Taking charge of a remote workforce

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Date: 20 April 2020

Rear view of a woman's head as she takes part in a groupchat with colleagues.

A remote workforce is something we're seeing come into full effect right now. It will offer pros and cons for each of us. After all, some people love being able to work from home and stay in touch via an online connection, and some people absolutely hate the impersonal and hands-off nature of homeworking.

However, in the world of business, we must be adaptable and work with what we're given. In these difficult times, it's helpful to have some remote working tips to ensure you're always in charge, even when your workers are all over the city or country and you rarely see them.

Whether you love or hate the practical reality of remote working, make sure you take the points below into account, as they can work for everyone who is new to working from home.

Check in regularly

One of the best tips if you suddenly find yourself in charge of a remote workforce, is to check in regularly with everyone who is working on something for you. Make sure you take both direct and indirect workers into account here; teams can spawn teams of their own, and it's good to keep an eye on every single interconnected part.

Don't worry, this doesn't have to be as hard or as complex as it sounds. If you contact your workers once a day, early in the morning when work is supposed to start, or before work ends just to see how the day went, this will be sufficient.

Your employees will come to expect the call from you, and it'll help them establish a homeworking schedule of their own. Use video conferencing apps and be sure to follow up with an email, especially if someone on the other end could not answer the call.

Seeing as emails are checked daily, it will become second nature and you won't have to worry about a team member dropping out of the loop. Give people a chance to raise questions and bring up any final points. And give them plenty of chances to explain to avoid any miscommunication.

Optimize your digital capability

How your business fits into the online world is a crucial part of running a modern company. Your connection to the outside world via the internet and associated apps, and how you use these tools to keep your workforce productive, is key to ensuring you're remain in charge of your remote working plan.

After all, business continuity management is something we all prepare for when drafting our original business plans. Understanding how tech can help us keep employees and customers engaged is vital right now.

So, it's time to optimize your digital capability. Get in touch with your IT department and assess your current capabilities; collaboration is key and needs to be scaled up tenfold. Similarly, make sure you have the right connectivity apps for staying in touch with your team members - you want a platform with plenty of features that can be scaled up in the future.

Optimizing your digital capability can have a very beneficial effect on how your customers perceive you too. If you update your website to give it a fresh look and improve functionality, reduce latency and ensure your network is always connected, everything will move a few paces faster. There's a proper knock on effect here, that can take your digital footprint to the next level.

Make use of a general groupchat

Group chats may sound informal and unprofessional, but in reality, that's why they work when remote workers need to stay in contact with you and the rest of the business.

A group chat ensures that every single message stays in the same place and that everyone who needs to see it will be able to. So, instead of trying to chase down different conversation threads across multiple different platforms, you'll just have to refer back to the group chat. Make it mandatory to check in with this chat on a daily basis, and be sure to make good use of the ‘mention' option - all group chatting platforms have one!

Set some goals

And finally, make sure you have goals for people to work towards. Goals are a normal part of business proceedings anyway, so keep them coming over the next few months. Don't let your daily routine go out the window just because you can't get into the office; there's plenty of ways to ensure people are kept on task and ensure you are on hand if they need any help.

Collaboration apps and platforms will allow you to easily set targets and allow people to tick boxes when a certain task is accomplished. You can give short and informative updates on where they are with tasks they have on their plate. When you're not in the office and can't keep a personal eye on someone, a task planner allows everyone to keep track of each other.

A remote workforce doesn't have to be hard to handle

In reality, managing a remote workforce just takes a bit of organising and requires everyone to be a team player. Of course, if you have a good team on your hands, it won't be hard to trust they're doing what they need to!

So, keep the tips above tips in mind and you will always be at the helm of your remote workforce. If you've got the tools, you can stay in touch. 

Copyright 2020. Article was made possible by site supporter Jeremy Bowler

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