Managing a remote workforce has seldom been a simple task. Particularly for HR directors and managers who have to consider policies and procedures alongside personal conflicts and changes to office culture/dynamics. Here are some of the top HR challenges of working remotely and tips on overcoming them.
- Boosting employee engagement and happiness
- Ensuring consistent communication
- Maintaining optimum productivity
- Focusing on training and development
- Maintaining company culture
Boosting employee engagement and happiness
It’s no secret that highly engaged, happy employees will work harder and better than unengaged, unhappy employees. Managing and boosting employee engagement can be challenging enough, considering the personal variations between individual workers (as different people want different things from their employer).
When your workforce is remote, this adds an extra layer of complexity. For example, remote working can cause:
- Employees to feel disconnected from their employers
- Managers may find it more challenging to detect when their direct reports are struggling
- Managers may struggle to offer the right level of support
- Employees may not feel like they’re receiving the right level of support
And a result of the above can affect employee engagement.
Combat this by encouraging collaborative meetings. When on a video call, for example, it’s easy to turn video and audio off and multi-task. Unfortunately, you probably wouldn’t get away with this in real life! Multi-tasking during a call means you’re not ‘fully present’ and can lead to feeling disconnected.
Avoid this by:
- Setting each person an action for the meeting so they have to contribute
- Organising virtual working groups so employees can feel as though as they’re working in one room together
- Organising impromptu team video catch-ups to replicate that spontaneous ‘water cooler chat’
Ensuring consistent communication
Communication will always be a top issue for remote working teams, whether you’ve only started working from home due to a certain pandemic or you’ve always been a remote-based company. From emails to Microsoft Teams calls and Slack messages, there are many channels of communication available to businesses.
Our advice? Pick the main one and stick to it. You don’t want to encourage disparity and end up with important data spread out across a multitude of comms channels. One of these days, you’ll be combing through all these channels, trying to find the file/data you need.
Here are some tips:
- Invest in an end-to-end project management solution that centralises your key data
- Set up regular catch-up calls between your key teams so everyone’s kept in the loop
Maintaining optimum productivity
Can you find out exactly how much work your individual employees and their respective teams/departments are spending at any given time? If you can’t easily access data like this, it’s hard to determine which teams are over or underutilised and predict when you need to recruit.
A project management solution can help by:
- Centralising key project data so it’s easier for employees to find what they need to complete the project
- Offering customisable dashboards so managers can quickly see project progress at a glance
- Providing insights into resource availability so it’s easy to distribute workloads evenly, predict project completion dates, anticipate resourcing needs and more
Focusing on training and development
Can you quickly determine what your business’s training and development needs are? A structured and relevant training and development plan is important because it contributes to employee engagement and happiness. People don’t usually want to stay at a company where they can’t see themselves growing, learning new things and perhaps climb the ladder.
Again, a great project management solution can help. As everyone’s training needs are different, your managers will need to see which skills their teams are already proficient in and which they need more of. This will help them better predict resourcing needs.
Maintaining company culture
Creating and maintaining a positive company culture is no easy feat. It’s even harder to cultivate when you’re managing a group of remote workers.
In this case, it will take a little more effort and careful consideration. Always try to lead by example. After all, why would anyone follow your code of culture if the leadership team aren’t following it?
Then, try to organise meetings and virtual gatherings where employees can still have a good time with each other, despite it being remote. For example, virtual quizzes, games and movie nights are all ways you can encourage employees to socialise outside of work.
Is your remote-based business agile enough to succeed?
Ensuring your remote workforce is as productive, satisfied and engaged as possible is just one thing you must consider in your journey to improve business agility. Some other areas include:
- Improving operational efficiency while reducing the impact of administrative burdens
- Maximising data quality so you can improve business decision making
- Boosting customer engagement and experience, despite the constantly changing nature of expectations
We cover the above areas and more in our checklist to enhancing business agility. Download it below.