Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations were taking significant steps to expand their remote workforce. According to a January 2020 report by GetApp, remote work had grown by 400% over the course of a decade. The transition to remote work has only skyrocketed since the pandemic, and signs are pointing to enhanced virtual business practices in the future. For instance, organizations like Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook, REI, and Slack are all at least going partially remote, with a wide swath of others making a more permanent move to the digital space.
What Makes an Effective Remote Workforce?
Innovations in telecommunication technology have made the concept of permanent remote work increasingly accessible, and the pandemic only expedited this transition. In May of 2020, during the height of the pandemic, over one-third of employed individuals were working from home as a result of the pandemic. This dramatic increase in remote work was necessary at the time to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and some of these changes to our professional environments will remain permanent.
As teams make long-term transitions to remote work, one major theme leaders are considering is how to ensure that their employees continue to be effective. In ensuring the productivity and satisfaction of a remote team, leaders should focus on the following:
- Communication that empowers collaboration amongst staff.
- Hiring the right talent that thrives in remote workspaces.
- Utilizing reliable and secure technology
- Cultivating a culture of excellence in a remote environment
When all of these factors are addressed in unison, organizations can continue to flourish regardless of the location of their teams.
Invest in Remote Work Technology and IT
Technology is essential to any effective remote workforce as it is the central mode of communication between your team and can ensure that your employees are able to perform their job. These tools can include:
- Hardware: The type of hardware you provide your team with will depend on the needs of their particular role, though essential equipment includes computers, laptops, webcams, monitors, and cellphones. These products should have proper training materials, be reliable and secure.
- Project Management Software: Project management tools are central to any remote workforce as they allow your team to effectively organize, monitor, and execute tasks on a daily basis. This software can also be utilized to improve communication across departments and teams and streamline processes.
- Video Conference and Chat Platforms: Remote teams can use video conferencing and chat platforms as their main channels of communication. Employers should provide a secure method of messaging and video calling to allow for consistent communication.
Whatever hardware and software you choose to implement for your virtual workspace, you should ensure that your team is adequately trained on how to utilize the tools at their disposal. As a result, you can better guarantee the overall effectiveness of your team.
Secure Your Data
When working virtually, the threat of ransomware and cyberattacks can pose a significant hindrance to the effectiveness of your team. Fortunately, you can rely on a number of methods that can ensure your data is protected. For example, managed cybersecurity services can add a significant level of protection against potentially malicious actors online. Additionally, highly developed and well-taught cybersecurity practices can ensure that every member of your team knows what to do should they encounter harmful ransomware or malware. In the event of a breach, having an actionable plan in place helps to mitigate damages done.
Hire The Right Talent
Having the right talent on staff is central to any effective remote workforce. The virtual office is not for everyone, as some excel in these remote positions over others. The remote workers on your team ought to be self-driven and have the capacity to connect virtually. Additionally, remote workers are effective communicators and are able to express the details of projects and meetings either in writing or virtually over video conferencing. Proficient time management skills are essential to any effective remote worker, as you’ll have to trust that your hired employees are utilizing their time wisely and remaining productive even though they’re no longer in the classic office environment. Remote workers should have their own workspace at home or have the room to accommodate for a potential workspace.
Develop Remote-Friendly Communication
Once you’ve acquired the right tools and talent, next comes the crucial step of developing a process for team communication. In this step, your top priority should be to develop effective channels and procedures for communication. Regularly scheduled meetings, video calls, chats, and virtual conferences can all serve to bring together a remote team and boost overall effectiveness. Having a clear chain of communication can also serve to boost productivity, as each member of your team will fully understand who they will collaborate with on a more regular basis.
Cultivate a Culture of Excellence in a Remote Environment
On top of focusing on communication, leaders should also put an emphasis on cultivating a remote-friendly work culture. Deliberately enhancing your remote work culture through teambuilding events and occasional in-person meetings is beneficial to the well-being of your team and the long-term retention of remote staff. For instance, a study performed by a professional services company, Deloitte, found that 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is central to the success of an organization. There are a number of ways that you can help your staff feel connected even at a distance such as:
- Weekly face-to-face meetings.
- Ensure everyone feels supported in their role.
- Focus on collaborative projects.
- Develop a compelling company story.
- Practice communicative transparency.
- Encourage interactions across departments.
While these methods can all enhance overall connectedness, what really defines a successful remote-work culture will depend entirely on those on your team.
CNECT GPO Can Help You Build a Remote Workforce!
As a CNECT GPO member, you can take advantage of over 8,000 supplier contracts that provide you savings on the tools and resources you’ll need to enhance the effectiveness and productivity of your remote workforce. Our nationwide team of GPO representatives can provide you with savings opportunities on a wide variety of suppliers that can supply your organization with managed security services, HR solutions, IT services, office products, remote work hardware, and much more. Additionally, we’ll work with your organization to provide you with the tools you need to make the transition to the virtual office. When you become a CNECT member you’ll gain the guidance and expertise of a team of nationwide representatives dedicated to supporting your organization and providing custom savings strategies. With CNECT as your GPO partner, you can extend telehealth to your patients with confidence.
Contact a CNECT representative to learn more about becoming a member today!