The recent outbreak of coronavirus has sent companies across the globe reeling. Not only have markets plummeted, but many large companies have been forced to rapidly make the transition from a workforce that is entirely in-house to one that is completely at-home.
While having employees work remotely is hardly a new concept, very few companies had the infrastructure in place to deal with a mass changeover to remote work. We’ll take a look at the methods companies can use to ensure that productivity doesn’t suffer as the number of remote workers increases.
Rising Popularity of Remote Workers
Even before the coronavirus outbreak, remote working was on the rise. According to Forbes, in 2019 remote working was already one of the top ten trends of the modern workplace. This trend was supported by research demonstrating that remote workers are more individually productive and happier in their jobs. In fact, in Gallup’s “State of the American Workplace” report, it was found that roughly 43% of workers already spent considerable time working remotely.
The recent outbreak has sparked what Time magazine called “the world’s largest work-from-home experiment.” Governments and companies around the world are urging employees to stay at home. This development has caused the remote workforce to explode and companies may find themselves struggling to put procedures into place that ensure the transition is as smooth as possible.
Whatever steps companies decide to take, it’s sure to leave a lasting impact on the nature of the modern workforce. As we discussed, the trend of remote working was already on the rise even before coronavirus struck. Now that the rise has been jump-started by a global catastrophe, many workers and companies are seeing the benefits remote work has to offer.
Strategies to Ensure Remote Working Productivity
There are various approaches that companies might take to ensure productivity when it comes to remote workers. Different leadership styles and employee personalities mean different approaches can be used. Some of these include:
Inspiration – This approach is all about having employees rally around a common vision. This can be achieved by stressing the family-like atmosphere of the company and making each employee feel unique and important, and without whom the company can’t function. This is a useful approach even in a physical workspace but can be even more powerful in a distributed one. Studies show that employees who feel emotionally connected to their companies have a 24% lower turnover rate, 17% higher productivity, and 21% higher profitability.
KPI’s – Setting KPI’s and OKR’s is crucial for employees who operate more efficiently with a task-based approach, or for managers whose teams are too big to check-in with individually. When there is less oversight due to people working from home, for example, having clear benchmarks and KPI’s can ensure that productivity doesn’t suffer despite the drastic shift in environment. As Peter Drucker said, “What gets measured gets managed”.
Self-Motivation – For an employee who is a self-starter and needs little managerial input, having them self-motivate is the perfect strategy to maintain productivity. In this strategy, the employee would do their work in their own conditions and at their own pace. They could then report back to management wherever necessary. A self-motivated, self-managed employee or team is likely to be more productive than one that operates by instruction.
Micromanaging – This is an approach that helps management maintain a more top-down authoritative structure. It has complications when the workforce is distributed and the manager can’t oversee all employees at all times. There are employee monitoring programs that allow managers to grab screenshots at random intervals to ensure constant productivity. Although programs like these can be effective at maintaining productivity, they do little to inspire employees with a sense of trust and belonging.
These are just some of the strategies that organizations can use, depending on the employee, team, and leadership. The trend – and lately, necessity – of remote working demands that strategies are in fact put in place to ensure a productive distributed workforce.
A Centralized Hub For A Decentralized Workforce
Mensch’s unique HR platform offers core support for remote workers.
For example, the Workflows feature allows you to reduce your daily follow-ups with employees, increase engagement and centralize data with the custom workflow platform. You can also digitally create workflows, such as on/offboarding, sending out notifications and alerts, and other HR-related task management operations.
Mensch offers many other features that support remote working and encourage increased productivity, such as Doc management & E-signature, Performance & Surveys, Time Management, and Reports & Insights.
Take Siemplify, a large award-winning cybersecurity company that counts Fortune 500 firms among its clients. The company, which has raised $58m, supports over one hundred workers around the globe. It needed a dynamic HR platform that could underpin their business success. They turned to Mensch, and have used the features the Mensch platform offers to support, manage and grow their workforce and their company.
Remote Work Is The Future – And The Present
Remote working, at least in part, was always going to be the future of work. This is likely accelerated by the current coronavirus-enforced work-from-home policies adopted by many organizations.
As we’ve seen, there are a variety of ways to manage remote workers and ensure their productivity. What’s certain is that your infrastructure, particularly from an HR perspective, has to support this.