Managing a team of remote workers may seem like the easiest thing in the world. But, is it really? You may find that being a manager of a virtual team actually requires much more effort than if you were to do so from a simple two desks over. Instilling accountability, trust and importantly motivation into a remote team can be just that much harder than a regular workforce.
As such, outlined below are some of the downsides of having remote workers for your business and the best ways to overcome them.
Monitoring Working Hours
Allowing remote working is all well and good, but it does rely on quite a heavy amount of trust. And, unfortunately, this can be quite hard to come by in the modern age. As a business, you need to learn to trust your mobile workers in order to remote work to function properly in your business. But that doesn’t mean you can’t put into place some form of monitoring, just to give you peace of mind.
There are plenty of apps or software to help you track remote workers. Including examples such as Time Doctor, Timely and HiveDesk. They offer things like tracking for hours worked, random screen sampling and check in or out timesheets. Some software can even be used to track work, not just time. So, even though your remote worker may be working less hours, they’re still achieving the right level of output.
Some people might feel a little uneasy about being monitored so closely. So, it’s important to stress that it is just a way to ensure the right hours/level of work is being completed while in a remote environment. That way you don’t alienate your mobile workers while trying to implement a way to stave off your – largely justified – worries.
Poor communication in a business can be extremely difficult to overcome. And it brings with it a host of issues. For that reason, avoiding such communication errors with a remote workforce can be vitally important. Yet, also almost impossible to avoid completely.
Software such as Slack can be used to try and stop-gap the communication blockade. Chat software, webcam meetings and other such online communication methods are all valid ways to try and keep your team constantly in touch. But, of course, it never quite has the same feeling as when two of your workers are sat side by side.
As such, you need to keep in mind that some higher level of communication needs to be put into place. And, god forbid, perhaps even an in-person meeting between remote and in-house workers every now and again. This may mean you have to recruit from your own country alone, but it can still open up a larger talent pool for remote work even doing just that.
Risk of Missing Out on a Valuable Worker
Having remote workers helps to open up your talent pool. But, these workers rarely become integral cogs in your business function. Instead, they act as more of an auxiliary force helping to supplement your business and provide valuable work. And in that way you could very well be missing out on a great worker as a result.
Likewise, your employee may find themselves overlooked for promotions and other benefits. Obviously ‘out of sight, out of mind’ is a very old saying for a reason. One which applies doubly so when it comes to remote working.
To avoid this it is vital you fully assess your remote workers capabilities on a regular basis, even if they are not in your office full time. Employee evaluations can help you identify your best workers, make sure they understand their job role and even help you to expand upon it based on their career goals or wishes. The trick is to ensure you’re not overlooking a ‘golden skill’ or something valuable a remote worker can provide just because they’re not sat next to you in an office environment.
How can you motivate remote workers?
It’s a difficult question and one the modern workforce is still trying to provide a convincing answer for, unfortunately. However, there are some techniques which you can employ that will have a big impact. These include:
- Build Relationships
- Offer Training
- Have Clear Goals
- Reward Good Work
It’s surprising how easy it is to keep a worker motivated, simply by ensuring that they feel connected, valued and rewarded for their time. And this is something which can apply to your remote and in-house workers alike. Keeping these four tenets in mind when trying to keep a remote workforce motivated is extremely important.
And another good way to ensure a level of connection – which, in turn, improves motivation – is to ensure that there are some levels of team bonding applied. There are lots of team bonding examples for remote teams, so don’t be afraid to try out some!
The Security Wormhole
Remote working poses a very serious security risk for your business. It’s a simple fact, but one which many people seem to overlook. Remote workers pose a security risk as it is company information which could potentially be lost either via their own personal computers or laptop at work, via pendrive or other remote devices and even simply by not having their own secure networks at home. Data loss can come in many forms.
Of course, there are ways to navigate this. Restrict data being moved or accessed via pen drives or anything of that nature. Set up a VPN (Virtual Private Network) in order to allow access to your company’s private network. This ensures that work is not on any personal computer or hardware, giving you a sort of private lifeline between yourself and your remote workforce. And if you do have problems, remember you might need mediation solicitors Manchester to help smooth over the situation.
In conclusion, there are plenty of issues facing the modern workforce and it’s mobile workforce. But there are also plenty of ways to navigate these issues moving forward. Implement some of the solutions to your problems as listed above and you may find yourself with a revitalised and steady workforce on your hands!