There are plenty of good business reasons why more companies should consider a remote workforce or hybrid teams.

Besides the fact that this is the future of work, studies indicate that working a remote job could benefit your employees' mental well-being, lower their stress, and make them more productive. 

Deloitte's reputable Millennial Survey, based on the views of almost 8,000 Millennials questioned across 30 countries, sums up what Millennials desire like this:

Freelance flexibility with full-time stability.

Eighty-four percent of Millennials report some degree of flexible working conditions in their organizations, and 39 percent say their organizations offer highly flexible working environments.

With job-seekers owning the market and in a position to negotiate, big firms are getting on the bandwagon and offering perks like flexible work. But that begs the question: How do you effectively manage a virtual workforce?

Managing your remote workers.

Frank Weishaupt, the CEO of Owl Labs (the company that published the findings behind last year's Global State of Remote report), offered me five key strategies for building and leading a virtual workforce. 

1. Avoid micromanaging them.

When employees aren't directly visible, it's natural for managers to question whether they're slacking off and revert to micromanagement, which can kill employee morale, even for virtual workers. The key is to train your managers to build communication skills and teach them to set clear expectations for communication channels so that remote workers know where to go to ask questions or address concerns.

2. Build an environment of trust.

Trust is the foundation of a successful virtual workplace and without it, remote work policies cannot and will not work. Although it may be difficult to trust new employees, instilling this trust from the start can make employees feel valued.

3. Assign virtual mentors.

Match remote employees with a virtual mentor and encourage monthly video chats. Add to the mix in-office learning opportunities and utilize online tools such as LinkedIn Learning, Skillcrush, and General Assembly to allow everyone to pursue their professional development goals.

4. Regularly share accomplishments.

This simple practice of regularly recognizing your employees' good work can prevent remote employees from feeling invisible, isolated or underappreciated -- feelings that may impact remote employee retention.

5. Hold in-person meetings once a quarter.

Whether an employee retreat, town hall or holiday party, getting everyone together under one roof at least once per quarter will create a sense of community, promote team bonding and boost employee morale. These in-person meetings are an excellent place to also showcase those employee accomplishments.

Published on: May 20, 2019
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