All About Remote Workforce and Managing Remote Teams

The Benefits of Remote Workforce for An Organization

Remote work is the present – not the future of work. The primary reason employees reported working from home was for better focus and increased productivity. The second-biggest reason was to reduce their commute. [1]

The advent of digital innovation, technology, and the internet has made it easy for business professionals to work from any part of the world.  Everything that a remote worker needs are a stable WiFi connection, productivity apps, project management tools, time tracking apps, and skills to work on the projects efficiently.

In remote working, employees are not the only ones who would benefit. Surprisingly, an organization can also gain financial profits, along with a significant increase in its productivity.

Source: OWL Labs

A few notable benefits include:

Enhanced Productivity - Remote employees usually work for longer hours, with very minimal distractions.  Since they take fewer breaks, it gives them more time to focus on the assigned projects.

Lower Employee Turnover and Retention - Recruiting, onboarding, and training procedures are expensive and time-consuming. Building an environment where employees are contented any day will mitigate attrition.  

Cost Savings - Ultimately, remote employees will pay for their system, workspace, WiFi connection, electricity, and other requisites. Although a few companies compensate for the bills in the monthly salary, employers can still save a substantial amount of running expenses.
Businesses can save as much as $11,000 per person per year by allowing them to work from home, according to Global Workplace Analytics. [2]

Access to an enormous Talent Pool - With remote working options, employers get access to a vast talent pool. They need not restrict themselves to demographics, which would be a concern with personally reporting to work.  

The Challenges of Managing Remote Employees

Every organization has its pros and cons when it comes to employees. And a remote workforce is no exception. Although there are notable benefits of hiring a remote employee, there are undoubtedly significant challenges that you cannot overlook.

Source: Buffer

The challenges include:

Communication - Liaising with a remote workforce is challenging, and communication becomes a major stumbling block for firms. Conspicuous communication gap creates unnecessary disputes, significantly affecting the work progress.

Scheduling difficulties - Managing remote teams is equivalent to managing different time zones. It's easier to define clear expectations concerning work and deliverables; however, if your employees are operating remotely, coordinating the project activities can get strenuous. Clarifying doubts and giving proper guidance might get delayed, with higher chances of miscommunication down the organizational hierarchy.

Tracking remote employee performance - One of the notable challenges for managers is evaluating the work standards and efficiency of a remote workforce. Whether it is the completion of the project or managing tracking hours, it gets difficult for the manager to gauge a remote employee's performance.

Lack of trust and coherence within your team - Establishing trust and confidence among remote teams is challenging. Moreover, if the managers are prone to micromanagement, then it seems close to impossible to have a smooth sail around managing remote teams.

How to handle conflict in remote teams - The only cue to find out the emotional mindset of a remote workforce is to find out the pattern of their emails, messages, and answering calls. For a manager, it is always challenging to understand the temperament of a remote employee unless he knows the employee personally.

Useful Tips to Managing Remote Teams

With both benefits and challenges balancing each other in remote workforce management, here are a few practical tips to outweigh the challenges in managing remote teams.

Hire the right set of people

Everyone loves working remotely. However, only a few will show the discipline and attitude to complete the work on time. While hiring the remote members, invest your time in understanding and gauging the candidate in terms of their approach, dedication, and self-dependent quality. This way, you need not micromanage the employee to get the job done faster.

Set clear expectations and build trust

Explain clearly about the job role, parameters, and deadlines of a remote employee. Keep your communication and expectations brief and precise. With explicit knowledge about the job demands and defined timelines, the remote workforce will understand what they need to do to complete their task on time.

Focus on building trust with your remote workforce team and assure them that you are reachable for any professional challenges.

Believe in talent

Talent is the key to exceptional performance at work. As managers, seek out for ideas and opinions with your remote workforce management too, although it may take diligence, consume a lot of time, creativity, and a great deal of discussion. Give your remote workforce time to come up with new ideas.

Communicate regularly

It is challenging to maintain all employees on the same page if you have remote employees. Find time in unison and keep communicating regularly. Build on small talks, discuss plans, re-iterate on their roles and responsibilities, make them feel included in the team.

  • Schedule weekly meetings
  • Use real-time chat tools to communicate
  • Use video calling and screen sharing for explaining tasks

Have one on one meetings regularly

Managing remote employees signifies doing every task without fail. Allocate time for regular one on one sessions with your remote workforce. Give them feedback, track progress from the past and highlight the positives and negatives in a balanced manner, measure their performance, and compare the output. It is also a great way to mentor, discuss their roles, set clear expectations, create a communication strategy, identify pain points if any, and establish close bonds.

Have reliable tools

Having reliable tools for communication is a crucial step in managing remote teams. You need to be sure about the business tools you invest in to ensure seamless communication. From chat tools to video connection, project management tools, and time tracking tools, find the best option and purchase those that you can trust.

Help and support frequently

Make time for small talks, seek out to your remote employees if they need any help in terms of work, and guide them. Show them you care for their mental state. It will become the basis for healthier relationships and motivate the remote team to complete their work sincerely.

Plan for a physical meeting once in a while

Video calls are a great boon. However, planning for getting the remote team together once in a while is essential. It will create a feeling of oneness and help the employees open up and discuss the pain points that they would have had previously. It will instigate the team spirit and ensure that the employees are valued.

At Upshotly, we give utmost importance to our employees' comfort and encourage them to work remotely once in a while for them to rejuvenate. With the right set of practices, managing remote teams has become easier for us. And our managers love to do that.

Also, Upshotly gives you the best platform to uncover your team's potential. We build the top-performing performance management software, which you can utilize, to gauge your team's performance and stay in the know about their every move. From aligning teams to monitoring their everyday progress, encouraging daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly feedback to not missing out on any wins and crossing hurdles – Upshotly has it all.

Source: Flex Jobs