Today’s guest blogger is Mark Arrow. Mark is the CEO/President of Headcount Management. Besides being an NPAworldwide vendor, speaker and staffing industry advocate, Headcount currently services multiple NPA clients. Headcount is a leader in back-office solutions designed specifically for staffing agencies.
Headcount makes doing staffing deals (also known as: contract, temp, contingent) simple for NPAworldwide members. Essentially, once candidates are placed, Headcount will professionally onboard, insure and payroll employees. Headcount also invoices clients (with your agency’s branding), accounts for all monies, provides detailed KPI’s and profit reports…and of course, profits. The Back Office, their newest initiative, is the industry’s easiest way for agencies to produce weekly payroll, invoices, and profit reporting via agency insurance and funding.
Since 2008, Headcount has helped staffing firms across all 50 states mitigate liability, reduce costs, and maintain full hiring compliance. Here are some testimonials.
The COVID-19 pandemic and its associated lockdown restrictions served as a catalyst for the remote work trend. In the pre-pandemic landscape, only 6% of the workforce exclusively worked from home, while approximately 25% engaged in remote work on a part-time basis, meaning 75% of employees had little to no experience with remote work.
Three years post-COVID, and remote work has proven far more than a passing trend. Recent reports show that “As of 2023, 12.7% of full-time employees work from home, while 28.2% work a hybrid model.” Additionally, statistics reveal that:
- 98% of workers want to work remote at least some of the time
- 16% of companies operate fully remote
- 32.6 million Americans will work remotely by 2025
Numbers like these are proof that home offices have increasingly become the designated workplace for employees looking for location and hour flexibility. Still, for many organizations, remote work and remote management are new and unfamiliar territory, for a lot of reasons.
Understanding the Challenges of a Remote Workforce
Both the expectations and realities of remote work differ from in-office work. What makes a good manager in the office may not work when managing remote teams. Addressing and overcoming these challenges can be daunting, but it is crucial for remote managers to understand how remote work impacts their teams. Some common challenges for remote workers include:
Absence of Face-to-Face Supervision
Some individuals thrive under direct supervision, having a manager or supervisor they can turn to for guidance and support. While remote workers still have access to such support, the lack of face-to-face interaction with management can prove challenging for certain individuals.
Communication and Collaboration Concerns
Remote workers not only lose face-to-face interactions with management but also miss out on regular interactions with colleagues. Remote work can hinder effective communication and make collaboration more difficult, impacting the overall productivity of the team.
Limited Access to Essential Information
Working remotely often leads to the segregation of information within organizations. Employees may encounter restrictions in accessing the necessary information to carry out their tasks. They may be locked out of specific applications or struggle to locate vital resources. This is particularly challenging for remote workers, as they cannot simply approach someone’s office for immediate clarification.
The majority of remote workers operate from their homes, which can result in a lack of social interaction that would typically occur in an office or during lunch breaks. This isolation can have a profound impact on an individual’s social well-being.
Distractions and Interruptions at Home
While distractions are present in office environments, those encountered at home present a different set of challenges. Although studies indicate that remote and hybrid workers tend to be more productive, managing distractions at home requires a different approach compared to those faced in an office setting.
Lack of Clear Boundaries and Expectations
Establishing clear boundaries and expectations can be a challenge for both in-office and remote workers. However, remote workers may feel less confident in reaching out to define and establish these boundaries due to the physical separation from their colleagues and superiors.
Risk of Burnout
Approximately 25% of remote workers struggle with an inability to disconnect from work, leading to burnout. The absence of clear boundaries between the office and home environments makes it challenging to stop working even after completing the designated work hours for the day.
Limited Coworker Connection
Geographically dispersed collaboration often suffers from a lack of shared knowledge, resulting in reduced willingness to extend the benefit of the doubt to coworkers during challenging situations, as highlighted by
Tips for Effective Remote Team Management
Managing remote teams presents unique challenges that require specific strategies to ensure success. Whether you oversee remote employees, contractors, or a fully distributed workforce, effective remote management is essential. Here are some tips to facilitate efficient remote team management:
Communication is crucial for remote teams. Without face-to-face interaction, it’s important to establish effective channels of communication. Consider the following practices:
- Implement regular check-ins, preferably daily or weekly, to stay connected with your team.
- Offer virtual office hours or dedicated time slots for employees to reach out to you.
- Establish clear communication guidelines or “rules of engagement” to ensure everyone is on the same page.
- Utilize various communication channels such as email, instant chat, and video conferencing to facilitate effective communication.
- Maintain open lines of communication to make your team feel comfortable reaching out to you for any concerns or questions.
- Encourage one-on-one conversations to create a space for open communication and support.
Address Operational and Affinity Distance
Remote workers often experience both operational and affinity distance, which can hinder collaboration and connection with coworkers. Here’s how you can mitigate these challenges:
- Foster social interaction among remote teams through virtual events like trivia nights or group games.
- Create a virtual water cooler or informal chat channel for employees to engage and socialize during work hours.
- Encourage the use of instant chat platforms like Slack for social interactions and team bonding.
- Offer emotional support and actively listen to employees during one-on-one meetings to address feelings of isolation and burnout.
Managing remote workers requires adjusting expectations compared to traditional office settings. Focus on output and flexibility rather than strict schedules. Consider these adjustments:
- Embrace asynchronous schedules that accommodate different time zones and promote efficiency.
- Clearly communicate expectations and deadlines from the outset.
- Maintain regular check-ins to provide guidance and ensure alignment.
- Prioritize outcomes rather than monitoring hours spent at the desk.
Proper onboarding is crucial, especially when working with a fully distributed team. Clear procedures and effective onboarding practices help reduce operational distance. Consider the following:
- Develop comprehensive onboarding processes to ensure new remote team members understand expectations and workflows.
- Provide readily accessible resources and documentation to support remote workers in completing their tasks effectively.
Best Practices for Remote Management
Remote management requires a distinct set of skills. Here are some key qualities and practices to excel in remote management:
- Be organized, adaptable, empathetic, and reliable.
- Listen actively and avoid micromanagement.
- Trust your team’s productivity when they communicate effectively and meet deadlines.
- Celebrate successes and provide positive feedback to boost morale.
- Focus on learning from failures and fostering a culture of growth.
By implementing these strategies and adopting remote management best practices, you can effectively lead and support your remote team, promoting productivity, collaboration, and employee satisfaction.
Headcount Management develops customized EOR solutions to help staffing and recruiting firms manage both onsite and remote workforces. Schedule a call today to learn more.