Tech Tricks: How to Manage a Remote and Hybrid Workforce Effectively

There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has created monumental shifts in the global workforce. Businesses had to quickly adapt and allow employees to work remotely, whether it was transitioning to a home-based or hybrid model. 

It’s obvious that remote and hybrid workforces are much different than in-person teams, but how can business leaders manage them effectively?

There’s a lot to learn about the remote and hybrid workforce management landscape, and it’s vital to understand the related challenges. So here are some tech-related tips for managing a more digital workforce in the post-pandemic era. This information can help make operations more streamlined and effective, resulting in a boost in productivity.

The Remote and Hybrid Workforce Management Landscape

More companies allow employees to work from home if their role is considered “remote-capable.” It comes with a certain level of flexibility, and people can enjoy working from the comfort of their own residences. Remote and hybrid workers experience benefits and drawbacks that traditional employees in an office environment may not.

However, managing a team of home-based employees is no walk-in the park. Companies do not feel prepared to transition to a remote work model. This may be because they lack access to technology, have limited resources or funding, or simply feel overwhelmed with this significant change.

According to Insightful, a workforce analytics and productivity software company, 63.91% of company leaders surveyed do not believe they have the right tools to manage remote employees and monitor their productivity. The report also suggests a 383% increase in adopting remote or hybrid work among enterprise companies.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that many companies are struggling to meet the ever-changing needs of their modern employees. The current landscape is being led by workers, who are now shifting their priorities regarding work. 

For example, research from Gartner suggests that employees have developed a new sense of awareness and self-worth, meaning they need to perceive they are valued at a company and feel like their role gives them purpose. People who believe the opposite may join the millions of workers who’ve quit their jobs in “the Great Resignation.” 

Now is a crucial time for employers to take an active role in managing their remote and hybrid teams. If they fail to do so, they may experience high turnover rates and put their business at risk.

Challenges With Remote and Hybrid Team Management

Remote or hybrid work is far from perfect. Managers must be ready to support and guide their home-based employees. Here are some of the challenges associated with this kind of team management.

Finding a Work-Life Balance

Achieving a work-life balance was an obstacle even before the pandemic. Remote workers lack a commute, and their office may be only a few steps away from their bedroom or kitchen. This lack of structure can make it difficult for them to “unplug” because their workspace is inside their homes.

A survey from TINYpulse (dotcom) indicates that about 86% of remote workers say they’ve experienced burnout compared to 69% of employees going into an office. Managing people who feel burned out can challenge team leaders in these working environments.

Lack of Visibility Into Productivity and Performance

Research shows that around eight in 10 employees say having a remote work option can help increase productivity, especially on tasks that do not require much or any supervision. 

However, team leaders may feel uncomfortable with the lack of visibility into employee productivity or performance. Understandably, they would want peace of mind and know that people reach an adequate level or perform well.

Communication Barriers

Two essential components of any business are good communication and employee collaboration. Companies cannot function properly without them. Unfortunately, remote and hybrid workers may feel like their employer’s communications are scattered, can be misinterpreted, or are completely nonexistent. 

Managers may feel conflicted trying to communicate with their employees in the office or working remotely. Company communications can be challenging, but adding in remote work makes it even more difficult. 

Lack of Company Culture

Fostering an inclusive, supportive, and engaging company culture is a requirement for businesses, especially with the competitiveness of today’s talent pool. Conversely, places with a toxic or negative culture are more likely to find employees looking to work elsewhere.

Technology such as videoconferencing has made communication easier for businesses, but it does not have the same human element as working in a traditional office. For example, there are no water cooler chats or employee lunches to enjoy, meaning managers may work with people who feel disengaged or unmotivated. 

Using Technology to Manage Remote or Hybrid Employees

How can team leaders use technology to help manage their remote or hybrid workforce? Here are a couple of ways managers can leverage technology to become more effective.

Opt for Centralized Platforms

There are now many digital platforms that businesses and their managers can use to keep all team members on the same page.

For example, Asana, Trello, ClickUp, and Jira are centralized project management software that simplifies project management, allows team members to collaborate, and makes workflows more transparent. As a result, managers would be able to see bottlenecks or processes that could be improved by using these tools. 

Offer Personalized Employee Data

HR and IT teams can now provide remote or hybrid employees with unified employee data to help them understand their performance, identify areas for improvement, and feel more engaged with their company.

Managers can benefit from reviewing this information to monitor workers’ performance, curate effective employee training programs, and make data-driven decisions about promotions or salary increases. 

Leverage Communication Solutions

Employees need to communicate with one another and their superiors frequently. Popular communication solutions for businesses include Slack, Microsoft Teams, Twist, Flock, and Google Chat. Sending quick messages through one of these platforms is more effective and efficient than typing out long, detailed emails and waiting for a response. 

Additionally, businesses must meet the unique needs of an employee who has a disability. Research suggests that 30% of the college-educated workforce fits the federal definition of having a disability. Ensuring that all workers have equal access to communication tools is essential in fostering good communication and an inclusive workplace.

Use Time-Tracking Tools

One tool many companies with a remote or hybrid policy will leverage is a time-tracking tool to monitor employee productivity and progress on tasks. For example, tools like Hubstaff, ActivTrak, Tyme, Harvest, and Bamboo HR can help keep track of people working remotely or on-site. In addition, these products have helpful features like automatic time tracking, timesheet management, and billing and invoicing. 

Hybrid and remote teams can be challenging to manage. Employees coming in and out of the office at different days or times, ensuring people are productive, and fostering a positive company culture are all essential parts of workforce management. 

The Future of Remote and Hybrid Workforce Management

It’s no secret that the significant shift to remote or hybrid work has been a challenge for companies across almost every industry. Some businesses cannot have remote employees, while others can be 100% home-based. 

Managing a complex team with employees working from various locations is no easy feat. Hopefully, business managers, team leaders, and executives can leverage some of the technologies outlined above to make remote or hybrid management simpler and more effective.

Image Credit: Parabol; Unsplash; Thank you!

Shannon FlynnShannon Flynn

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