Managing a Remote Workforce

Tips for Managing a Remote Workforce

by Becki Haines, PHR, SHRM-CP, on February 18, 2022
We’re nearing the two-year mark where, those that held positions where remote work was possible, were thrust into a work-from-home setting by the pandemic. At the time, I’m sure most thought it would be a temporary situation.

Many companies returned to the office over time, albeit likely more than a year after they perhaps originally expected. Some have adopted a hybrid plan or remained remote during the variant surges. And even others transitioned their business model to become mostly or fully-remote.

Aside from the industries that are still directly affected by the pandemic, most businesses are now beyond the crisis state in which they found themselves in 2020. For those that still employ a remote workforce, and plan to moving forward, it’s time to consider refining their work-from-home model.

For the February issue of PEO Insider, I wrote about three keys to success in managing a remote workforce: mission, outcomes and culture. I’ll elaborate a bit more on two of those aspects here.

Mission

The road to success for a remote workforce starts with a defined and deployed company mission. Without a physical presence in an office every day, there’s less face-to-face discussion, management and oversight. An effective company mission enables remote employees to make decisions on a day-to-day basis by using it as a litmus test for what work to engage in, and how to engage. And leaders, regardless of whether they are managing an office-based or remote team, can help set the example by consistently evaluating decisions based on alignment with the company mission.

Outcomes

Another priority for managing a remote staff is to establish outcomes. The first step in this effort is to communicate your company’s growth drivers to the team. With this knowledge, they will have a clearer understanding of how they can contribute toward growth. Implementation of outcomes also includes setting clear productivity standards, establishing how the staff will be measured, and scheduling regular check-ins.

I’d also offer a couple of points of caution when managing for outcomes. First, resist the urge to micromanage. As mentioned in the mission section above, you’re granting your remote team day-to-day autonomy. And second, try not to overload your employees. Being remote, it’s harder to physically see the signs of fatigue. Overworked employees may also be less likely to raise concerns because no one is witnessing the time they’re putting in.

With a fully deployed mission and clearly measured outcomes, your remote team has a foundation for success. But to fully engage and retain your talent moving forward, they must be immersed in the company culture. To learn more about this essential element of remote work, please check out my on-demand webinar Managing a Remote Workforce where I discuss how creating, conveying and practicing company culture will help your team thrive.
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Becki Haines, PHR, SHRM-CP

Becki has over 25 years of Human Resources experience and holds a business degree with a concentration in HR. She is certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) by the HR Certification Institute (HRCI) and a Certified Professional through the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM-CP). She also holds her SHRM People Analytics Specialty Credential. At LandrumHR, Becki has worked with the staffing, PEO, and consulting divisions of the company. She currently holds the position of Managing Consultant for hrQ, their national Human Capital Consulting firm. Becki is passionate about helping organizations best manage their greatest resource – their people. A teacher at heart, Becki focuses on helping business leaders understand the “why” behind the “what” so they can move forward with confidence in their decisions.

View more blogs by Becki Haines, PHR, SHRM-CP