How to manage a mobile workforce

Posted on: May 24th, 2016


Are you helping drive forward the remote workforce revolution? If so, you’ll no doubt have been attracted by the benefits that employing a team of remote workers brings: greater productivity, happier staff members, higher retention rates and reduced costs.

Technology has meant that there’s more to working life than sitting at a desk in an office and today’s workers are on the move. Not only do we all have a choice of more mobile and flexible ways of working, they are also more profitable for businesses.

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), by 2020 the number of mobile workers in the US will hit the 105.4 million mark, up from 96.2 million in 2015. This means that over the next four years, mobile workers across the pond will account for almost three quarters (72.3%) of the entire US workforce. That’s a lot of happy employees!

But to get the most rewards from a mobile workforce you have to know what you’re doing. It’s not just a case of adopting a remote working policy and then watching your bottom line soar. Leading a team spread across a city, region, country or even the globe takes time and effort.

Feel like you might be playing catch up with your approach to remote working? Don’t worry, here are five tips for managing remote workers and boosting productivity at the same time.

1 Focus on results, not working style

We all have our own ways of working, and remote workers are no different. It doesn’t matter if a worker isn’t keeping regular office hours, as long as they get the job done. Be sure to judge a worker’s performance on the quality of their work and whether they are meeting their deadlines, rather than whether they are at their desk between 9am and 5pm.

2 Promote teamwork

Just because your workers are not working in the same place, doesn’t mean they are not part of the same team. Remote workers can often feel isolated so encourage work that allows everyone to work together. Feeling part of a cohesive team can do wonders for remote workers’ sense of happiness and productivity levels; involving them in team meetings and promoting a collaborative approach to projects will help them feel more connected.

3 Go big on communication

Communication is always going to be a challenge when teams are working remotely. Having good relationships between team members is integral to any business’s success. Stay in touch with all of your remote workers – and encourage them to do the same with one another. Regular update calls, instant messages or email chats will keep staff in the loop.

4 Provide the right technology and support

According to a study by Steelcase, only 50% of UK companies invest in the tools that make remote working a reality. The right technology is central to a remote worker’s ability to perform to the best of their ability. Laptops, mobile devices and secure file-sharing software are a minimum requirement for remote workers. Make sure you give employees access to the same tools and support wherever they are based: the cloud is there to be used!

5 Always inclusive, never exclusive

There is often so much more to life in an office than the work itself. There are social events, training opportunities and reward programmes. Be sure to include off-site workers in any extra-curricular activities that take place. Always invite remote workers to parties or team outings, include them in training programmes whenever possible, and give praise when it is due. Remember, no one likes to feel left out and everyone likes to feel included.

Today’s workforce is more mobile and agile than ever, which makes managing your team and their expectations all the more important. To learn more about remote working, and to discuss how it might benefit your business, talk to Lucy Bristow today.

Image: Sunset Lit by Laura D’Alessandro available under the (CC by 2.0) license

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