4 Difficult Things About Remote Workforce Management
As more companies jump on the telecommuting bandwagon, many managers realize that remote work poses unique challenges, especially when it comes to remote workforce management. Our team at Hubstaff has been 100 percent remote since its founding, so we’ve been through most of the issues that those who are just experimenting with remote work for the first time are going through.
Here are the challenges you’ll need to overcome to have success with remote workforce management:
Find your “why.”
Many people decide to take the remote path for their businesses without thinking about their motivation. Even if you have thought about it, but it doesn’t go beyond “no rent” or “paying lower salaries to my workers,” then you’ll find success with your virtual team elusive.
Switching to remote workforce management has many virtues, including:
- Giving yourself and your employees the freedom and flexibility to explore the world or spend time with your families;
- Choosing people to work with from a talent pool that spans the whole world; or
- Doing your bit in helping the environment (by not commuting every day).
Communicate just enough.
Good communication is important to any team regardless of size, purpose, or whether you’re all located in the same place. However, since remote teams get almost no face time together, communication is even more important to them.
We like to say that remote teams need to learn to over-communicate or default to discussing things in the greatest possible detail. The hardest thing here is to find the right balance: One of the things we hate most about traditional offices (after cubicles) are pointless meetings. There’s no need to recreate them when managing a remote workforce.
Instill trust and accountability.
No matter how sophisticated the monitoring software you use, you just don’t have the time to oversee and manage your employees in manual mode, especially as your team expands.
Creating a high-performing remote team starts with choosing the right people, giving them everything they need to get their work done, and then letting them decide what the best path is to achieve the goals you’ve agreed upon.
We see our product, which we also use internally, as a tool that creates an environment of trust and accountability, where team members feel trusted but also responsible for delivering on their goals.
Inspire a shared culture.
We can afford to trust our team to be self-motivated and accountable because a large extent of our effort as co-founders has gone into creating a culture that encourages openness, honest debate about every aspect of our work, and proactiveness.
Many founders choose to brush off the culture aspect, thinking it’s insignificant in the early stages of their businesses when there’s so much else to do. In fact, trying to change culture later on is much harder—it’s like trying to change the tire of a moving vehicle.
No challenge is insurmountable.
No blog post can cover the full extent of obstacles a company can run into. I document a lot of the issues we run into as a remote startup, and how we deal with them, on Hubstaff’s blog.
If there’s one piece of advice about remote workforce management I would like to leave you with, it’s this: Whatever trouble you run into, don’t despair. There’s always a solution (either a technical one or through leadership) that can be applied to cope with said challenge.
Dave Nevogt is a serial entrepreneur who has built three multimillion dollar businesses using remote teams. His current company is Hubstaff (Remote.co Q&A), which provides comprehensive time tracking and remote management to more than 8,000 businesses around the world.
By radmin | February 4, 2016 | Categories: Remote Management