Four Leadership Tips for Managing a Remote WorkforceAccording to Global Workplace Analytics’ research in 2015, as much as 25 percent of the American workforce does at least some work away from the office. Many large Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies are restructuring their offices to accommodate mobile workforces, and most workers prefer the flexibility to work from home.

As the trend in workplace flexibility takes a firmer root in the overall workforce, some critics cite remote workforce management as a serious concern. Leaders are constantly challenged with creating ways to measure productivity while also ensuring that those attending remote collaborative meetings aren’t also engaged in creative “multitasking” – checking emails, texts, or working on other deliverables during important meetings. Creating purpose and driving and inspiring trust are also serious issues that remote management teams must face. The question has transformed from “How do we accommodate a request for remote work?” to “How can we maintain the same standards of team collaboration and success in a remote environment?”

Tip No. 1: Invest in the Right Tools

Without the right technology supporting a remote workforce, a sense of satisfaction and cohesion is difficult to manage. In remote work, collaborative conferencing and process technology tools build the foundation of every other task, and that is true for any business that offers remote working arrangements. There are many tools available for remote teams to use to collaborate, host virtual meetings, communicate, and manage projects seamlessly with team members around the world.

For example, comprehensive collaboration solutions are available that can accommodate video meetings and instantaneous content sharing. This allows national or global teams to get together effortlessly, whether they need to share documents, graphs, and other data, or just need a good brainstorming session to move a project forward. Similar content management systems can allow clients, employees, and executive leaders to continuously, digitally stream or distribute material and ideas without having to actually connect over video or a conference call.

Maintaining a current arrangement of platforms and tools to facilitate remote work is the first, most fundamental key for building a successful, fulfilled remote workforce. But it isn’t the only factor managers should consider. After the right tools have been put into place, it’s time to consider the way those tools are used.

Tip No. 2: Remember the Relationship

Most workers, at the office or working remotely, require more than a to-do list to find satisfaction and fulfillment. As with most things in life, balance is key. The process is only half of the battle. If managers forget to maintain a strong relationship that encourages loyalty and drives motivation, the work may not yield the same positive results as it does with an in-person team.

Whether a team is in the same city or hundreds of miles apart, each member is an individual who has his or her own goals, responsibilities, and lives outside of work. A successful manager will ensure all team members feel supported, valued, and integral to the team, which will improve the overall work environment, including productivity and the quality of work.

Tip No. 3: Don’t Forget Incentives

Remote work is a perk, but it’s not necessarily an incentive to perform better than an employee might at the office. Remote workers are still required to maintain their daily duties and responsibilities. Managers for remote workers can support the team’s balance and improve performance by using the same incentives they would in an office environment.

Verbal recognition and praise is always appreciated but is sometimes overlooked in a remote setting. Let team members know when they’re doing a great job. Savvy managers can also use verbal appreciation to give a boost to a team member who isn’t performing quite as well. Time off and other incentives like gifts also work well to promote team trust and job satisfaction.

Tip No. 4: Schedule in Important Face Time

As much as technology helps make our work lives easier and more balanced, it can’t replace good old personal interactions. Try to have an all-hands-on-deck meeting or get-together at some point during the year to maintain personal connectivity. This real-life, face-to-face time is valuable for creating the psychological and emotional connections that drive success. If a personal connection is impossible, a regular video conference, perhaps even one that’s not “work related,” can improve team rapport and help managers keep teams working together toward an end goal.

With the right video collaboration tools and a team equipped with the tools they need to foster communication, businesses may be ready to embrace remote employment. However, the preceding leadership tips are as important as the equipment companies rely on; a virtual workforce that lacks direction will have difficulty building trust, working cohesively, and getting on the same page with its goals. Luckily, by investing in the right tools, understanding the demands of telecommuting employment, incentivizing employees, and making an effort to build personal connections, enterprises can make the most of a remote team without sacrificing any of the benefits that come with face-to-face collaboration.

At Advanced AV we empower live meetings and remote collaboration by deploying the technology that helps your organization connect, communicate and engage with its customers, employees and stakeholders. Connect with us to find out more about how Advanced AV can help you achieve your business and technology goals.

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