The Great Britain of 2017 relies on thousands of businesses who, in turn, rely on remote workforces. From contract cleaning companies and home care providers, to security firms and sales companies, remote workers are now a huge part of the UK workforce in general, and it’s important that they’re managed effectively.
Remote workforces come with their own unique set of challenges for management teams to overcome. For instance, how can you effectively manage a team that you don’t have face-to-face contact with on a daily basis? How can you ensure productivity remains high when staff are not under direct supervision? These are both critical issues for managers to address when handling remote workforces.
If managing remote workforces is part of your job, here are some top tips to ensure you’re running the team effectively, and getting the very best from your out-of-office staff.
Make use of technology
Technology has come on in leaps and bounds in the last few years – so use it! Make the most of innovations like video chatting and conferencing, so you can check in with your entire team when they’re away from the central office. This will help build a sense of team spirit, as well as ensuring your staff don’t feel isolated or totally unsupervised. Use time and attendance solutions and other cutting-edge technology to ensure your staff are where they’re supposed to be, and take advantage of online project management tools to ensure that everyone on the road understands what they’re supposed to be doing. Encourage staff to use apps or online tools of their own to manage their workload or share items of interest with other colleagues, helping to build rapport. Using technology is very important to keeping remote workforces running smoothly, and every business should be looking to integrate tech into their workflows as much as possible.
Set targets and goals for staff
Remote workers can feel unmotivated when they’re out on the road all day, stopping off at their intended destinations and barely communicating with a co-worker. It’s important to ensure they don’t take their eye off the ball – and you can keep them engaged and motivated by setting regular targets and goals for them. Whether it’s a short-term goal of showing up to every appointment five minutes early, or a long-term goal of receiving excellent feedback or completing some training, these small targets give employees the sense of focus that they need when they’re not under direct supervision.
Hire good communicators
This is one tip that will need to feed through to your recruitment or HR team – it’s essential when hiring remote workers that they are great at communication. They must have strong spoken and written skills, and the ability to proactively communicate with management and supervisors. Not only will good communicators be able to build a rapport with the team in the office, they’ll also be able to develop relationships with clients and customers, as well as with other colleagues that they may occasionally meet. Communication skills are very desirable in candidates applying for any role, but especially the roles that involve remote work.
Try not to micro-manage
There are numerous reports and studies out there which say that mobile and remote workers are actually more productive than those who spend their days in the office. It’s important to bear this in mind when you’re fretting about productivity – trying to micro-manage staff when they’re going about their daily tasks is not the way to keep them engaged. It may take some getting used to, but it’s important to step back and place some trust in your team – have faith that they’re good at their jobs, that they’re completing all tasks, and that they’re not letting you down!
Make your expectations clear
There can be no ambiguity about what you expect from your team when you’re managing a remote workforce. Working remotely has less structure than working in an office or in a central location, so it’s vital that you provide at least some structure in the form of expectations. From ensuring team members know their short-term and long-term goals and responsibilities, to making sure they know who to contact with a problem, these expectations must be made totally clear. It’s also important to remember that making these expectations clear is not a one-time task. You must regularly check that employees know what’s expected of them, as well as updating them if expectations or obligations change, as they often do in the demanding world of remote work.
If you want to find out more about time and attendance solutions which can help with managing remote workforces, contact the team at IQ:timecard today.