Why Your Business Needs a Remote Workforce and How You Should Manage It
If you’re looking for ways to save money in your business, there is one area that many growing businesses often overlook and that is the space that you’re in.
Of course, most businesses will set out to try and reduce the amount that they spend on leasing out their premises, however, that will only ever get you so far.
Another way to go is to shrink the size of your spend my either reducing the amount of space that you need or entirely doing away with the idea of running your business from one physical premise.
Of course, this doesn’t work for all businesses, however, it can work very well for many who are in the business of supplying goods and services.
Here’s how you can change your business model to use a remote workforce so that you’re taking up less space.
Use a Remote Workforce
The key way that you can use less space is by setting up a remote workforce. This means having your employees work from home, or wherever they choose to work.
Many people may think that this option is not going to be effective as there are challenges associated with managing a team that you’re not sharing an office space with.
While there may be challenges associated with this model of operation, there are solutions to all of these problems.
Why Remote Workforce’s Work
Remote working has gone up by 91% in ten years. This huge leap is buoyed by an improvement in technology and software, and businesses realizing that they don’t necessarily need all of their employees to be sat in one room to function as a company.
One of the best things about hiring a remote workforce is that they are remote. That means that they don’t need to share a common geographical bond with you and as such can be based anywhere in the world.
When you can recruit for your business and pull employees from other countries, not only are you widening your pool and opening up the potential for greater and more talent than you might find within a few miles of your company’s base location, but you may also be able to enjoy financial savings by employing from areas where the cost of living is lower and the salary expectations are also lower.
Having the option for your team to work from their home can be a motivation for many employees who will take the opportunity to work in the space that they feel most comfortable; their own homes. If your team are happy doing this, then their happiness will translate into motivation. The lack of commute and the ability to work in the clothes that they feel most comfortable are often major influencing factors for many workers when choosing remote work.
How to Keep Your Remote Workforce Safe
One of the more practical considerations needed when you are setting up your work from the home workforce is that of IT security.
In your office, you will no doubt have a lot of security in place that will protect your sensitive data from attack. Your router will have layers of protection that will stop the information from getting intercepted. But when it comes to the home networks of your employees, they may often just have the basic protection that is provided to them via their internet service provider; which will be quite minimal.
You’ll need to think about ways to improve the IT security of your work from home employees. This is especially true if they are accessing sensitive information or customer data.
One way that you can improve your work-from-home workforce’s home IT security is by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN sits on top of your home network but cloaks all of the activity that is happening on it. This makes it harder for hackers to see what data is being passed back and fore. It also makes it harder for them to hack into the data that is passing through your employee’s home networks.
Another way that you can manage your internet security is by hiring an IT services company. In addition to VPNs, there are many things that they can do to help you set up IT security from your employees home. These might include using cloud-based systems so that no data needs to be physically stored on any drive within their home.
Another way that your IT services company might help is by ensuring all systems that will be carrying company data have got all of the relevant firewalls and antivirus software. Also, by carrying out an audit of all company laptops, then it will be possible to see where improvements need to be made.
How to Manage Your Remote Workforce
One concern that you might have when dealing with a remote workforce is that they need to be able to work together. One way that they can do this is through cloud-based systems. Cloud technology offers the opportunity for workers to get together in real-time and work on the same document. As one employee makes a change within the document, the other will see the changes live on their screen. In addition to this, because all of the data is stored remotely, instead of on people’s devices or on the central server, then it can be accessed from anywhere in the world.
In addition to working together collaboratively on a project, you should also think about ways that you will communicate with your team and how they can communicate with each other.
A connection is important within a team and it is essential that you do everything that you can to ensure your team are able to communicate with each other and trade ideas. Slack is a great tool for this. It works a lot like an instant messaging app, however, you can set up different channels for different projects. People can communicate in real time and as such will be able to share ideas quicker than they might via email.
Another tool that you should use for your team is a service such as Zoom! By holding daily briefings via a video conferencing service, you can make sure that your team are all on the same page and understand what is expected of them. It is also a good chance to get some face-to-face time together.
How to Keep Your Work From Home Workforce Motivated
Of course, there may be times that you will struggle to motivate your work-from-home workforce. Without seeing your team face-to-face, it can be a challenge. And, isolation can get to some workers.
Checking in with your team on a regular basis is essential. This means giving everyone a call every few days and having one-to-one chats about how they are doing. Your team need to know that you care about their well-being. This is particularly important when working from home.
In addition to checking in with your team, you should look at ways to incentivize your team. Look for ways to measure and increase in productivity and reward this will a bonus, additional time off, or a gift.
Although your team is remote, it is important that they feel as though they are part of something. It can be easy to disengage with the company if there is no connection. Make sure and keep everyone up-to-date with news about what is happening.
Another way of ensuring your team are engaged with the company is by fostering connections throughout the team. You can do this by encouraging them to communicate with each other.
Keeping the Customer Satisfied When Your Workforce Is Remote
One of the concerns that you might have about your creating a remote workforce is that your customers won’t be able to get the service that they might if your team were all in the office.
There is no reason that your customers wouldn’t be able to speak with your team within their own homes. Using VoIP software, you could create virtual phone networks that will route calls to your employee’s homes. The calls will all use the same number, however, the call could be routed to an app on a smartphone, or to a piece of software on a laptop. You could have queuing systems and menus as you might do with a normal phone system, and the calls will just be routed to the next free agent on the network. At the end of the shift, the employee will log out of the software and won’t get any more calls.
The Logistics of Using a Remote Workforce in Goods Sectors
If you work with products, you may wonder how you can remove the need for a physical workspace when you need to handle orders. One way that you could do this is by outsourcing your stock handling and logistics to a fulfilment centre. By having your orders fulfilled by a third party will mean that you don’t need to hire stock pickers or worry about managing and handling your stock.