The Secret Sauce: Guide Your Remote Workforce to a Win

July 22, 2016 Bluejeans Content

How knockout video communications can help your team deliver its best work

If you’re a manager today, chances are you’re already leading—or attempting to lead—a team of remote workers. This is because working from home, or the local café as the case may be, has grown by 103 percent since 2005 and 6.5 percent in 2014 alone. Companies that used to look askance at the practice are taking notice. According to one article, those who work at home tend to put in longer hours and are often more productive [1]. Clearly, a sea change is underway.

Hand-in-hand with these changes is the rise of the millennials—a generation that is less interested in stability at work than in being recognized for their contribution to their employers. They are a generation that yearns to work for managers that treat them fairly and respectfully, to form positive connections with coworkers, and feel a sense of pride in what they do. Corporate structure and hierarchy are out. Transparency, connectedness, and collaboration are in. Managers are dealing with a workforce of digital-natives that are admittedly high-maintenance, but also a powerhouse of productivity and innovation. Perhaps most importantly, they’re now the largest generation at work, making up one third of the American workforce [2]. As a manager, how do you ensure you’re setting them up for success, remote or otherwise?

The truth is millennials ultimately want the same thing that every employee wants: control over their schedule, learning and growth opportunities, and to develop meaningful workplace connections.

It's worth investing time in making your employees happy—research shows the happiest employees are the most productive [3]. People aren’t tools at our disposal to help us get things done. No one wants to feel like a cog in a machine. When we realize this, our attitude shifts. We begin to relate to our colleagues as individuals and to think in terms of us rather than me. We put the team first.

As a manager, if you’re able to create this kind of environment, you can be sure you’re bringing real value to your company. By encouraging happy, productive employees to work together as a team greater than the sum of its parts, chances are you’re positively impacting the bottom line. But, how do you create this environment? What’s the magic potion, the secret sauce? Contrary to popular opinion, it’s not riches and luxury that make people happy, but relationships. As a manager, then, it’s your job to foster relationships.

Empower your team. Give people agency—the power and responsibility to make decisions. When employees feel valued, when they feel their opinions matter, a company soars.

Be transparent. Trust and involve people in the decisions that affect them. Remote employees can feel especially out of the office loop. Make sure and bring them in. Invest yourself.

Get to know your employees personally. When real bonds are forged, people are willing to help each other, and higher levels of trust are established.

Invite collaboration. Encourage brainstorming by offering easy ways for people to connect.

Set (and never cancel) one-on-ones. Remote employees don’t receive the same benefit from an “open door policy.” Make up for the lost ad-hoc conversations.

This is all fine and good. But managing remote employees is quite different from overseeing traditional workplace environments. How do you make sure your staff members are connected and engaged regardless of where they’re working? Especially when you can’t pull everyone together at the drop of a hat?

Email and phone calls won’t cut it. Humans are super-social. To trust one another, we rely on far more than mere words, whether spoken or written. Rather, we need to see one another to determine if our words and demeanor match, because the staggering majority of communication is non-verbal (seriously, check out the stats). A clean, easy to use video-communications service that operates without a hitch can give your team the kind of frisson they need to produce at the top of their game.

According to the much-lauded Tony Hsieh of Zappos, “Businesses often forget about the culture, and ultimately, they suffer for it because you can’t deliver good service from unhappy employees.[4]” When we feel good, we tend to be more productive. Work should cultivate and sustain this kind of enthusiasm. Discover how Blue Jeans Network can help.

 

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/08/your-money/when-working-in-your-pajamas-is-more-productive.html?_r=0
[2] http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/05/11/millennials-surpass-gen-...
[3] 
http://www.fastcompany.com/3048751/the-future-of-work/happy-employees-ar...
[4] http://about.zappos.com/press-center/media-coverage/zappos-milestone-qa-tony-hsieh

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