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January 31, 2019 | By

Understanding the Challenges of a Fully Remote Workforce

Remote workforces are an undeniable trend in the modern workforce. But they present companies with several challenges. Here are five you'll want to watch for if you're implementing a remote worker policy.

It’s not uncommon for businesses these days to have employees located all over the world. Businesses are opting for remote teams to reduce traditional overhead office expenses. Meanwhile, employees prefer working remotely to create a better work/life balance. In fact, a study found that, “70% of people globally work remotely at least once a week.”  

Despite the inherent advantages of a remote workforce, however, they also present businesses with numerous challenges. It’s important to identify some of these challenges so companies can address them with the right solutions. 

Here are some challenges you should investigate if you’re implementing a remote worker policy: 

#1. Building a virtual team.

A lot of people assume that building a remote workforce is easy. They go through the hiring steps following traditional methods without looking a little closer at certain qualities that’ll allow them to select the right people. The truth is, working remotely isn’t for everyone. Some people are easily distracted and need the additional motivation that a supervisor or manager in close proximity can provide. 

It takes a certain kind of employee to be successful in remote working situations. They need to be mature, show a lot of self-discipline, have a strong focus, and an exceptional work ethic. Finding these qualities in employees in a physical workspace is already hard enough. Imagine if the only way you can get in touch with them is through the internet. 

Make sure employees you hire to become a part of your remote team have remote working experience. How long did they stay in that job? How do they demonstrate their work ethic? These questions should help you find the right fit for your company. 

#2. Defining a company culture.

Building a unique workplace culture is difficult when your team is located across the globe and in different time zones. Finding a common time where every single team member can come together for a meeting already presents a challenge. Imagine trying to bring everyone together to create the cohesion that comes from casual “water cooler” interactions without an actual physical space where everyone can meet. 

As a solution, try leveraging modern telecommunications technology. Hosted VoIP systems or Unified Communication (UC) platforms give companies the opportunity to stay in constant communication round the clock. This gives geographically dispersed teams more options to connect with team members.

#3. Prone to miscommunication.

Virtual teams must rely on email, messages and phone calls to communicate with colleagues. Tone and body language are therefore lost in the communication exchange, which can be important in terms of building rapport and establishing clarity. Without it, it’s easy for team members to take things out of context or misinterpret situations. 

To address this, encourage your team members to always assume positive intent. Even when discourse isn’t going as smoothly as you’d like, never assume your colleague is being aggressive. This often shifts the conversation in a negative direction that can affect working relationships. 

Bottom line . . . 

The rise of remote working means you should be putting more effort into recognizing the challenges possibly coming your way. Thankfully, it’s nothing that a better perspective and the right technology solutions can’t address. If you want to explore what Jive can do to help improve your remote workforce efficiency and productivity, give us a call today. 

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