Tips on How to Manage a Remote Workforce
Updated: Apr 3
The following is an article “Tips on How to Manage a Remote Workforce” by Marc Primo.
In the last few years, more and more startups have chosen to manage remote workforces. Aside from providing workers with more convenience and better time management, other advantages of working outside the office include improvements in employees’ motivation and productivity, not to mention the overall quality of life. According to the Global Workplace Analytics, companies that manage a remote workforce can even reach five figures per year in their operational savings.
However, setting up a remote workforce could take several adjustments in your systems and operations as it is very different from the traditional nine to five arrangement. Before you hire remote employees, you should first learn what complications could arise from handling a virtual team of professionals and what you can do to keep everything organized.
Below are some of the most common challenges you might encounter when managing a virtual team of employees and how you should handle each one:
Communication. Before you try to solve other problems, focus first on establishing an effective communication set-up with your remote employees. Without efficient communication, deliverables could be delayed or, worse, you may not get any work done at all. Make sure you train your business managers well so that they can give their respective teams clear instructions on specific assignments. This means that you should effectively define your strategies to your managers as well. Remote communication is like playing a game of pass the message, and you’d want to have good communicators on your team to get all the tasks done effectively.
Schedule. One of the most frequent problems you could encounter when managing a remote workforce is the conflict of schedules. This happens more often to companies that hire employees from overseas because time zones become a huge factor in the delivery of results. While you may find yourself in a pretty difficult scenario plotting deadlines and schedules, don’t worry as you only need to focus on coordinating tasks more clearly. Use various work-related apps such as Slack, Workzone, or Fuze that let you exchange files and allows you to plan schedules on official calendars. Make sure you also have regular meetings with your managers and employees so you can align objectives and receive relevant updates.
Cultural differences. Another problem you could encounter when hiring overseas employees is cultural differences that create conflict or misunderstandings between your employees. The key to avoiding this is transparency with how you value your employees and the opportunities that you give them professionally. Investing in remote team building exercises will do your company good giving them an avenue to air their concerns, opinions, and views. Be inclusive in all your employee-related programs and make sure that each one is compensated according to their expertise, rather than their ethnicity or gender preference. Showing them that you regard their capabilities and individualities will earn you their respect as well.
Monitoring and Evaluation. As in all work arrangements, your remote employees should also be subjected to periodic monitoring and evaluation so you can appraise their performances. Checking on them regularly will let you know if they are up to par with your company standards and are being productive. When managing a remote workforce, you should categorize job performances between those who have their own time and are given deadlines, to those who work on a set number of hours. This way, you can identify which aspects of their jobs you can monitor. While monitoring your remote employees, integrate a virtual team management application like Hangouts, Chanty, and Trello to make it easier for you to track their output.