Businesses are getting used to the idea of the remote workforce. Gone are the days when managerial vigilance was everything and remote workers were viewed with suspicion. Now they are key components of the diverse pool of talent which provides the economic bedrock of our society.
The remote workforce brings with it a range of benefits, from optimised recruiting efforts, improved organisational culture and boosted productivity rates to more agile corporate protocols and an improved bottom line.
But there's no need to take our word for it. Instead, it's time to gain insight from some of the other experts in this field; experts who have either deployed the remote workforce to great effect within their own organisations or who are experienced in educating up-and-coming business talent in the benefits of this revolutionary approach to corporate structure.
Read on to learn more about why you should be embracing a remote workforce in your business.
The traditional view of the remote workforce as being a drain on productivity or at least an unnecessary risk is way off the mark, according to Professor Bloom. He describes how the practice of requiring employees to be in the office on a day-to-day basis is an antiquated and outdated one; a hangover from the Industrial Revolution.
Bloom recently completed a study of Ctrip - a Chinese travel booking platform worth over a billion dollars. Ctrip restructured their working arrangements to enable 10,000 of their employees to join the remote workforce for nine months. Bloom's study found that the experiment paid off with interesting results. Thirteen percent of these employees displayed an improvement in performance and productivity when working from home, with no significant decrease in these metrics from the remaining 87 percent.
Another expert who is shattering the myths surrounding the remote workforce is Jennifer Newbill. Newbill cites the increased flexibility of working remotely as a reason for its success. The trust and respect that an organisation provides to employees when they work remotely have been shown to increase engagement and loyalty to the business, while the flexibility of options mentioned above energises the workforce.
This is completely at odds with the stereotypical view of the remote worker as disengaged and separate from the organisation. Through video conferencing technology and other innovations, business leaders can bring their remote workers into the fold and actively increase engagement across the board. Jennifer Newbill finishes by adding that remote workers with additional life 'perks' are more likely to be an advocate for your business than traditional staff, benefiting your organisation's profile in your industry and beyond.
Timothy Loginov recognises that businesses which deploy remote workforces do need to be aware of engagement and motivation levels among staff. He describes how a daily structure, implemented across collaborative teams, can safeguard this.
He also advocates the use of regularly scheduled video conferences to enable face-to-face communication. Virtual meetings instil a feeling of togetherness within remote teams, while both staff members and managers can pick up on non-verbal communication signals to better understand one another.
Loginov stresses the importance of making these meetings compulsory, to demonstrate that remote staff members are still critically important members of the wider team.
As CEO of international recruiting and management firm Twassistant, Keith Brink understands the different challenges which come from operating a genuinely global workforce. He recommends taking the time to learn about business and social cultures in your workforce's various countries of origin and then deploying this knowledge in your approach to remote management.
Keith also recommends engaging your remote staff members with warm and friendly questions. "How is your family?" and "how was your weekend?" are gentle but effective ways to make remote workers feel part of a wider team.
Sean Si highlights the importance of mutual accountability - not so much to keep tabs on employees but to reinforce the important nature of their role within the organisation.
"We use Hubstaff for our time tracking for accountability," Sean says, "and I make sure that my team also sees my hours."
This approach makes employees feel that they are valued and also increases the trust they feel for managers, even when management techniques are being implemented remotely. Another benefit of the Hubstaff software is that it enables management teams to understand employee wellness. Taking the time to make sure that employees are getting enough rest and are taking the appropriate breaks goes a long way.
To learn more about the power of audio, web and video conferences and the benefits of remote working, get in touch with the Express Virtual Meetings team today.