5 tips to effectively manage a remote workforce
People around the world are getting a crash course in managing a remote workforce due to the novel coronavirus and you can expect some growing pains ahead.
But like any crisis there are opportunities and new ways of doing things that will emerge. If anything the novel coronavirus may have simply accelerated trends in the workplace that were already happening.
Here are 5 tips to manage a remote workforce effectively
FLEXIBILITY IS YOUR NEW COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE
A remote workforce buys you a lot of flexibility. The downside for remote workers is that the day may never seem to end if they don’t follow healthy work habits. The upside is your teams can scale up based on workflow not a schedule that’s dictated by commutes and operating hours. You can use this flexibility to win in the field vs. less nimble competitors.
COMMUNICATE WELL AND OFTEN
The knock on remote work is that you don’t get those chats over coffee and cohesive culture. To replicate that you need to make sure you’re visible on Slack, have an open door (messaging) strategy and make use of video conferencing. This communication theme is easier said than done but it needs to be emphasized. Open office hours via video conferencing may be worth a try so your remote team can get adjusted. Also keep in mind that you’re never going to be able to communicate enough so aim for continuous improvement.
USE VOICE, VIDEO AND THEN WRITTEN FOLLOW-UPS
Face-to-face meetings should usually have a written follow-up so there’s a record and less confusion. With a remote team, this best practice is even more important. You have to work harder to make sure people are on the same page.
USE ALL THE TOOLS AT YOUR DISPOSAL BUT REMEMBER QUALITY NOT QUANTITY
Most enterprises have a handful of video conferencing tools, team management platforms and chat apps. Pick the ones that work and go with them. YAT (yet another tool) is a curse for remote workforces. It is best to use the collaboration tools that folks are using already. Collaboration doesn’t have to be fancy.
THINK AHEAD – HOW THIS EXPERIENCE WILL CHANGE YOUR WORK PRACTICES IN THE FUTURE
After some growing pains, it’s likely that you’ll find your team happier and more productive. Pay attention and think through how the future of work for your team needs to evolve. Enterprises are likely to use this novel coronavirus crisis as a big A/B test for expenses ranging from sales and marketing to travel to commercial real estate holdings. The old way of doing things may not make sense in the future.