How to Increase Efficiency of Your Remote Workforce?
In this blog post, we will look at what a remote workforce is, the benefits of working remotely, and how you can use workforce management to optimize your team, increasing productivity and efficiency.
7 min read
Mar 19, 2021
In recent years, the professional landscape has transformed. Global connectivity, advances in technology, and the desire for work-life balance have seen a shift in how we work, with more and more businesses beginning to turn to remote teams. The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated this, with businesses forced to adapt to a remote workforce and, in doing so, many choosing not to look back.
Digital transformation does more than affect your workers’ location; it impacts communication, interaction, and company culture. When jump-starting this change and transitioning into a remote workforce, it is crucial that you put the necessary measures in place to ensure that you maximize efficiency while making sure that your team is supported.
What Is A Remote Worker?
Remote workers are employees, freelancers, contractors, or subcontractors who work outside the traditional office setting. Not limiting themselves to office space, they work from a digital office at home, coffee shops, co-working spaces, and in some cases, on the road.
Benefits Of Working Remotely
The remote workforce is growing in popularity, with more and more employees seeing the ability to work remotely as an incentive for taking a job. Employees are benefiting from better work-life balance, sharper focus, more autonomy, and as a result, more motivation and overall job satisfaction. However, it is not only employees who benefit from remote working as there are clear advantages for employers, too, such as flexibility, diversity, access to a larger talent pool, and reduced costs.
Work-life balance is essential for your employee’s efficiency and morale; flexible working is a great tool to improve this. Without the need to commute, remote workers gain back extra time in their day, complete chores while working, and schedule their workdays around appointments or family commitments. With flexible working conditions and more trust, employees are generally more motivated and, therefore, less likely to miss work and are more open to doing overtime.
Access Overseas Talent
Without geographical restrictions, remote working enables you to diversify your team and hire talent from all over the globe. Regardless of the location or time zone, you are able to hire the most qualified person for the job. Hiring overseas talent can also enable you to provide a more comprehensive service; for example, in customer service or sales support, you can have staff in multiple time zones allowing for 24/7 support.
Investing in a remote workforce is a great way to reduce costs and reduce your carbon footprint. While you still need to invest in equipment and software, you are able to cut costs by giving up your office space and all the expenses that come with running an office. Along with the business cutting down on expenses, your employees can also save money without the need for long commutes.
How To Create A Productive Remote Workforce?
The key to creating a productive remote workforce is having the proper digital infrastructure to support and manage your team. Supporting a remote workforce requires more than equipping them with laptops, monitors, and phones; it requires digital support to work as a team effectively. This includes communication platforms, video conferencing tools, CRMs, and cloud-based project management tools. Integrating these tools with everyday work allows for collaboration, organization, and an overview of what the other team members are working on.
With the right combination of hardware and software, you don’t have to give up the collaboration or the personal touch of a traditional office; businesses are able to recreate an office environment from any location.
What Is Remote Workforce Management?
Remote workforce management is the practice of effectively leading and managing employees that are working remotely. As remote teams tend to be more flexible and self-sufficient than traditional teams, it requires a combination of communication, technology, and processes to manage a remote team effectively. As there are clear benefits of having a remote workforce, investing in your team and management will maximize productivity and efficiency.
How To Manage A Remote Workforce?
Once you have your remote workforce equipped with the right tools, you then need to understand how to manage remote workers to optimize their efficiency. Managing a team remotely isn’t easy; you need to be a leader because, despite all the advantages that a remote team can provide, you need to be able to inspire, monitor, and manage your team effectively.
Set Clear Guidelines And Expectations
In managing a remote workforce, communication is key. As remote working gives your team more freedom and accountability, you need to ensure that your employees are well prepared and able to manage their workload. You can do this by setting clear guidelines, schedules, and deadlines. Setting guidelines and expectations will ensure that they don’t waste time on projects or tasks that are not priorities and that everyone is aware of what they need to do to achieve the company’s goals. There are several tools that can assist you, such as project management software, regular catch-ups, KPIs, and performance tracking.
Team meetings and regular catch-up are vital in managing and optimizing your team. This is where you can share updates, ask questions, express concerns, and determine what support or tools your team needs to do their jobs. The communication must be multi-directional, meaning that you don’t just talk, but you listen to your team’s needs too. A breakdown in communication can make your team feel unsupported, affecting both workforce productivity and work quality.
Give Adequate Training
A remote workforce requires access to a number of cutting-edge technologies to function; access to technologies will only go so far if your employees lack the skills to utilize them. To truly transform your workplace and maximize efficiency, training sessions should cover everything from project management to cybersecurity to collaborating remotely. Having adequate training will help your team embrace the digital mindset and feel confident in being able to do their job effectively.
Trust Your Employees
Remote working is a relationship built on trust; you need to hire remote workers that you can trust to work without checking in constantly. Micromanagement in remote work can impact efficiency as constant communication takes up precious time that the employees could be using to get the job done. Along with efficiency, trust encourages productivity, as often the micro-management of remote teams impacts morale and decreases initiative and productivity. While you always need to provide support, give your team the independence to be proactive and self-sufficient.
Create Company Culture
Having a remote workforce does not mean that you have to sacrifice company culture. Working and feeling like a team is just as important in remote workforces as it is in physical workforces. Encourage collaboration and interaction, organize events, catch-ups and promote unity. There are a number of tools you can use to facilitate collaboration and have face-to-face interactions. Despite all the benefits of remote work, there are some downfalls too, such as losing the social aspect of work. A way of encouraging company culture is to make sure that your catch-ups are not always work-based and that you make time for personalized interactions.
Promote Mental Wellbeing
One of the most important aspects of remote workforce management is looking out for your team’s health and wellbeing. While the perks of remote working are undeniable, it does also mean that often employees can fall into the habit of working longer hours, feeling isolated, or suffering from burnout. As a leader, it is essential that you promote the importance of mental wellbeing and offer support and solutions to ensure that your team takes care of their health. There are a number of ways you can support your employees, such as checking in regularly, encouraging breaks, offering health-orientated incentives, and leading by example. Promoting your employees’ mental wellbeing will ensure they feel supported, resulting in a long-term partnership.
Managing a remote workforce does come with its challenges, but overwhelmingly the benefits speak for themselves, with many companies reporting higher levels of job satisfaction. Remote workforces present several opportunities for both employees; however, to ensure that your productivity is not sacrificed, you need effective remote workforce management. Following this guideline and working with your team to find out what works for them will maximize efficiency and improve team morale.