Communicating with a Remote Workforce

As work places continue to trend towards having a remote workforce, it’s important to continually adapt to changes to maintain productivity and communication among teams. According to Global Workplace Analytics’ research, nearly 50% of the U.S. workforce participates in at least partial telework and approximately 20-25% of employees work remotely at some point in their career. Among the non-self-employed since 2005, the number of work at home employees has increased by 115% and nearly 3.7 million employees work from home at least part-time.

For companies to attract qualified candidates, working remotely is just one of the benefits that nearly 80% to 90% of the U.S. workforce would like, even if it’s just part-time, or two to three days a week. If you’re one of the more than 40% of U.S. employers offering flexible remote work schedules or considering implementing the option, below are three considerations that will benefit your business:

Technology:  It’s important that everyone is engaged and functioning with the most current technology. Be sure employees receive any needed training to be productive. Whether they need a refresher in PowerPoint, training on how to feel comfortable when teleconferencing with Skype or software to help them build virtual presentations, reviewing team needs will provide optimal business results. Employees will also need priority access to company IT resources to help with troubleshooting, especially connecting to virtual private networks (VPN) while traveling.

Motivation: Make it a point to keep your team motivated, challenged and encouraged. To build team camaraderie have your staff gather on occasion offsite to participate in fun team building activities to improve productivity and to have occasional face time with fellow team members.  This may not always be realistic, but an annual or bi-annual gathering at a tradeshow for a team dinner along with bi-weekly calls will assure that everyone is in the communication loop.  Whether employees are in the office or offsite, planning an occasional gathering along with scheduled calls will improve morale and contribute to enhanced communications.

Care: It’s important to let employees know that your relationship with them matters and that you care. Whether you are hosting a remote meeting or thanking employees for their service, sending a care package in advance, or any needed agenda materials will keep employees in the loop and everyone engaged. Continue to communicate with employees while they are in the office or at home. Whether it’s a simple conversation on a personal level before a meeting starts or a thank you for something they recently achieved. Showing appreciation and asking about their personal life can go a long way in showing you value their input and respect their work.

The workplace is changing and today global Fortune 1000 companies have revamped their office space because employees working remotely are not at a company desk nearly 60% of the time. Today 40% more U.S. employers offer remote work options than five years ago, especially to full-time employees.  So whether you are starting to explore the option of having your employees work remotely, or already  have your workforce telecommuting, it’s important to stay in touch, connect with those not in the office and be sure they have all the needed technology for optimal contributions.

** Note that stats are from, GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com/Telecommuting-Statistics

Janet Cannata

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