How to Successfully Manage a Remote Workforce

When it comes to the variety of skills manpower must have in order to make a business succeed, modern industries’ demands have surpassed the available offer in the local markets. This phenomenon has led companies to search for talent beyond the line of sight of internal HR departments, and even yonder past geographical limits.

This quest has resulted in the need to build a remote workforce that brings to the table new ideas and different perspectives that empowers the team and improves companies’ performance. However, building a remote workforce is not only about hiring from afar. It’s also about implementing strategies that allow you to properly manage your team from wherever you are while guaranteeing employee engagement and wellness.

Remote is not freelance

One of the most common misconceptions is the blurry line between hiring remote workers and outsourcing freelancers. Although the latter can become a great advantage to your company when it comes to finding extra help to complete specific tasks in a per-project basis, these fellows are only temporary, while your remote workforce is an extension of your brand beyond your headquarters.

A full-time remote employee fulfills a typical 9-to-5 job, including meetings, training, reports, fixed salary and benefits with the addition that they can do it from any corner of the world. Whether you call it telecommuting or virtual jobs, remote workers are a great asset. They contribute with the development of your company because they have the exact set of skills you are looking for.

Engagement can be tricky

Your remote workforce may be some sort of “dream team” that can not only help you achieve your goals but also inspire the rest of your employees. Nevertheless, their location can become a handicap when it comes to keeping them engaged and satisfied.

Overall, your remote team may enjoy their freedom and not being constrained by the walls of cubicles, but working with others from afar can be very challenging. Following workflows or trying to find solutions when conflicts arise can be time consuming and have a significant impact on productivity, costs, deadlines, morale, stress, and retention. Thus, the importance of knowing how to properly lead your workforce and build a strong relationship with them.

A healthy relationship is the key to success

The lack of close contact with other peers can inhibit workers to the point of isolation, which is why open communication channels, trust, mentorship and leadership are the foundations to build an invincible remote team.

Here are some pointers to help you build a sense of connection and mutual purpose with your employees in the distance:

  • Be consistent: Check in frequently and consistently with remote employees. Stay in touch, make sure you know what’s up with your employees and show interest in their wellbeing and concerns.
  • Be present: Schedule face-to-face or voice-to-voice meetings on a regular basis. Use this time for team building activities and strengthening your relationship with them.
  • Be open: Develop your communication skills. Successful leaders are good listeners and teach their subordinates through trust and respect. Make sure you don’t overdo it and fall into a micromanaging “spiral of doom” that can affect your team’s behavior.
  • Be clear: Say what you want and need explicitly. Don’t leave anyone in the dark about projects, roles, or deadlines. This could have a negative impact on your interaction with your employees.
  • Be available: You need to go above and beyond to maintain both remote and on-site employees engaged. Remote employees should always be able to get in touch with their leads for any pressing concerns, no matter their time zone.
  • Be savvy: Tech is on your side and will allow you to tailor your means of communication to each employee’s needs. Make sure you stay up-to-date with the latest and most effective apps to facilitate communication with your workers.
  • Be attentive: Recognition is essential to build a strong relationship with your team, whether they share office space with you or not. Build personal bonds with your workers and recognize their hard work. A little incentive can make a great difference to keep your employees happy, engaged and motivated.

Remote doesn’t mean distant

Like any other long-distance relationship, if you want things to work out with your remote crew, you need to invest time and attention on them, just like you do with your in-office team. A solid relationship based on trust and good communication will let you see workers live up to their true potential no matter in what corner of the world they’re at.

Originally published to Neuvoo’s Hiring & Recruiting Blog.





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