Important Considerations When Working With a Dispersed Workforce


Yogita Tulsiani, Director & Co-founder, iXceed Solution

Yogita has extensive experience in strategy and business development in the information technology, telecommunications, retail, and financial services sectors. She is well-known for her ability to create innovative business solutions that reduce costs while increasing business agility.

A lot has changed in the last two years, especially since Covid-19 struck and altered our way of life and work. Work from home was an alien concept, at least in India, where this mode of working was limited to a small percentage of the population, but given that the pandemic is far from over, it is gradually becoming the norm. At the same time, remote working is becoming more popular, as it allows the workforce, which previously struggled to find work-life balance, to devote more time to family, leisure, and other activities. Not only employees, but also businesses, benefit from it because they can save money on rent, utilities (electricity, Wi-Fi), maintenance, equipment, and furniture, among other things.

Indeed, major technology companies such as Google and Amazon, among others, have announced plans to continue allowing their employees to work remotely even after the pandemic has ended. Even hybrid working is gaining traction, as employees are asked to come to the office two to three days per week, giving them flexibility.

This means that the trend is likely to gain traction because it is a win-win situation for everyone. But does this mean that there aren’t any challenges in this new way of working? The picture is far from rosy, as both employers and employees face numerous challenges.

Maintaining employee engagement with a dispersed workforce is one of the most difficult challenges that businesses face. Communication and collaboration with team members, on the other hand, aside from productivity and technological issues. This is just the beginning; there are many ways to mitigate these issues; here are five key considerations when working with a dispersed workforce:

1) Technology is essential: Technology can play an important role; use the appropriate tools to maintain efficiency and coordination. Major corporations rely on automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other similar technologies. These can be useful not only for communication but also for project management and document management. Dropbox, Zoom, Google Docs, cloud storage, Slack, and Hangouts, among other tools, could be used to keep businesses and remote employees on the same page in the communications ecosystem. These tools enable unrestricted communication and can aid in the smooth operation of daily operations.

2) Frequent communication: While a distributed workforce may be the only option for some businesses, the primary issue for many employees and employers adjusting to remote working is smooth coordination. Meetings and discussions used to take place in conference rooms, but now they take place virtually, thanks to platforms like Zoom, Webex, and Google Meet, among others. It can be difficult to maintain fine coordination among team members in everyday work for a variety of reasons. As a result, businesses will need to develop strategies that are appropriate for the current situation. Businesses will have to find new ways to connect with their dispersed workforce. Many issues that organisations face these days can be resolved through frequent communication, and it is critical for them to maintain face-to-face interactions with employees so that directions can be passed easily and are not misinterpreted.

3) Address technological challenges: Both businesses and their employees rely heavily on cutting-edge technology to stay connected and manage day-to-day operations. However, not all employees are up to date on the latest technology and may not have access to a tech ecosystem at home. Businesses must ensure that their employees have the necessary tools to work remotely.

4) Defined working hours: Organizations should plan for employees to have defined working hours so that they are not asked to work at odd hours. This has been one of the most difficult challenges for employees because they are expected to be available at all hours of the day, which leads to disappointment and demotivation among the workforce.

5) Space for feedback: Managing communication can be difficult when employees are dispersed. Establish a feedback system through which employers can assess employee participation and productivity and provide feedback to employees. This will prevent any decline in efficiency and productivity while also allowing employees to share any concerns they may have.

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