Virtual workforces are becoming more and more popular but as they continue to rise in prevalence, companies continue to grapple with how, exactly, to best manage them. Despite their effectiveness, many managers still have questions about how to best manage virtual workforces. Fortunately, it’s easier than most people believe. By understanding how virtual workforces operate and how best to support them, managers can bring about virtual workforce success. Here are the five must-have elements for successful virtual workforce management.
Because virtual workforces buck the basic tenants of traditional workforces (employees in office, etc.) they’re difficult for many companies to adapt to. Managers are often concerned that not being able to see employees working means that they won’t be able to ascertain how much work is actually being done. Fortunately, this is untrue. In order to successfully manage a virtual workforce, managers must be able to shift the focus from focusing on hours worked to focusing on results rendered. This is a more fitting metric for virtual workforces and will bring about better virtual workforce results.
2. Clear Communication
There are few things more important in a virtual workforce than clear communication. When managers clearly define expectations and responsibilities for virtual workforces, the entire team is rewarded with more satisfying experiences and better results. For some companies, this means establishing set working hours and encouraging employees to commit to a dedicated workspace. Some companies may also enjoy setting requirements for hardware and software virtual workforces must use. All of this information should be included in an employee handbook which is easily accessible and updated frequently.
3. Adequate Verification Measures
As a general rule, virtual workforces are more productive than in-office workforces. While it’s important to trust that this is true, it’s also important for managers to determine a valid way to verify the work their employees are doing. One good way to do this is to adopt project-management tools and cloud-based workrooms that allow employers to view an employee’s work logs. These tools can be helpful for monitoring employees and helping to provide the assistance employees need to get jobs done.
One of the main benefits of virtual workforces is that they allow employees from all over the world to collaborate on projects together. This is helpful for companies that rely on a wide pool of creative talent to bring ideas to fruition or to make projects come to life. In a collaborative workforce, managers can use tools like Google Docs, Skype, and Google Hangouts to provide “Face-to-face” meeting spaces and an environment in which even the most far-flung virtual workforces can easily connect.
5. In-Person Time
Just because a virtual workforce is virtual doesn’t mean that face-to-face time gets to fall by the wayside entirely. It’s important for employers to make time to bring their employees to a physical location at least once a year for physical activities like team building and bonding. These activities, while they may be simple, can go a long way toward creating a cohesive, productive virtual workforce that outperforms traditional in-office workforces.
If you’re new to managing virtual workforces or you’re simply looking to improve your management skills, these five elements are true must-haves. From being flexible about the definition of a traditional workforce to adopting helpful hardware and software to support and validate the productivity of your virtual workforce, these tips can help you create a collaborative, cohesive workforce that pumps out high-quality work on every project you place in front of them.