Maintaining normalcy, order and flow in a remote workforce, along with managing a team of remote workers, can be an intimidating task. When coworkers are all in one space, it is convenient – collaboration and communication is simple and it’s easier to develop and maintain office chemistry. If you are in charge of managing a workforce, you may think that remote working makes your job nearly impossible.
However, there is a big upside to having a remote workforce. It provides the balance and flexibility needed in today’s ever-changing workforce and world. While remote work is becoming more of a commonality, businesses that are now adapting to a remote work model may be finding it hard to adjust to this new standard.
WorkWise Software understands how those challenges can interfere with work, making things appear as if they are harder to manage, but that is not the case. We have the tools, technology and tips needed in order to support businesses during a transitional phase from traditional in-office work to a remote workforce.
How to Best Handle Remote Workforce Challenges
When managing a remote workforce, certain challenges are bound to arise. One of the biggest drawbacks is the loss of communication, which may hinder your business’s problem solving capabilities.
Even when your standard eight-hour workday is over, a customer of yours may be completing a last minute assignment, working on a detailed project or fulfilling an order. During those times, many unexpected things happen, mistakes are made and questions are desperate to be answered.
There are two different ways to help solve issues: a reactive approach and a proactive approach.
Reactive: Commonly followed by most businesses, a reactive approach means quickly trying to solve an issue in a “firefighter mode” style, extinguishing one fire after another. This may lead to dire consequences for your customers and the overall success of your business. A Reactive approach suffers from erratic delivery, poor communication, a lack of long-term planning and compromised quality.
Proactive: This preferred and proactive approach helps with improving communication and is most beneficial with future problem solving. In the proactive mode, “fires” are either prevented or quickly extinguished before anything significant can happen.
In the remote working world, alerting the necessary people about a problem is important. How can this be done?
Communication Challenge Tips
There may be instances where changes and challenges happen that cannot be identified in advance, including late deliveries, customer date changes and returns to name a few.
The secret to minimizing any negative effect is to identify them upon its first occurrence so similar issues are easy to fix in the future.
Proactive systems will find the problem and alert the necessary parties who can rectify the issue. A delay in response can lengthen correction time, which allows the situation to progress further.
WorkWise ERP’s Remote Workforce Management system has the ability to create and manage alerts and KPIs, so that business decisions can be made in real time as conditions change.
Maintaining Professionalism, Organization and Strong Communication in a Remote Workforce
With a change in your work environment, work organization can be the hardest factor to maintain. It’s important to understand that organization is one of the cornerstones of having a successful remote workforce.
In an in-office setting, representatives typically speak with customers face to face, but phone and email conversations are key for a remote workforce. Organization is incredibly important during these moments because you want make a positive impression and draw potential customers in with meaningful and productive dialog.
In order to improve professional communication and organization, having a CRM system in place, like our CRM Remote Workforce Management software, instills a level of confidence needed to perform in remote office settings.
Remote Workforce Management Software organizes tasks, schedules, notes and documents. This level of organization will significantly improve your productivity, provide more time to service customers’ needs and sell more deals.
How Remote Workforce Management Organizes Your Work Life
Having a connection to your business and its customers is a crucial part of business. With workspace organization, users can create dynamic dashboards, which alert users of critical items to address.
Establish a task list and update it frequently – this improves organization and communication, as well as keeps you updated on what work you have completed and need to do. Choosing to forgo a task list is a sure way to miss steps and cause last minute scrambling. The system monitors key activities, alerting us when tasks are falling through the cracks.
• What tasks to organize:
– Opportunity needs: calls, reports, follow-ups, problems
– Sales funnel activities: load balancing deals by stage of the buying cycle stage
– Internal needs: company requests, emails, voicemails, calls, etc..
– Meet critical deadlines
– Manage customer expectations
– Eliminate errors
Effective management of opportunities/sales funnel provides a steady stream of prospective customers, ongoing deals and closed deals.
• What tasks to organize:
– Needs at each stage of buying cycle
– Prospect needs
– Products, deal size and highlighted characteristics
– Effective execution of sales process
– Balance of sales pipeline stage
– Tracking progress towards goals
Managing your contacts, their information and communications is at the heart of every great sales process. Centralizing these items allows sales representatives to be productive and responsive.
• What to organize:
– Contact information/personal data
– Documents and notes
– Relationship with other prospects/customers
– Tracking the buying process cycle
– Refresh yourself on current/past communications
– Segment by customer needs and characteristics
5. Documents and Attachments
Managing documents and attachments is a key area of organization. It improves productivity and organization.
• What to organize:
– Templates, forms, collaterals and phone scripts
– Competitive information
– Proposals, letters and contracts
– Simple and accessible filing
– Eliminate lost scraps of paper
– Easy finding of appropriate items
Essential Keys to Managing a Remote Workforce
There are many factors that go into managing a remote workforce. As we have covered, it takes knowing how to respond to communication challenges and how to properly organize your work life through the appropriate software solutions.
Finally, here are essential tools that will help with remote workforce management.
Dashboards for Sales, Engineering and Customer Service gives managers get a birds eye view of their respective departments. Know when things are falling through the cracks or are right on track with the help of dashboards.
Making sure that all steps in tasks are completed is a crucial factor in general, but especially in a remote workforce. With Remote Workforce Management CRM, activities can be automatically triggered when other activities are completed.
Providing a remote workforce with a template of tasks and responsibilities keeps everyone on track and done accurately. Remote Workforce Management software creates workflows with the correct number and sequence of steps, assigning them to the right people.
Tips to Managing a Remote Workforce
1. Manage Expectations
Provide your team with a list of things they need to complete and deadlines, but set realistic expectations for their work, as they may not have immediate access to the technology normally provided in office. Set yourself and your team up for success by stating what tasks need to be completed and the reasons behind that. It gives your team an understanding on how you measure success.
2. Engage Regularly
Communication is key with remote working. Whether that involves scheduling conference calls or emailing, consistent interaction and engagement will help remote workers feel included and keeps everyone on the same page with work assignments, deadlines and business updates.
3. Provide Reliable Work Tools
One struggle of remote work is not having access to the type of technology that you may have at an in-office space. Difficulties with conference calls or downloading files can lead to lost time and confusion. Provide remote employees with tools and even instructions that will make communication and collaboration possible.
Managing a remote workforce doesn’t have to be a difficult process, especially when you have the correct software and processes in place. Providing the tools remote workers need in order to solve challenges, maintain organization and improve communication make managing a remote workforce seamless and successful.