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3 Basic Questions Every Manager Should Ask When Creating a Remote Workforce

TRU Staffing Partners March 23, 2020 at 11:00 PM
Three Basic Questions Every Manager Should Ask When Creating a Remote Workforce

Three Basic Questions Every Manager Should Ask When Creating a Remote Workforce

Right now, companies are implementing new work-from-home guidelines and deploying staff from remote locations for the very first time. As this happens, teams must make decisions about how to operate in a totally new work environment: their homes! TRU Staffing Partners has been operating with a fully remote/work-from-home staff since its inception in 2010. One thing team TRU felt we could confidently share to help all employees and employers during this time of isolation are some of the keys to success when working virtually. By answering these three quick questions, you can expedite your organization’s ability to function fluidly, recalibrate your culture quickly, and perhaps develop habits that carry back into in-office culture and improve overall business efficiency and employee satisfaction.

Are you a webcam culture or a phone culture?

Here at TRU, we are a phone culture. We find that the time, effort, and energy spent on being unequivocally “camera-ready” during the workday is better used toward serving our clients or our families. Time is precious, and we have decided not to set the internal expectation that employees be available to webcam at any moment. Webcam culture can often take away some of the freedom that remote culture offers. No one wants to be caught off guard on camera. No one wants the camera to be a way for employers to hold them physically accountable for working. Some companies, however, have employees who rely on body language and visual cues to communicate effectively. The adaptability of webcam culture may be the right choice for them. Employees who are introverts in the office may quickly become more comfortable and communicative behind a camera. There are advantages and disadvantages to both choices and hybrids as well. What’s important is to determine which culture you want to be and set the appropriate expectations for how to handle internal verbal communication.

How are you going to communicate in real time?

If the answer to this question is, “I’ll send an email” – beware! A flood of internal email communication to replace inter-office chatter will overwhelm your inbox. There are dozens of technology options for quick chats and file-sharing platforms to increase effective communication and bolster productivity. At TRU, we use Slack for our daily communication. Internal emails have been reduced by 65% since integration. It connects with some of our other applications and has APIs that automate our daily tasks. We have custom communication workflows that have allowed for a greater diversity of internal resources to collaborate in different capacities on a single client’s needs. Communication from clients to TRU resources is exponentially faster because it often goes from mouth to ear, to Slack, to our teams in real time. Whatever platform you choose, you must give your teams guidance on how it is to be used and the kind of communication/inclusion that is expected. Beware: overcommunicating or broadcasting information incorrectly is a trap. Targeted communication is a key to success.

How will I hold people accountable?

For sales professionals, this question may be an obvious one, but for others, applying some sales-like accountability processes with non-sales staff can lead to enhanced performance results. First, define which employees are being held accountable by activities and which are accountable by results. For employees whose work is activity-centric, which often means shorter, project-oriented tasks, implement processes or technology to allow for employees to code or log their activities. Explain what metrics you, as a manager, plan to use to measure their success. Engage in gamification when necessary to motivate or stimulate healthy competition between peers. Developing a robust set of rules and triggers using your internal calendaring system is one way to create trackable accountability. For results-oriented employees, set clear deadlines and deliverables and give them space. Tell these employees exactly how often you want them to update you and hold them accountable to the deadline and the deliverable. Give them the autonomy they crave and allow them to overdeliver or learn from failure.

TRU Staffing Partners is committed to continuing to offer our expertise in the remote workforce realm to our clients. We want to hear how you are adapting and how we can be of service! Follow TRU Staffing Partners on LinkedIn as we share our tips for working from home, remote interviewing, and more!

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