Remote Rally: How to Engage a Remote Workforce
As technology advances, how we perform our daily work can change as well. Burgeoning technology has allowed businesses to transform from brick and mortar locations to more efficient setups including those where some or all of the staff work remotely (from another location.)
Such an arrangement has both positive and negative repercussions. On the positive, the business can save money by foregoing large monthly overhead as the employees or contractors can work from home (or anywhere they have an internet connection for that matter) and the workers themselves can benefit by having a more flexible schedule that includes working from home and zero commute time. With such flexibility, also comes the possibility of a less engaged workforce and the potential for decreased production. It is vital for the business owner to ensure that their remote workforce is engaged with the work at hand and stays motivated and productive.
Here are some solid tips on how business owners can engage their remote workforce:
- Establish Specific Rules and Enforce Them-One mistake that is often made by employers who have remote workers is to allow too much free reign. If workers do not have a specific schedule to follow, they may choose to complete work at random hours during the day, or even push up projects as there is no one there to tell them to “get to work.” Make sure to establish very specific schedules as to when workers should check in with you and deliver updated progress reports on any ongoing projects. Installing some software that will allow your workers to remotely “clock in” is another great way to see when they are online and working.
- Make Sure to Offer Multiple Avenues of Connectivity to Your Workforce-Ensuring that there are multiple avenues of connectivity between the employer and their workforce is another excellent way to keep productivity moving forward and keep everyone accountable. Rather than just emailing workers back and forth, offer a variety of ways to communicate including instant messaging software, video chat software, and of course email as well. Creating rules as to which method to use for different types of communications will help to avoid confusion and help support a productive, communicative virtual office environment.
- Show Appreciation, Reap Praise, and Create an Environment of Positive Morale-Because a remote worker arrangement offers very little if any live face to face contact, relationships can become stagnant quickly and relegated to only online text conversations between employers and workers. Because of this, it is vital for employers to search for ways to reward and recognize workers regularly and create a fun, positive environment, albeit a virtual. A few ways to do this include regular praise for jobs well done that is sent to all workers so the praise is visible to the entire workforce, virtual meetings using video conferencing platforms that allow all workers to engage with each other, and if possible, random LIVE meetings, such as lunches or strategy sessions to increase bonding between workers and employers.
Remote workforce arrangements are increasingly becoming the norm, and if handled properly, they can be an incredibly positive experience for all involved. As long as the business owner is diligent in utilizing the strategies above, they can reap the benefits of managing a remote workforce while significantly decreasing the existence of any negatives.