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Chris Bell

4 Insights on engaging a productive remote workforce



The interest surrounding remote work options has picked up considerably since the ‘90s. Given that digital disruptions reshape both the workplace and workforce, it’s not all that surprising why millennials surveyed between 2005-15 prefer companies that offer flexible work options.

After all, when it comes to staying in touch with your co-workers, line managers and supervisors, floor time is no longer a mandatory exercise. Not with the plethora of communication platforms and instant messaging boards bringing everybody on to the same page.

While traditional employers have viewed remote work as a means of losing control over the resource pool, the truth is; remote work is proven to drive team efficiency, leading to a sharp rise in overall productivity. It comes as a win-win for both your firm and workforce when they’re able to pace their work without feeling like they’re being micromanaged for every minute spent on the project clock.

Time saving measures are considered efficiency enablers when your workforce gets more done without being overloaded or underwhelmed. When your staff opt to work remotely, the first step to optimizing work schedules is to ensure the right person is allocated work befitting their role, or in other words, that your resources’ core competencies aren’t being frittered away on more on administrative work than true work. It’s time for some insights that make for a thoroughly productive workforce –

  1. Use a visual scheduler to set up instant alerts

Decisions are clouded with limited visibility into enterprise-wide activities, especially when it comes to resource assignments on upcoming and ongoing work.

An imperative step in boosting your remote workforce’s productivity is to sift through workloads with a visual staff scheduler. This feature sits within a smart resource management software. Not only does it block work calendars by the number of available hours but also ensures that schedule imbalances are corrected instantly.

The more visible the resource and project data before you, the better informed you are of  activity durations that finish early, on time or late. This way, you can repurpose schedules such that even if a fraction of your workforce works from home, they remain instantly updated of task switches and how new priorities affect their personal schedule.

  1. Assign appropriate skill-matches for shifting demands

The first step before finalizing future deployments is to assess workforce relevance, by the competencies in active use per location and project.  The safety net of an evolved skills capacity, therefore, applies to your remote staff as much as it does to those keeping office hours.

After all, your projects are as good as the people assigned to them, irrespective of their work options.  Besides preventing suboptimal assignments, skill-matched expertise equip your staff to adapt to digital disruptions in the market.

To enable a balanced fit between work and training/ learning schemes, the effort bandwidth utilized on the available hours worked remotely should be measured. Resource-centric reports gives you a closer look at this comparison by unifying your existent workforce capacity, utilization and availability at one stretch.  Not only are you pointed to staff who maintain healthy productivity rates all year long but also smoothen out workloads to prevent either work or study hours from excessively consuming your staff’s time.

  1. Apply the Pareto rule to balance all work types

Considering that 80% of all output stems from 20% of the activities undertaken, applying the Pareto rule sensibly results in a more collaborative and engaged remote workforce. How so?

For one, it detects 20% of those staff who contributions result in the majority of all business goals being hit. This way, you’ll know if these employees are a perfect fit for your firm in the long run. The Pareto logic lets you set up a balance between facetime and remote hours such that even 20% of your weekly catch-ups capture 80% of the project’s progress.

Given that you may not get instant responses from everyone online, organizing in-person interactions from time to time not only sorts out flags pertaining to the project, such as downtime and conflicts, but also prevents lags in knowledge transfers.

While whittling down your staff based on how productive they’re being on the clock may seem like a harsh step, in truth, it ensures that your team quality isn’t compromised by under-performing potential.

  1. Provide and invite feedback, regularly

Besides letting teams know how they performed, feedback is a platform for your staff to provide you with input as well, concerning what they liked and disliked about working on a particular project. At a scientific level, feedback held at regular intervals also lets your staff know when to expect to hear back from you regarding completed and unfinished work.

This two-way street is all the more crucial for staff who work remotely. From signing off on work to be done to validating final deliverables, letting them know what they’re doing wrong early on shortens the learning curve considerably.

What’s more, teams can inform you of setbacks faced in the course of the project’s delivery, which enables you to smoothen future workloads accordingly.

Besides being in the position to distinguish high-performers from average and under performers, feedback rewards productivity based on the efforts that contributed to the firm’s overall business goals. It even lets you and your team hash out their learning curve and subsequently place them on self-improvement schemes known to yield the desired results.

After all, as more workers hop onboard the remote work bandwagon, timely feedback keeps them and the projects they’re assigned, on track!

Are you ready to test these insights out on your workforce? 

Author Bio :

As Saviom’s resident subject matter expert on all things workforce planning and resource management related, Aakash Gupta has several publications in the space to his credit. Subscribe to his updates, here.