When you talk about a remote or virtual worker, this covers a broad spectrum. It ranges from a full-time employee who works from home several days a week, to team members located in another city or even, another country. It could also mean an organisation that is completely virtual, without a physical office.

Trends point to an increasing number of workers working remotely, with companies increasingly willing to to permit workers flexible work options, including where they work. This lets companies tap into a global talent pool and hire the best workers regardless of where they are based.

Companies now view flexible work options as a viable way to attract and retain the best workers at a time when there is a perceived talent shortage. However, experts advise against shifting to a more remote workforce mainly to cut costs.

While incremental savings can be obtained, the main motivation to work remotely is to offer workers flexibility, so that they can balance work and home life. In fact, 80% of workers regard working remotely as a job perk and 36% would choose working remotely over a pay raise. In this white paper, Lifesize gives you 6 tips for managing a remote workforce.

How to manage a remote workforce:

1) Ensure continous communication: It is imperative that you connect and communicate with your employees continously, whether they are in the same office, across the country, or on the other side of the globe. Email and instant messaging lack the personal touch that effective communication requires. Phone calls are convenient, but your best option is video conferencing. This allows for remote face-to-face communication and more complex dialogs.

2) Make sure you address employee performance: You should regularly assess each employee’s performance by scheduling video conferencing meetings as required. This will ensure that your employees feel valued and can discuss performance issues in a timely and effective manner. This translates into great business results.

3) You should establish guidelines and rules: Make your employees accountable and establish rules and guidelines. These could be about productivity, clocking in and out, attending meetings, submitting their work and more.

4) Conduct informal meetings: If your team is widely dispersed geographically it can be hard to instill team spirit. Hence, it is important that you stage both formal strategy meetings and informal teambuilding meetings. These meetings will help your employees feel like part of a team and will instill in them a sense of mutual responsibility.

how to manage remote workers
Working and connecting remotely

5) Use different channels of communication: You should ensure that employees can get in touch with you using different modes of communication, ranging from HD video conferencing and phone meetings to simple IM chatting or emailing. This will ensure that employees can communicate about different aspects, ranging from assignments to a personal issue.

6) Prioritise employee morale: Use high-speed, high-definition video conferencing to foster a sense of trust and empathy among your remote workers across thousands of miles. It is imperative that employers look at things from their employees’ points of view and offer relevant information and support.

Some important points:

“Managing remote workers is no different than supervising those who are right down the hall from you.”

“The important thing to remember about managing employees who work from home or in global offices is that, at the end of the day, you’re looking for the same things from them as you are from your in-office employees: productivity and reliability.”

“Anyone who has managed a team knows how important good morale is to productivity, and keeping that up can be difficult when you’re managing remote workers who know you only as a voice over the telephone.”

So, now you know more about how to manage remote workers using both management best practices and the latest, cutting-edge technology. Do hire the best workers for your company, regardless of where they are located and manage them using the tips mentioned here. Here’s to a happy and productive remote workforce!

To know more, you can access this white paper by Lifesize. For more information about how to set up video conferencing at work or at home, contact Actis at 022-30808080 or at contact@actis.co.in.

(Content and images courtesy: www.lifesize.com)

AV Solutions, Audio Visual Consultants at Actis Technologies India