of remote work make it even more popular. Some of these advantages include-
- Less commute stress
- Better work-life balance
- Enhanced productivity
- Better work-life balance
- Location independence
- Money savings
- A customizable office
- A healthier and happier work life
Challenges of managing a remote workforce
While working remotely, one of the main concerns is managing remote teams. It comes with a unique set of challenges that require equally unique solutions. While every organization is different, the following are the potential hurdles that businesses expect to encounter when managing a remote team.
1. No face-to-face supervision
Managerial support and communication are essential to keep employees engaged in the workplace. And this applies even while working remotely. During remote work, employees may think they are out of touch, and this makes them lose interest in the job. Employers face challenges in showing that they are always available to support their employees. However, managers can even supervise through texts or emails, but they are susceptible to being misunderstood or misread.
2. Lack of communication
One of the most common challenges that every remote workplace faces is a lack of communication. Whether you are working remotely or from the office, communication is the key to success. It is quite critical to gather all the information from employees while working remotely. When teams work from home, managers may face difficulty in fostering open communication. However, traditional emails often seem to be used for interaction, but that doesn’t enable quick communication.
3. Scheduling difficulties
For global teams, scheduling can be one of the major hurdles. As employees may be working from different time zones, scheduling a video meeting or a phone call is challenging. Finding a time that suits everyone is a tough task. It is complicated for managers to bring everyone to the same table at the same time during remote work. To make scheduling easier while working remotely, you can use modern tools.
4. Missing company culture
As an employer, you probably have mentioned your company’s culture and values to employees while hiring. But while working remotely, it is difficult to recognize whether a particular employee aligns with the company culture or not. Company culture takes time to cultivate, and it includes various aspects, such as instilling positive values among employees, fostering healthy communication, etc. It is up to you whether you want your team to be professional or to be the team that is known for fun and being energetic. It takes more concentrated efforts to create a remote culture.
5. Tracking work and productivity
One of the other challenges is tracking the work and productivity of employees. Many managers are unclear about how they work and how much work they complete in a day. It is hard to know whether someone is actually doing the work or just chilling at their home. Creating accountability is very important, and it was easier when teams were working from the office. Managers could just walk in to see the status of the work.
6. Building trust
Building trust is one of the significant challenges for remote managers. Managers may think that employees are not completing their work on time, while they may have other major concerns regarding work. All these misunderstandings can become an obstacle to building trust between the team members and employers. Being transparent is the real solution to this problem. Be honest with your employees, and enlighten them with every important information.
7. Setting clear expectations
As a manager, you have to make sure that everyone knows what is expected of them. Just because employees know their job responsibilities at the office doesn’t mean that you don’t need to interact with them about it during remote work. Your workers may need clear directives and more guidance to know how to complete the task when they work remotely.
Tips for managing a remote workforce
1. Embrace technology
The only solution to all the mentioned problems is to embrace modern tools. As you will not be physically present to communicate or assist your employees, these modern tools will help you. Various tools are available in the market that have all the features to make your work-life easier during remote work. With these tools, you can easily communicate with your team and cope with these challenges seamlessly. As you will be able to communicate effectively, you can easily tell your work priorities and build trust with your employees.
For example, if you belong to the hiring department, you must opt for digital interview software to organize your hiring process. These tools comprise excellent features to make your recruitment process convenient. Although these tools came into the market during the COVID-19 pandemic, but now, they have become prevalent. These tools help you hire talented candidates remotely without any additional effort.
2. Take out time for communication
It is important to communicate with your team while working remotely. There is no particular time limit for how often a manager should reach out to the team. But they should definitely make communication an essential part of their remote culture. In addition to formal meetings, casual discussions can work as a wonder for your team. Ensure your employees don’t feel disconnected while working from home. Moreover, you should also focus on soliciting and taking feedback. It alleviates the communication gap, making things convenient for you.
3. Promote the meaningful culture
Employees need to feel connected and engaged even if they are working from home. Ensure to share your office culture with your remote team and make them feel engaged. You can conduct some sessions where you can talk about your office culture. You don’t need to make it a formal meeting; keep it casual, and create a positive environment for each employee. When employees feel connected, they are more likely to maximize their productivity. Instill a sense of positivity or belonging in different ways and create a healthier workforce. When employees are happy, and satisfied, managing them is easier.
4. Conduct team-building activities
One of the best ways to manage your remote employees is to host team-building activities. However, you may not be able to conduct activities where everyone will be present physically, but you can definitely plan some remote activities. Team-building activities improve the relationships of employees with their peers and managers. Some of the activities for remote workers are video charades, two truths & a lie, etc. As a manager, it is your duty to engage your entire team during remote work.
5. Define the work and expectations in advance
Don’t pre-assume that your employees know how and when they need to complete the task. You need to create a guide where each employee can know what is expected of them. Not all employees are suitable for remote work; therefore, provide them with tips to avoid distractions and stay productive while working remotely. Set up timelines, and tell them to be prepared for last-minute conflicts. Prepare a sheet where you can check the work of all employees. It will also boost other employees to perform better. Moreover, you can easily track everyone’s performance through this database.
6. Go for video calls over voice calls
Although you can’t have a face-to-face meeting, but you can definitely interact with your team over the video call. Video calls are much more effective than voice calls. It is easier to make them understand what you are saying over a video call. It will give your employees a sense of belongingness. Moreover, they will feel like you are supervising them, and they tend to improve their performance. Many video conferencing tools are available in the market; choose the right tool as per your needs, and manage your team efficiently.
7. Take frequent feedback
The most effective managers are the ones who know how to listen to their employees. Making your employees feel listened to is a great way to engage them, even working remotely. Conduct proper feedback sessions frequently, and ask them if they have any suggestions. You can even give them feedback about their performance. Sometimes employees start feeling lonely because they can’t get to interact with people during remote work. It is your duty to make them feel engaged and interested. You must talk to them, listen to their concerns, and make adjustments accordingly.
Wrapping it up
Managing a remote workforce may differ from traditional management, but many of the same principles apply. Good communication has always been part of the effective management style. While working remotely, communication has just moved online. Follow up with your team members, and talk to them about their experiences. Apply all these mentioned tips, and manage your remote team efficiently.