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HCMWorks Insights

How to Successfully Manage a Remote Workforce

Posted by Julia Fournier on 27 Apr 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many workers across the US and Canada facing a long stint in self-isolation. Businesses around the world have shut their offices, and remote work is now the norm for the vast majority of organizations.

However, this way of work shouldn’t come as a complete surprise for any successful business. A report from Global Workplace Analytics found 50 percent of the workforce currently work in some sort of telecommuting role and 80-90 percent of all employees claim they would like to work remotely at least a part of the time.

Offering remote opportunities to full-time employees or accessing the contingent workforce represents a fantastic opportunity for your business. It can improve worker productivity, give your company access to the top talent in your industry, increase worker satisfaction as well as many other benefits.

In most situations, however, remote work can be difficult for managers to come to terms with. When employees work outside of your office you may feel like you have no control over their work, you may be worried about trust or you might be concerned about the quality of work that they produce.

There’s really no need to worry. A study from CoSo Cloud found that 77 percent of remote employees say they are more productive when working from home, while figures from Owl Labs found that 74 percent of employees say that a remote work option would make them less likely to leave their company.

Creating an agile workforce that allows employees to work remotely and enables your company to access the highly-skilled contingent workforce really is the future of work.

If you have doubts about managing a remote workforce, we have created a few tips here that will ensure your organization gets the most out of its workers when they work from home:

Communicate regularly, and make time for small talk

Our first tip probably goes without saying, but we really can’t stress how important it is to maintain regular communication (every day) with your remote workers. Without this communication, employees can easily start to feel isolated. This will have an impact on the quality of their work and their productivity.

Ensure your team has a daily check in and that they communicate regularly. Installing communication tools - such as Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Skype - will allow you to stay connected to your workers throughout the day.

Also, remember how important it is to make small talk with your remote workers. An essential element of management is building a rapport with every member of your team. By building a stronger relationship with your workers that’s based on trust, you will be able to work through any problems, difficulties or struggles that each member of your team is facing.

Use video when communicating

When communicating with your workers, make sure that you use video. Non-verbal communication plays a significant role in how we relate, engage and establish meaningful interactions in both our everyday life and in the workplace.

This doesn’t just apply for videoconferences. Use video when catching up with every individual worker. This will help you build better relationships with them, and, in turn, they will be eager to impress you through their work.

Set clear expectations

When communicating remotely, it can become easy for messages to get lost in translation. Your workers may have a different idea of what needs to be accomplished, or they might not fully understand when it needs to be delivered.

To avoid setbacks and delays, make sure you clearly communicate any expectations. The better your remote workers understand what they need to do, the better quality their work will be.

Focus on goals, not day-to-day tasks

When managing a remote workforce it can be easy to become tied up in your worker’s day-to-day tasks, and even fall into the trap of micro-managing them. It’s not possible to manage every aspect of the work that your remote workers are doing, and trying to do so can negatively affect their productivity.

Instead, focus on the outcomes of your remote workers. Measure their performance by their final deliverables, and analyze whether this work has helped your company achieve the overall goals that you set out to accomplish.

Trust your team

From the wide number of studies that have been conducted around remote work, we know just how productive and efficient workers are when they work from home. Constantly worrying about your team and expressing this to them will only lead to worker frustration.

It’s important to trust your team. Give them the freedom and flexibility they need to get the work done and let them find out for themselves when they are most productive. If they need it, let them take a break in the middle of the day or let them wake up earlier than conventional office hours if that helps.

One person’s way of working won’t work for everyone, so as long as your remote workers are delivering high-quality work, let them have the freedom to work in the way that best suits their lifestyle.

As a managed services provider (MSP) specializing in the contingent workforce, HCMWorks has unique expertise in what it takes to manage a large contingent and remote workforce. If you have any questions, we would be more than happy to help. Contact us today.

Tags: Workforce Management

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