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The impact of the remote workforce

The impact of the remote workforce

May 18, 2016

Working from a home office; the benefits and downfalls.inpe1002

The flexibility of working from home has its attraction and is becoming more and more common place, reports 3blmedia. Todays global workforce is becoming more virtual with 90 percent of the US working from home for some of the time. Employers are finding that this makes for a more productive and happier workforce and are able to attract those best qualified for the job without the problem of commute and distance. The employer also benefits from less need for infrastructure and facilities and then there is the lower impact on environment with the use of fewer vehicles and public transport.

One company in the US has estimated that it has saved 15-25 percent in office overheads and has reduced carbon emissions by 23,000 metric tons a year because workers are not driving into work. Although the technology is in place for working from a home office, “leadership and management practices still need refining to support this new workforce”. Companies need ““a strong process for determining which employees can telework successfully…the actual job function, the individual’s capabilities and competencies, and strict security standards for home offices.”

The challenges of managing a team of virtual employees who may not know each other, “come from different backgrounds and experiences and don’t have much in common apart from work” requires management skills and training. Offering incentive to teams and individuals and using a pro bono approach as well as testing the skills by way of challenges and developing flexible leadership skills.

Over the past few years Gallup has reported that “approximately 70% of the workforce is either disengaged or actively disengaged”, and that studies show that younger workers “are less loyal to their companies, with an average tenure of two years, since these young workers tend to identify with their own personal brands versus an association with a particular company”. It can be hard to integrate employees fully into a virtual work place and give them a sense of belonging and connection but programmes have been developed to improve the situation.

“Most team-based nonprofit consulting projects can take place almost entirely remotely – particularly with the advances in video conferencing that make far-off colleagues feel closer”. When the whole team is communicating virtually, it helps the individual to feel connected. Even non-profit businesses are gravitating towards these “virtual engagements” enabling them to engage with their remote workforces.

 

 

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