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THREE TIPS ON MANAGING AND GETTING THE MOST OUT OF A REMOTE WORKFORCE

Written by Ellie Senior.

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Traditional working models have well and truly been shaken up with the advent of technology, making it easier than ever for some employees to work anywhere across the world. Of course, remote working isn’t a suitable option for every company or, indeed, every role, but it certainly has its benefits for both your staff and business. So, how can you successfully manage your workers when they’re never all under one roof?
We employ a number of home workers here at Inspire – and are on the lookout for more – so we thought we’d share these top tips on keeping staff happy, engaged and involved in the business.
Plan, plan and plan
Preparation is key here – keeping weekly and monthly plans of activity, as well as weekly plans for each member of the team with their own personal actions, will help manage activity and keep staff informed of what everyone else is doing.
Using a project management system will help keep you on top of unplanned tasks too – there’s nothing worse than thinking you’ve planned the perfect week to only have it derailed at 11.30 on a Monday morning. Keeping assignment activity up to date will make sure your staff are on track to complete certain tasks, and there are some great project management systems that’ll update the rest of your team too.
Get face-to-face
It might be difficult to meet your remote workforce face-to-face, particularly if they live at the other end of the country, or in a different time zone completely. However, with the bulk of virtual office communications relying on email and phone conversations, lack of opportunity to chat to your staff can leave people feeling left out of the loop. Remember, meeting in person is always the best option, where you can.
Setting some time aside every month to Skype or FaceTime your employees allow you both to pick up on nonverbal cues, building up your relationship with them as a manager. Similarly, Google Hangouts provides free virtual video meeting and chat software, so book in a regular meeting and catch up with everyone, too!
Communicate!
Home workers can’t just ask you for a quick five minutes as they would in the office if they’ve got any issues, so the impetus should be on you to check in with your team to see how they’re coping, how the job fits in with their lifestyle and how they’re doing in terms of any performance reviews. A strong communications strategy is key here, whether it’s daily updates on your project management tool, regular emails and calls, or passing on wider company updates. These will all help keep your workforce engaged and more certain of their position within the company.
It’s important to consider the needs of your workforce when it comes to reward and recognition, too – after all, top performers will want to be recognised whether they’re working from home while raising the kids or working in the next cubicle along.
Flexibility is important when it comes to recognising the achievements of this particular type of worker, and the Inspire Travel Card is the perfect reward. It works in the same way as a gift card – allowing users to use the amount to take money off more expensive flights, hotels or trips, or they can use it to book attractions tickets, both abroad and in the UK.
It also keeps the Christmas spirit rolling on through January, which is typically when employees’ moods are at their lowest and when most people consider leaving their current role. So, you could give them something that fits in with their lifestyle and travel preferences to really nail home how much you understand your team.

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