Staffing Management

Keys to effectively managing a remote workforce

By Amonique Brown

Jun. 25, 2020

Today’s growing remote workforce has transformed our way of working and created a new normal that’s far from ordinary. This shift in how we work has created the need for new strategies and tactics for effectively reaching and engaging employees remotely. 

As some companies claim remote working is here to stay, workforce leaders and business managers must develop and hone remote workforce management skills, identifying and refining ways to ensure employees feel supported and can continue working effectively outside the office. 

Understand your employee base and communicate accordingly

coronavirus, COVID-19, remote workforceRemote working isn’t a new concept, but the broader shift to remote working caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is unique. Employees who are accustomed to working from home or enjoy remote working will thrive during this time. Others will struggle to successfully navigate their new work environment. 

Show grace to employees and colleagues who you know are struggling to adapt. As a workforce leader, it’s your job to ensure employees feel supported and are poised for success, regardless of their unique situation. Avoid taking a one-size-fits-all approach to communication.  

Regardless of communication style and preferences, schedule regular video and/or phone check-ins with your team and employees. Face-to-face communication is more important now than ever before. Video conversations with employees you might not see face-to-face, whether that’s because you sit in different offices or your workstreams don’t frequently overlap, can help you forge strong relationships across your entire organization. 

Provide resources to meet employee needs

Understand your team’s needs and put resources in place to help meet them. Host virtual town halls, consultation sessions and webinars on important issues impacting both your organization and the world. Whether that’s celebrating diversity to promote unity or offering support for working parents, do your best to provide the right resources for employees.

In addition to identifying specific needs, remaining cognizant of the work/life balance is crucial. Share what you’re doing to maintain a healthy work/life balance. Suggest outlets for your team to relieve stress and disconnect, whether that’s through exercising, meditating, reading, cooking, painting or volunteering. 

Knowing they have your support in maintaining a definitive work/life balance  — even if that means taking a break during working hours  — is key to positively impacting your employees’ mental and emotional well-being. Although more employees are working from home and many travel restrictions are in place, you should also encourage your team to fully sign off by using their vacation days (as available and in line with company policy). 

Maintain open lines of direct communication

When working remotely, it’s important for employees and colleagues to know that you’re available even though they can’t come to your office or meet in a conference room. Communicate the times of day you’re typically available and your preferred methods of virtual communication.

 I’ve developed a system with my supervisor: If my boss sends me a text message, the ask needs to be addressed immediately, while an instant message is less urgent. If I want to schedule an ad-hoc meeting, it should be scheduled for early morning. Communicate to employees the best time and ways to reach you, and be virtually available when you say you will be.

This goes both ways. At a time when homes have become home offices, developing an understanding of your employees’ schedules and demonstrating your support will go a long way. Is there a window of time when their child is napping and that’s when they prefer to schedule meetings? Do they like to unplug in the afternoon, perhaps to take a walk with their dog? 

Work to understand your employees’ schedules, and do your best to support them.

Employee management through effective communication

Managing a remote workforce effectively comes from truly knowing your employees and working hard to meet them where they are. During this tumultuous time, when possible, keep it light. Share a piece of good news, a poem, story or quote that’s meaningful to you. Look on the bright side and encourage employees and colleagues to do the same.

Being a constant in your employees’ lives, communicating with them, listening to them and building real connections is key to successful leadership today and every day. 

Amonique Brown is the Chief of Staff at Yahoo Small Business. Prior to accepting the chief of staff position, Amonique worked as a senior business systems analyst. In her role, she marries her passion for communication with her skills in technology, and extensive knowledge of IT procedures and solutions. Amonique is a Portland, OR native and an avid Trail Blazers fan. She works hard to set an example of women’s leadership for her teenage daughter, as well as for her broader "family" at work and at home.

About Workforce.com

blog workforce

We build robust scheduling & attendance software for businesses with 500+ frontline workers. With custom BI reporting and demand-driven scheduling, we help our customers reduce labor spend and increase profitability across their business. It's as simple as that.

Book a call
See the software
workforce news

Relevant Videos

This is Workforce.com

Hi, My name is Meg and this is my introduction to Workforce.com

Case Study: COVIDCheck Colorado

Find out how Workforce.com powered vaccine sites with demand driven scheduling and attendance.

Related Articles

workforce blog

Staffing Management

Job Abandonment: What It Is, How It Happens & How To Handle It

Summary Job abandonment is when an employee doesn’t show up to their job for a specified number of days...

job abandonment

workforce blog

Staffing Management

How short-staffed resorts can optimize scheduling

We live in the time of “The Great American Labor Shortage.” The leisure and hospitality industry faced ...

breaks, engagement, hospitality, labor shortage, resorts, scheduling, short staffing, workforce management

workforce blog

Staffing Management

5 common mistakes in managing restaurant labor costs

Restaurants have been struggling to survive as they cope with high labor costs post-pandemic. As per WK...

Read the Workforce.com magazine

workforce magazine