Changes in the work sphere happen every day and recently, having a remote workforce has unleashed in full swing as a trend. It is said to be the next frontier of all businesses.
According to Global Workplace Analytics, 50% of all workforce are working in some sort of telecommuting role and this statistic is predicted to only grow in the future, keeping in mind the benefits that come with a remote workforce.
Though it is difficult to completely shift to an agile working style with no physical offices and no employees under one roof, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that remote workforce will definitely impact the ecosystem largely.
Many managers may find it hard to come to terms with the various aspects of a remote way of working and it will become important to address such issues. For now, let’s look at the remote workforce from an HR’s perspective and what it really means to a company.
How to Recruit, Manage and Engage With a Remote Workforce?
A remote workforce has many advantages for a company. This type of model can be quite productive and in fact, drive better collaboration amongst the employees. Here are some benefits of having a remote workforce:
Having a team from different locations can widen your talent pool hugely, unlike traditional hiring where local people are majorly employed. You tend to limit the diverse aspects that come with having a team from different parts of the country and world.
You will find differences even within the same country, like the team in Bangalore will vary in their work dynamics from the team in Delhi. When you bring together different perspectives and innovative ideas from every individual coming from varied cultures and backgrounds, you can bank upon some great ideas falling in place.
Most companies spend a huge amount on conducting surveys and analyzing what the masses really want out of a product. Having a remote workforce onboard fulfills dual needs of gathering all of this data firsthand and people with diverse backgrounds as part of your team.
Jobs are no longer restricted to the 9 to 5 schedule, as work pressures are ever mounting. A lot of people work round the clock to meet deadlines. The millennial workforce expects one thing from their jobs today and that is flexibility.
Deloitte’s 2016 Millennial Survey found 88% wish they had the ability to choose when they start and finish work.
This lets them achieve a better work-life balance and planning their work schedules around their life. Working remotely gives them the flexibility to work from wherever they want, attend meetings virtually and collaborate online rather attend face to face meetings.
With the cloud-based collaboration tools available in plenty, it has become even more feasible for millennials to choose remote working jobs. For employers, it is the best time to attract young, vibrant individuals into the company who bring fresh ideas to the table and raise productivity levels.
3. Cost Savings:
One of the major advantages to any business is the cost savings that happen with a remote workforce. If the team is fully distributed, companies can experience reduced overhead expenses such as rent, electricity and office furniture.
According to Flexjobs, employers can save $22,000 per remote worker per year, even if their entire team is not remote.
That is some great savings in cost and a boost to the company’s bottom line.
4. Engaged Employees:
A study revealed that 75% of employees said that they would quit their job for one that offered remote work.
Why is working remotely such a sought-after practice amongst employees? That is because remote workers feel more happy, productive and valued while doing their jobs, as compared to the non-remote workers.
It helps employees feel more confident and stress-free, leading to an increase in efficiency and productivity levels. The conclusion is that you have a collective team which is distributed, saving costs, working more efficiently and most importantly, engaged employees onboard.
Things To Note When Hiring And Managing Remote Employees!
While having a remote workforce seems like an optimistic turn for a business, it is essential to keep some things in mind while you are in the process of hiring and managing remote employees:
1. Don’t Ignore Physical Spaces:
When you scale up a company with more and more remote workforce, chances are that they won’t be present in the same city. Does that mean that physical offices are irrelevant? Not really.
A physical office which has workstations acts like a hub for where you have space for employees to come together for annual meetings or retreats, host visiting employees to boost rapport and entertain clients in-person. Co-working spaces can be a good option for having a physical workplace and keeping your expenses to a minimum at the same time.
2. Hire Only Quality Talent:
With more employees, companies see a surge in expenses in the form of salaries and benefit packages, due to which many employers end up cutting corners by hiring not-so-great employees. Never do that as a bad hire will eventually cost you more.
You will have to dedicate a resource to constantly monitor and approve their actions, which can get costly in the long run. It’s essential to get your hiring decisions right especially with a remote workforce, for the very reason that they work remotely.
3. Make Good Use Of Technology:
Invest in good technology, that helps you manage your remote workforce well. There are many collaborative tools available that lets workflow seamlessly and at less cost, such as Google Docs and Slack. Dropbox offers unlimited cloud storage for professional teams for about $20 a month. As your remote employees increase, don’t shy away from investing in tools and digital services that will only aid you in better management practices.
Here’s How You Can Keep A Remote Workforce!
Even with all the benefits of having a remote workforce, it may get daunting for employers to keep a track of all the resources and ensure they are performing at their full capacity. This is how you keep a remote workforce fully engaged:
1. Treat Remote As Local:
Your remote workforce may not engage with you every day in discussions, meetings, unlike your local employees. This is why it is best to treat remote employees as local by giving them as much access to you as possible. They should never feel distant or apprehensive reaching out to you. Respond to them as promptly as possible.
2. Regular Interaction:
It is very important for remote workers to feel closely connected with the company if they are to produce good results. Have regular sessions of interaction with them either through phone or video chats. You can also schedule face-to-face meetings from time to time, which can be combined with a training or coaching programme.
3. Have Shared Goals In Place:
Take personal interest in your team’s learning and life goals. Find a way to connect the same with your company’s goals. Discuss family, commonalities and shared beliefs, when possible. After all, nothing engages an employee better than an employer that cares for his or her personal ambitions.
4. Trust Your Team:
To completely enjoy the perks of a remote workforce, it is important to place a certain level of trust in your employees. This is possible by setting up work-from-home guidelines such as emails must be replied to within 24 hours, using text for urgent matters etc. Engaged employees are the result of a company culture that trusts their team well.
Given how millennials will soon occupy a major chunk of the workforce, remote jobs are here to stay. It’s time for organisations to take this seriously, and prepare themselves to manage a remote workforce!