The COVID pandemic in 2020 greatly boosted the remote workforce and led innovative Pakistani business owners to reimagine their work setup. It also created new expectations among employees.
Remote working has become somewhat debatable in Pakistan, with life back to normal in 2023. Many businesses claim to never opt for it due to poor productivity and performance issues. Others have revamped their business models to adopt hybrid work models and reduced their office spaces accordingly.
Remote work is particularly attractive for employees suffering from the significant jump in cost-of-living in 2023. Several businesses are now offering some version of remote or hybrid working to help employees, and the business cut costs.
For more insight into remote working variants that can work, visit our blog, Settling On Flexible Working Arrangements That Work For (Almost) Everyone.
Whatever your stance on it, the fact remains that a deviation from the regular 9-5 and 5 (or 6 days) a week work format is now an emerging and viable business practice in Pakistan. Internationally, remote working has moved from an emergency measure status to a key talent management strategy.
Remote work is quickly becoming the preferred work style in companies worldwide, especially in tech companies. Pakistani businesses are also adopting it
An Overview of Remote Workforce Management
Remote workforce management should involve the use of digital tools, communication, and online project management and recruitment to ensure a productive workforce, regardless of where it is located (on-site or off-site)
The key to successfully managing a remote or hybrid work model is to follow these principles.
- Keep clear lines of communication and encourage open communication.
- Increase engagement policies for remote employees to help them avoid feelings of isolation.
- Increased team productivity monitoring. This can be done using easily available productivity tools.
Importance of Remote Workforce Management
Managing a remote team has its own unique challenges. Developing a focused workforce management strategy or modifying your existing one to accommodate remote employees can help you overcome these challenges.
Here are the significant advantages of remote workforce management for companies.
1. Higher Productivity
When applied effectively, remote work should offer employees flexibility that should enhance employee productivity. If performance is declining, performance management measures need to be implemented.
Remote workforce management usually relies on tools like Slack and other communication and tracking software for communication and work-related collaboration.
These tools and proper management practices let managers follow up regularly with remote employees. Transparent (and trackable) communication ensures higher productivity.
2. Cost Savings
A remote workforce management solution allows a company to employ a remote or hybrid team that doesn’t require in-office workforce management. Companies can save millions by reducing office space expenses, absenteeism, and staff turnover.
Remote workforce management tools also mean hiring and training new remote staff is less costly. Online onboarding tools save time and effort compared to traditional (physical) onboarding methods.
The human resources department also usually needs to give less time to finding talent and acquainting them with the company culture.
3. Better Talent Retention
In the current economic landscape, the top talent across industries prefers to have flexible work schedules. They also jump at the opportunity to bypass hectic commutes through Pakistan’s urban centers.
The tailored remote work schedules can offer remote employees flexible work hours, a less tiring workload, and a better work-life balance.
Remote or hybrid workforce management supports increased job satisfaction due to better work-life balance and minimizes employee burnout risk.
Benefits of Remote Workforce Management
The stakeholders that benefit the most from adopting remote workforce management are:
1. Business owners
Business owners wear multiple hats in their company. They provide leadership and establish company objectives. A reliable remote workforce can make the life of a business owner less stressful.
2. HR teams
In a remote workplace, HR teams have the additional burden of ensuring they get a good match for the job. They also have to keep the remote and hybrid workforce engaged and effective. Remote workforce policies offer human resources teams access to a broader talent pool. They can recruit an onboard through video interviewing from anywhere with relative ease.
Working from home can cause communication difficulties and peer isolation, which can end up reducing productivity. Using common communication tools like Microsoft Teams and Slack allows employees to do regular check-ins, and team meetings, and play virtual games.
The boosted employee engagement supports collaboration among remote staff and helps improve employee involvement with the company.
How to Execute Remote Workforce Management
Best practices to ensure the maximum advantages from remote workforce management:
1. Recognize employees’ uniqueness.
Some employees will require less oversight and can manage their tasks independently, while others will need more supervision and a helping hand. A business must understand its employee’s concerns. It will help a business if it adapts its remote workforce management strategy to cater to key employees’ individuality.
2. Establish Clear Work Policies and Deliverables
Never leave your employees unclear about what is expected of them and on what parameters their performance will be measured. Design clear company guidelines that inform employees of their work goals and schedules.
3. Encourage Clear Communication
Clear communication is the base of an efficient working setup, regardless of remote or physical. Communication proves challenging in remote setups if it is not supported as a company policy.
A team manager should urge their remote team member to connect through calls, video conferencing, and instant messaging for support on tasks as and when needed.
These communications and social interactions can make a difference in the effective performance of tasks.
4. Trust Your Team
Promoting a culture of keen participation and inclusion in remote work is necessary.
Managers should avoid micromanaging their team, as it reduces productivity and erodes loyalty. Trust that you hired the right people to accomplish tasks. However, they should know when to step in to guide employees who are new or not performing as usual on a task.
5. Establish a Positive Work Environment
Employees flourish when a company offers them learning opportunities and prioritizes professional development. Management should focus on skill development strategies to help your employees grow and contribute more.
Schedule fun virtual meetings occasionally to encourage bonding and a healthy work environment.
A positive work environment increases employee engagement, whether remote, physical or a mix of both. The positivity then helps your team members accomplish more.
6. Invest in Technology
To manage a remote workforce effectively, you must adopt a digital infrastructure that suits your work needs.
Give team members information about appropriate digital tools for online meetings, file sharing, and project management.
Sadia Zaheer holds a Masters in Business Administration from IBA, Karachi. After working in several financial institutions in Client Management, Corporate Lending, Islamic Banking and Product Management she jumped careers to pursue a career in writing.
She is a Finance, Business and HR Development writer with four years of experience. She reads a lot and takes care of her multiple cats to remain calm.