Managing your staff from your sofa

Let’s not lie. As you read this, it’s highly likely you’re in your most comfortable sweatpants and you’re socially isolating with your fridge far more than you should be.

Working remotely has its challenges, but it’s not going away anytime soon. If anything, it’s likely many business owners will be questioning whether they need to bring their workforce back into an office space once they see ‘business as usual’ has been possible through remote working.

As an outsourced payroll, staffing and workforce management provider with offices across the globe, we’ve been managing remote workforces for quite some time now and, yes, we acknowledge that trust is needed. We all want to trust our employees are fulfilling their work obligations and to this point we can only say this easily reveals itself with time.

However, many of our office-based-employees say working from home has made them more productive without the distractions that come with office life (and we salute the exception who are needing to manage remote working with home schooling their kids. Drinks on us!)

So how can you make remote working ‘work’ for your business as best as possible? These are our EPG top tips:

Ensure your team know what’s expected of them
It’s imperative that senior leaders set their expectations from the get-go, while also remaining realistic on initial employee deliverables in these early days of remote workforce management. It’s a new way of working for many employees and they’ll will need guidance and support as they find their feet. How is it best for them to contact you and how often do you expect them to report in? But also, do you require them to make decisions independently to maintain business as usual for your clients if you’re unreachable online or by phone? Leave the limbo for the Fijian resort holiday we’ll be booking when this is all over and be clear about expected ways of working, of deliverables and what support you also need from them.

Virtual communication
We all miss being able to pop our head into our manager’s office to get a quick reply. Communication is key to managing a remote workforce. There are multiple phone and video calling platforms out there like Skype and Zoom and they’re integral to maintaining business efficiency and communication clarity. We’ve always used Microsoft Teams to encourage more responsive communication between our employees and it’s led to better productivity. Slack is another popular option.

Set tailored group meetings
If you have the technology in place to allow for team meetings, establish how often they’ll take place to ensure everyone turns up on time to share their thoughts, concerns and provide updates. Set up calendar invites. Consider who needs to be on these group calls if they’re taking up valuable time. Monitor the necessity of whole teams being on a call and tailor them as much as possible into aligned sub-groups that will encourage better collaboration.

Put the right technologies and infrastructure in place
Embracing this new world of work means implementing processes and tech that allow your workforce to remain connected and empowered, both locally and globally. This may require some effort and cost but will prove to be an investment in the long run going by the way modern workplaces are moving. Our HCM technology Expedo supports the mobilisation and management of remote working via digital onboarding, timesheets with online approval and payroll integration, along with the ability for employees to self-service from any device with a single sign in.

Time capture when needed
If you’ve implemented the right support and open lines of communication within your team, you should be able to trust your employees to self-manage their own time. While this is the ideal, do you need to consider implementing online timesheet technology to record working hours, what’s being delivered and to what timeframe? Trust is important but so is holding people accountable for delivering on business objectives.

Motivate your employees
Build advocacy for your brand or business starting with how you engage with your employees. When we were still in the office and preparing to all work remotely from home, one of our senior leaders delivered what he called his Winston Churchill speech. He continues to check in and be present for twice-daily online team meetings. It’s important to make sure your remote workers know they’re supported during these strange times and they’ll be looking to you for stability. Showing recognition for innovative thinking or problem solving also goes a long way in keeping morale up and encouraging further thinking outside the covid-confinement box.

We’ve long been helping businesses navigate employment compliance through outsourced payroll, staffing and workforce management solutions, including HCM technology that supports the mobilisation of a remote workforce. Contact Easy Payroll Global if you’d like to learn more.

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