Remote working Guide

The Complete Guide on Remote Workforce Management

Discover the top 10 countries to hire international remote workers with our comprehensive eBook. Learn about the best locations to source global talent, taking into account key factors.
The Complete Guide on Remote Workforce Management
Written by
Mayank Bhutoria,
July 2, 2024

Key Takeaways

  • Remote Workforce Models: Remote workforce models include hybrid, flexible, contractors, and distributed teams, each offering unique benefits like reduced costs and improved work-life balance while presenting challenges in communication and integration.
  • Managing Challenges: Effective remote workforce management involves clear role definitions, time zone management, robust communication tools, proper onboarding, and addressing legal and compliance complexities.
  • Debunking Myths: Common myths about remote work, such as reduced productivity and lack of accountability, are unfounded; remote work can lead to higher productivity, satisfaction, and effective collaboration with the right tools and strategies.
  • Remote workforces have been a long time coming, a paradigm shift that the pandemic expedited. A remote workforce resides in disparate locations instead of being cubicle/bay-centered and has transformed and rearranged the world’s views on work. 

    For many companies, offering remote work fits in nicely with their agenda. Others might have to force-fit it. Either way, remote work is gaining ground, changing work-life dynamics.

    Let’s understand the basics of remote workforce management.

    What is remote workforce management?

    Remote workforce management is the practice of managing your remote employees effectively. It involves using the right technology, communication channels, and other resources to promote collaboration and improve productivity. 

    Remote workforce management requires you to balance three components successfully - technology, communication, and processes and policies. Proper implementation and balance among these components can ensure seamless work and a highly productive remote workforce. 

    In a remote workforce, employees are free to work from home, in co-working spaces, or wherever. It assumes that their geographical location doesn’t affect their ability to work optimally. The method of working could change in a remote workforce where people choose/demand flexible work hours.

    Remote work presumes high-speed internet, enabling a digitally automated eco-system with essential apps and full collaboration capabilities. There are various kinds of remote workforces and working arrangements. Understanding and deciding the expectations from both sides, including hours and availability, is crucial. 

    The days when lines of workers entered and exited the office gates at one time are now gone.

    Models of Remote Workforce

    1. Hybrid 

    A hybrid workforce means some employees work remotely while others work from designated offices. The employees can also work from home/remotely for some days and come to the office on others. There are many hybrid work models, like office-centric hybrid, fully-flexible hybrid, remote-centric hybrid, etc. Global companies that have successfully adopted the hybrid model include Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Uber, KPMG, to name a few.

    2. Flexible

    A flexible work model is where employees can start and end their work at any time of the day, according to their convenience. The total hours per week remain the same (or different with pro-rated pay), but the timings could differ, offering more choices. Companies like American Express, Automattic, GitHub, and Upwork have all benefited by providing flexible work schedules to their employees.

    3. Contractors

    The contractor workforce joins the company via an agency. They could have very different terms & conditions and privileges than those employed directly by the company and may have varying pay scales. 

    4. Distributed

    A distributed remote workforce has its employees working in various locations across the globe instead of under one roof. It is the model followed by IT companies and other multinationals, where some serve on client locations and others from main or satellite offices. Leading examples of companies with a distributed workforce are Dell, Zapier, GitLab, and Canva among many others. 

    Remote work describes an arrangement at the employee level, while distributed work is fundamentally a team and company-level construct. 

    Distributed work means there is coordination required across locations - connectivity is crucial. Companies that are distributed have digital/intranet connectivity to enable interactions directly through instant messaging or calls. 

    This is the new normal. Companies have been reaping the benefits of globalization already. 

    Read more: Ways to Improve Remote Employee Retention

    Benefits of a remote workforce

    Though remote employee management may require some effort, once you set up a remote workforce, there are several benefits for both employers and employees.

    • Cutting costs: Reduced spending on space, infrastructure, travel costs, and manpower are some undeniable benefits. 
    • Employee satisfaction: Many employees surveyed maintain that they derive more satisfaction in having the option of working from home, spending time with family, and less time commuting. As they are satisfied, they strive to understand the company goals better and are eager to achieve them.
    • Getting a more globalized workforce: What you cannot get locally, you can get globally. With the highly-advanced digital tools, it’s become easy to access the right talent across the globe.
    • Work-life balance: Remote work has drastically decreased commute time and has given employees more time to spend with families and more room for other interests.

