Could you manage a remote team? The coronavirus crisis has seen an increasing number of businesses offering employees the chance to work from home, as much out of necessity to help stop the spread of the virus as anything.
But now that these employees have been given the chance to work from home, it’s a perk that many will want to keep in place long after we’ve all returned to our offices and workplaces in one capacity or another – especially if it’s proven to be a success.
Would your business be able to handle a remote workforce in the long term?
It’s one thing managing staff on site, but being in charge of a team you can’t physically catch up with requires a whole new skill set – not to mention a great deal of trust.
If you’re thinking of taking on remote workers, or encouraging existing staff to work from home, here’s how to effectively manage a re mote workforce.
Do you want a remote workforce?
Rapid advancements in technology have made it easier than ever to do our jobs from anywhere in the world. With hosted data and the proper security tools, employees can now access all the resources required to their jobs from anywhere there’s an internet connection.
But, before you take the plunge and hire a load of freelancers, or let your current staff out of the office and into the world, you need to ask yourself on question: Do I actually want employees working from home?
You might emphatically answer yes, for any one of the following reasons:
- You need of a person with a specific skill set that is not available in your region. As a result, the only recourse is to seek candidates from a larger populace where those skill sets are prevalent.
- You’re business is a startup and you have limited office space – if you even have an office – and any capital you do have in the business would be better spent in areas other than hiring office space.
- You want to offer work from home benefits as part of an holistic wellbeing package, to help employees with childcare responsibilities or simply promote a better work/life balance.
Regardless of the reasons, as a business owner you need to fully consider the implications of utilising a remote workforce and how that will shape the company’s culture.
When weighing up the positives and negatives involved in hiring cons of hiring remote employees or allowing existing staff to work from home , you first need to work out whether there is a legitimate business justification for doing so. If so, you should then speak to a trusted IT advisor to assess your systems’ capacity to provide methods for remote access securely, and decided whether to allow employees to use their own devices for work purposes. This is a very important decision, as robust security is paramount to any business – we’re all susceptible to cyber attacks, no matter how big or small our operation.
And because you’ll need to hold meeting with your remote workforce, you’ll need a reliable and cost-effective conference call provider. ConferenceCall.co.uk is the UK’s simplest conference calling service – calls for up to 100 participants, from anywhere in the world, can be set up in a matter of minutes, and you only pay for the calls you make, the are no contracts or reservations.
How to manage a remote workforce
Managing a remote workforce isn’t that different to managing one in your office, there are just a few simple rules you need to stick to, to make a success of it:
- Hire the right people – Not everyone is suited to working remotely, so make sure you vet staff thoroughly before going ahead and letting them work from home.
- Use the right remote working tools – Employees need to be able to do their job as effectively from home as from the office, so make sure they have all the tools and tech they need.
- Hold regular meetings – It’s important that everyone keeps in touch and knows exactly where each other is up to, particularly if they’re all working on the same project. So arrange regular catch up meetings – this is where conference calling comes into its own.
- Encourage transparency and a strong company culture – Remote working is based largely on trust – because you can’t see your staff, you really have no idea what they’re up to – so make sure you encourage transparency and get them involved in all aspects of the business or projects. This will help build trust and a strong company culture.
- Plan and process – Make sure all work is properly planned, with regular deadlines set, so everyone knows where they’re up to at all times.
This infographic from Entrepreneur.com has more top tips for managing a remote workforce.