Dana Peters - Mar 9, 2020

5 Key Components of a Successful Remote Workforce

At the top of most employee’s working conditions “wish list” is some level of flexibility. Effective and productive remote work opportunities can provide that benefit.

Remote work capabilities also offer advantages for employers. Employers can reduce some overhead costs, rely on a happier (often more productive) workforce, and choose from a larger talent pool when hiring for open positions.

So how does an employer adjust to the growing population of employees working remotely and do so effectively?

Our team at Turpin is primarily remote. Based on our experiences and what we have observed, the following is a list of key components common among organizations that have successfully built and manage a remote workforce.

Expectations
As an employer, defining your expectations surrounding remote work and how it will be conducted is a critical step in the process. Once those expectations and parameters have been defined, communication needs to take place, both written and verbal. Conversations about schedules, working hours, time off, and communication protocol need to take place and be agreed to. Furthermore, employees working remotely need to understand the role they play in the overall success of the organization, regardless of their physical location.

Communication
Overall, communication must be top of mind for all parties involved in the remote work relationship. Hallway and informal lunchtime conversations will not occur with a remote workforce, so having a communication protocol in place is necessary for success. Establish good communication from the beginning of the working relationship by implementing a comprehensive employee onboarding process. The onboarding process should not only outline expectations, but also introduce remote employees to members of the team, individuals they will be working with, and projects they will be working on. It’s important for employees to see the impact of the work they do, and communicating effectively is key to managing that.

We’ve written about overcoming the challenges of virtual meetings before.

Technology
Technology is your best friend when managing a workforce all over the globe. More than ever, technology has the ability to put people “face-to-face” even from remote locations. But it goes beyond just investing in the right technology. Employers need to make sure their remote workforce can utilize technology; that they have the proper equipment and remote office set up. Technology also goes beyond equipment. File sharing services and all collaboration programs remote employees will leverage to work together need to be in place and part of daily work life.

Training
Training, in my opinion, is folded into all that we have discussed so far. When thinking about new training initiatives, consider your remote employees equally when making decisions about learning programs and access to those programs. It’s important to include your remote employees and to explore options other than travel when doing so. Virtual training options can reduce expenses and reach a global audience more efficiently in most cases.

Collaboration
Remote employees and managers within a company still need to feel a sense of team connection and have the ability to collaborate even though they do not share the same physical space. Employers should provide and promote the use of online or virtual collaboration tools. Through these tools, teams can collaborate on various projects, discuss project roadblocks with colleagues, and see the end results of their completed work. Additionally, with remote workers, it’s important to combat isolation. Providing opportunities to collaborate will help build a sense of community and position teams to be successful. Simple check-in calls between team members or their managers will also help to build a collaborative team environment and alleviate any isolation issues remote employees may be dealing with.

A remote workforce is an opportunity both for the employer and the employee. What tips do you have for managing a remote workforce?

 

Written by Dana Peters

Dana Peters has spent the past 22 years in leadership roles, implementing strategic plans and leading solution-based sales, service, and business development initiatives. After participating in one of Turpin’s public workshops, she became a huge fan of our approach to presentation and facilitation skills training. So much so, she decided to join the team as Director of Sales and coach. Dana is our in-house virtual delivery expert. She is also a certified Bates ExPI™ (Executive Presence Index) coach. In addition to her work at Turpin, Dana owns her own business, Mondo Learning Solutions, and also served on the board for the Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter of the Association for Talent Development. In her previous life, Dana spent 15 years in the credit union industry as the Executive Vice President of a mid-sized credit union in Milwaukee. She holds a BA in Psychology and Sociology from St. Ambrose University.