    Challenges of Managing a remote workforce

    Effectively managing a remote workforce demands a nuanced understanding of the various intricacies of different employment structures. Here's a closer look at the challenges faced:

    1. Diverse employment structures - Full-time vs Contractors

    Balancing commitments: Juggling the permanence and commitment associated with full-time employment against contractors' project-based, temporary nature requires a flexible and tailored management approach.

    Engagement challenges: Fostering dedication and involvement can be challenging when dealing with different levels of commitment from various team members.

    2. Legal and compliance complexities

    Regulatory landscape: Navigating distinct legal and compliance frameworks for full-time employees and contractors adds a layer of complexity. This requires meticulous attention to local and international regulations to ensure adherence.

    Risk mitigation: Understanding and mitigating legal risks associated with different employment arrangements is crucial to avoid potential legal pitfalls.

    3. Varying expectations

    Benefit disparities: Managing diverse benefit expectations, such as health insurance and paid time off, requires a careful balancing act to maintain fairness and employee satisfaction.

    Motivational factors: Recognizing and addressing the varying motivators for full-time employees and contractors is essential for sustaining a motivated and engaged workforce.

    4. Communication challenges

    Scheduling coordination: Coordinating communication across different time zones and work hours can be logistically challenging, impacting real-time collaboration and responsiveness.

    Inclusive communication: Ensuring that communication strategies cater to the diverse needs of full-time employees and contractors fosters a culture of inclusivity.

    5. Integration challenges

    Cultural integration: Integrating contractors and full-time employees into the established company culture requires intentional effort to build a cohesive and collaborative team environment.

    Team cohesion: Nurturing a sense of teamwork and shared purpose becomes pivotal in overcoming the physical distance and differing work arrangements.

    How to overcome the challenges of remote workforce management?

    To manage remote workers, you must set up processes that enable you to overcome the challenges of remote working. Here are a few ways to do so.

    Provide training and support

    Remote work largely depends on the use of different tools and software. So, train your remote workforce about how to use specific software. Offer them the tech support they need to work smoothly. Also, create resource centers and set up learning systems to help them clear their queries regarding their work. 

    Proper Onboarding

    Proper onboarding is another way to overcome your remote workforce management challenges. It often becomes difficult for businesses to navigate the virtual communication, build strong work culture and relationships, set up the tech stack, and prevent overloading the remote workers with information. So, to overcome these challenges, create an onboarding checklist, a communication guideline, and document the onboarding tasks in detail. Share them with your remote workforce for a smoother onboarding.

    Establish an open communication system

    Keep all lines of communication open to ensure seamless remote workforce management. Use emails, messages, phone calls, and video calls to track your employee progress. Create separate Slack channels to make communication simpler and easier. Encourage one-on-one chats, and check-ins, and conduct weekly calls to keep your teams connected. Also, set communication goals and define your expectations clearly to the remote workers. 

    We have discussed a few productivity tools for remote workers below. Take a look. 

    10 tips to manage remote workforce  

    1. Partner with an EOR

    With Employer of Record (EOR), simplify global talent acquisition and compliance. Gloroots help businesses find talent, giving direct control over team selection and pay decisions.

    Additionally, Gloroots helps you streamline recruitment and payroll processes, reducing HR administrative burdens and ensuring effective onboarding of remote workers. Companies can access employee information through the EOR dashboard and manage remote teams efficiently, ensuring compliance with local laws.

    2. Offer global compensation with local compliance

    Compensation management is important in a remote work world to attract and retain talented employees and maintain a competitive edge.

    To ensure that compensation and benefits packages are designed to meet the expectations of remote employees, adopt a holistic compensation approach, ensuring compliance with local labor laws. Foster transparent communication about compensation structures, conduct regular compliance audits, and leverage Employer of Record (EOR) services for streamlined management.

