What does remote workforce management mean for deskless workplaces?
The trend is clear: more and more of the workforce is now working remotely. In fact, 41% of companies worldwide provide remote working opportunities today and this is expected to increase to 78% by 2028. While this shift has sparked a rethink of business operations in deskbound workplaces, it has also required a change in how shift-based, roster-driven (or “deskless”) workplaces operate.
Deskless workers are often found in these industries:
- Aged care
- Child care
- Retail management and delivery
Remote work naturally applies to workers in these industries, which rely on employees not being tied to the same geographic location for each shift. Examples include a TV installer who works for different employers all over a city, or a nurse working at different hospitals.
However, these workers still need to be organised, given direction and managed effectively. Remote workforce management helps administrators use tools for rostering, productivity, collaboration, communication, engagement and more functions.
How do you effectively manage remote employees?
The aims of managing a deskless workforce are similar to those of a desk-based workforce, but with several additional challenges. A manager with remote teams must:
- Set the right expectations regarding productivity, work times, meetings
- Adjust to workflow changes like checking in with teams, updating progress, reporting issues, logging status
- Overcome communication barriers caused by distance
- Interact with other managers who are also remotely working
- Keep track of productivity without micromanaging
- Use remote workforce management software to enable your managers and staff to be as efficient and empowered as possible
The use of remote workforce management software can help you efficiently manage your remote employees. The key is to simplify and automate processes to boost productivity. Mobile apps keep remote teams connected, communicating and engaged by empowering their ability to control their scheduling destinies.
Common challenges for managing deskless, remote workers
Regardless of the industry, remote work presents a unique set of management challenges relating to task management, performance management, and productivity management. Consider some of the following challenges:
Low visibility & transparency across remote teams in hybrid working environments
Remote teams are not in your office. They can’t just pop in to see you and you can’t drop in to see them. Maintaining interaction with managers is difficult. How can you assess their performance when you can’t observe their activity?
A night-shift nurse is unlikely to contact her day-shift manager when a problem arises. A miner could be underground, a salesperson out of range, a child care worker might literally have her hands full looking after a child. Any remote worker is going to find it harder to communicate with their entire team because they aren’t present in an office.
Non-optimised operations: Time wasted in transit
The remote workforce knows the challenges of moving around from workplace to workplace, like an aged care worker with shifts at three institutions. All that travelling time is non-productive, but who can optimise it?
Managing a remote workforce is harder in part because these teams generally have a higher turnover than office-based employees and employee disengagement can be an issue. This is undoubtedly related to the fact that mobile teams doing remote work have fewer opportunities to interact with managers, and encounter more difficulties around HR issues, rosters and shifts.
Safety issues: Only one or two people at remote working sites
Isolation is a risk for staff working in the remote health sector. Working alone with limited access to other health professionals is a known risk to staff safety. Equally, how can you as a manager monitor the workplace health & safety procedures of a remote site, and workplace hygiene?
Ways to overcome remote team challenges
Experts have created remote workforce management software that cleverly solves the problems of managing remote employees:
Provide secure and reliable access to critical tools
Quality rostering software tools help your organisation to create compliant rosters, irrespective of location and work hours. They can also help you manage demand ebbs and surges. Humanforce’s rostering tool, for example, enables staff to bid for extra shifts, ensuring you’re always covered and reducing reliance on agency staff.
Keep communication lines open: Mobile-first
A mobile app solution is often the most effective means of motivating and engaging remote teams. It allows team members to schedule and plan their work hours, lets them log their shifts and makes administering their work-life easier with a paperless system.
Establish a positive environment conducive to remote work
Employee engagement is a known driver of business success, with Gallup research showing organisations scoring highly on employee engagement outperform their counterparts. HR software systems with inbuilt employee engagement tools help solve this challenge by giving your distributed teams a sense of unity.
Track and manage your teams and enhance productivity
With the right remote work software, you can view employee time utilisation, identify and resolve inefficient workflows, discover productivity insights and uncover compliance gaps. Having workforce analytics provides you with instant access to crucial data.
Ensure endpoint security: providing remote workers secure access to on-premise infrastructure
The benefits of cloud-based software solutions are many. It’s cost-effective, enables companies to sync data across devices and has a high level of data security for remote work. Your remote teams can be highly productive when they can always access the tools and data they need.
Implement & invest in tools to aid remote team management
Contemporary HR task management tools allow managers to perform employee monitoring without micromanaging. This improves employee feedback and identifies areas for training. Solutions with inbuilt artificial intelligence (AI) use analytics data to generate actionable insights.
Encourage employee engagement
The best remote work software increases employee engagement and improves efficiency. Recent research shows that providing access to new digital tools results in staff working 22% more shifts and reduces employee turnover by 16% – a key consideration in today’s tight labour market where replacing high-performing talent could cost you up to three times their annual salary.
Benefits of using remote workforce management software
These are just a few of the many benefits to task management, project management and continuous productivity improvement from using remote team management tools:
Increase workforce visibility across various management teams
Team collaboration tools make it easy to arrange tasks and priorities and automate workflows. Keeping track of progress helps bring all the elements together smoothly.
Manage employee data
The best tools have extensive options for employee self-service, time tracking, shift booking, attendance, and all the data a manager or worker needs to administer their work life.
Some remote work solutions create a central place where team members can share plans, accomplishments, challenges and long-term goals.
Use data to help improve operations and logistics
With much richer data flowing from mobile apps, companies can analyse traffic patterns, fuel costs, employee safety, diverse logistics and operational efficiency.
Recognise success: Highlight and reward your employees
Celebrate your employees efforts with reward programs based on the data you receive via the workforce management software, and help boost employee engagement.
Stay connected: Compassion and communication
You can humanise a remote workforce through tools with staff calendars for leave, birthdays and public holidays. Increase team productivity with organisational announcements, user messages, staff recognition and rewards, photo albums and online surveys.
There’s no doubting the growing trend and challenges that come with managing remote teams. Yet the challenges have been overcome with clever solutions, providing administrators with remote team management tools for rostering, productivity, collaboration, communication, engagement and more.
Speak to us about how Humanforce software can transform your organisation’s remote workforce management and improve your team’s efficiency through our intuitive Workforce Management System.
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Humanforce is a leading provider of shift-based workforce management solutions that simplifies onboarding, scheduling, time and attendance, employee engagement, and communication. Customers in more than 23 countries use Humanforce to optimise costs, realise compliance confidence, empower their team, and drive growth. Humanforce was founded in Sydney in 2002, and today has offices across Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and the UK. www.humanforce.com