Tips to Manage a Remote Workforce
Changes are Happening
COVID-19 has had and will continue to have an impact on the workplace, now and into the future. This pandemic will, most likely change how business is done, how employees work and are managed and how organizations are structured. One change being predicted is that there will be a significant increase of remote workers. This is why we want to share tips on how to manage a remote workforce.
Pre-COVID, 30-40% of employees were working remote at least part of the time. During COVID, around 62% of employees say they were or are working remotely. Post COVID, it is estimated that 40%-50% of employees will remain working remotely. Large tech companies like Facebook and Twitter have already announced that they will expand their working from home policies or that they will continue to allow remote work ‘forever’.
The Future is Uncertain
No one knows what the future looks like but businesses may not have a choice in being flexible with remote work in the months and years to come. So, instead of fighting change, adapt and pivot with change. Being adaptable can lead to positives such as attracting and retaining top talent, continuing to grow into the future and being able to be innovative as an organization.
The Difficulty of Managing a Remote Workforce
One of the biggest concerns I hear about remote work, is about the difficulty of managing a remote workforce. How do I know what they are doing? Are they taking advantage of the company? How do I track their performance? All great questions and I have two statements in response. One: If you can’t trust your people, you have the wrong people! You should be able to trust your employees and believe in the culture and values your organization has created. Two: There are tips to managing a remote workforce more efficiently so I want to share those.
Tips to Manage a Remote Workforce
With remote workers, communication needs to be more often and more intentional. Set times on the calendar for touch bases, one-on-ones, progress reviews, collaboration meetings and even time for fun communications, like a happy hour or team building activity.
Set Clear Expectations
This goes hand in hand with communication. Explain to your employees what your expectations are for their time management, communication, and performance metrics. In addition, make sure it is clear for you and your employee what the goals are and how you both plan to achieve them. Don’t be afraid to tell employees what it will look like if expectations aren’t being met.
Trust Your Team
Don’t automatically assume that your employees are out to get you. As I previously mentioned, if you can’t trust your team, you have the wrong people. Be intentional with working in line with your core values and continue to work towards the culture you want your organization to have.
Make it Inclusive
Remote work can quickly and easily get lonely. Make sure your team, whether it is one person or multiple, feels welcomed and included. Hosting virtual team building events is a great way to get everyone involved in a positive way.
Stay Goal Focused
It is easier to stay goal focused it you have already set clear expectations and you have constant communication. Therefore, making sure everyone is in the loop on the status and progress of goals can increase the employee engagement and investment in success. Going along with inclusivity as well, ensure everyone has a task related to the goal, if possible. If everyone feels like they have a reason to be bought in and they have some control over the outcome of the goal they will be more engaged and driven.
Create a Virtual Community
Utilize technology platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Slack to create a place for everyone to go, communicate and connect. Taking some of the rigidness and more formal aspects out of online communication can create better team work, communication and productivity.
Don’t Forget One-on-ones
It is easy to get caught up in virtual platforms, slack conversations and updating online documents to a point that you are in contact with someone every day but you don’t really know how they are or how they are feeling. Make time and schedule regular one-on-ones with your remote employees. Ask them how they are and if they need anything to be more successful. One-on-ones go a long way with building rapport with your team and improving employee satisfaction.
Support a Good Work Space
Make sure you are asking questions. For instance: How is your workspace working for you? Do you need additional tools or resources? How can I be more supportive to your work environment? This is the time and place to be a little more flexible and generous!
As we continue the process of re-opening the economy, our workforce is going to look different. Therefore, there will be more opportunities for remote workers, flexible work schedules and changes in employee leave expectations. We are encouraging organizational leaders to be proactive and think about how to successfully adjust to managing a new remote and changing workforce.
How We Can Help
In addition to these tips, The People Perspective can help navigate managing a remote workforce by providing training for leaders. Our training can cover how to improve communication, how to update written policies and job descriptions to set clear expectations, and how to develop strategic planning to help focus your team on company goals. All our training’s and services are customized to meet the unique needs of individual organizations. Let us know how we can serve you!