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5 Easy Ways to Manage A Remote Workforce

Managing a business is tough and it can be made even tougher when employees are spread across a diverse area. From a commercial standpoint, remote workers make a lot of sense not least because the concept of a remote workforce has major financial benefits and means you can assemble a team that is highly skilled, recruiting from a geographical pool of candidates rather than seeking skills from just the local area.

While technology makes it easier to work remotely, as a manager the mere fact of having a team dotted across a number of locations can make life difficult. Fortunately, there are lots of easy ways to manage a remote workforce, no matter how geographically diverse their locations. Try these top five tips to get started…

1. Hold a Regular Virtual Meeting
When you manage workers in an office, it’s easy to stay connected. They deliver reports to your desk, pass you in the hall and drop by your office for performance reviews and progress meetings. Managing a remote workforce requires a similar open door policy, albeit one adapted to recognize the nature of working at home or from another location.

Make it a habit to arrange a virtual meeting with remote workers once a week or once a month. Use a tool like ShowMyPC to make it easy for multiple remote workers to connect at once from various locations. A regular day of the week and time of day will add a sense of structure and offer a forum for offering reassurance, giving feedback and progressing projects.

2. Arrange Conference Calls
If you physically can’t get out to see remote workers at their location, stay connected with a conference call. Use this time to speak either one on one or in small project-based groups or departments. Use this time to talk through recent developments, plan next steps, feedback on work presented, set goals and targets and answer questions. One of the dangers of working remotely is that it’s easy to leave remote workers out of the loop and consider them an annex to the main team rather than an integral part of it. Getting workers to dial into a conference call can help to negate this feeling and ensure that as a manager, you have ready access to any update you need as and when you need to lay your hands on it.

3. Promote Video Conferencing
Encouraging remote workers to communicate by video conference with other team members can help you as a manager to record greater productivity. If remote workers must raise helpdesk tickets or send emails then await a response, valuable time can be lost. However, if you can provide tools such as video conferencing which makes face-to-face communication possible, you’re likely to reduce the sense of isolation, increase productivity and get much more from your team in the process.

4. Provide Top Class Equipment
Your team is only as good as the materials it has to work with. So furnish remote workers with the same quality equipment and resources as those in your office enjoy. That may be a top of the line PDA, a new tablet or a faster laptop or desktop. Even small touches such as supplying good quality noise-cancelling headphones for those who make lots of calls can all help a remote team to perform to the best of their ability.

5. Organize a Yearly Conference
As far as possible make provisions to meet as many remote workers as possible at least once a year. An annual company event such as a conference, a weekend retreat or similar can help to build bridges and encouragement for the following 12 months.
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