    3. Provide equal access to information

    In remote team management, providing equal access to information fosters collaboration, transparency, and a sense of inclusion. It ensures that all team members, regardless of their physical location, have the same opportunities to contribute and stay informed.

    Achieving this involves implementing robust communication channels, leveraging digital tools for document sharing, and fostering a culture of open dialogue. Regular updates, centralized repositories, and accessible platforms create an environment where information flows freely, preventing knowledge silos and promoting a level playing field for all team members.

    4. Define roles & expectations

    Defining roles and expectations is paramount to achieving clarity in remote team management. This practice establishes clear boundaries, accountability, and performance standards, which are crucial for effective collaboration. Ensuring appropriate role definition involves conducting comprehensive job analyses, outlining specific responsibilities, and establishing measurable performance metrics.

    Regular communication through virtual meetings, one-on-one check-ins, and documented guidelines helps reinforce these expectations. Implementing performance reviews and feedback mechanisms further ensures alignment with organizational goals.

    5. Managing time zones

    Recognizing the global nature of remote work, effectively managing time zones becomes a pivotal aspect of team coordination. Synchronizing workflows, enhancing collaboration, and ensuring productivity across diverse geographical locations hinge on a strategic approach to time zone management.

    Addressing this necessity involves crafting a communication strategy that accommodates various time zones, scheduling meetings at mutually agreeable times, and leveraging tools for asynchronous collaboration.

    Offering flexibility in work hours also supports employees in navigating time zone challenges, promoting a balanced work-life dynamic. Cultivating a culture that values awareness and respect for different time zones is fundamental to building an inclusive and cohesive remote team.

    6. Implement a unified project management tool

    Efficient performance tracking of remote teams lies in how well your workforce uses the project management tools. This streamlines collaboration, real-time tracking, and communication for effective project execution, ensuring transparency, giving updates and access to and documents, and fostering a cohesive workflow.

    Overseeing this involves selecting a tool aligned with organizational needs, providing training, and encouraging consistent usage. Regular assessments and feedback facilitate ongoing refinement, seamlessly integrating the project management tool into the remote work culture. This proactive approach boosts productivity and enhances coordination across dispersed teams.

    7. Set transparent work policies

    Establishing transparent work policies serves as a foundation for clear expectations, accountability, and a cohesive team culture. Craft detailed policies encompassing communication norms, flexible work hours, and performance expectations.

    Distributing these policies through easily accessible channels and conducting virtual sessions to explain intricacies contribute to a shared understanding among team members. Incorporating feedback loops and revising policies fosters trust and ensures remote teams navigate their roles clearly, ultimately promoting productivity, collaboration, and a positive work experience.

    8. Implement HR software

    In effectively managing remote teams, HR software helps enhance operational efficiency, foster clear communication, and monitor employee performance.

    This technology allows for real-time tracking of tasks, project milestones, and attendance, promoting accountability and transparency across virtual workplaces. Ensuring appropriate usage involves selecting a tailored software solution that aligns with the organization's unique needs.

    Providing comprehensive training on the software and establishing clear guidelines for its implementation ensures uniformity and fairness. It's essential to continuously update and customize the software to meet the organization's evolving needs.

    9. Encourage feedback & collaboration

    Encouraging feedback and collaboration in remote team management is vital for fostering communication, innovation, and a sense of belonging. Regular feedback ensures team members stay aligned with expectations, while collaboration promotes exchanging ideas and diverse perspectives.

    Implementing regular feedback sessions, utilizing collaboration tools, and organizing virtual team-building activities contribute to a positive remote work environment. Establishing clear communication channels, providing training on effective collaboration tools, and recognizing and rewarding collaborative efforts are essential strategies.

    10. Evaluate & adapt

    In managing remote teams, continual evaluation and adaptation are essential for navigating the dynamic challenges of the virtual work environment. Regularly assess team performance, workflows, and the effectiveness of communication channels to ensure timely adjustments, sustained productivity and employee well-being.

    Gathering feedback through surveys, performance reviews, and regular check-ins encourages continuous improvement and allows team members to share insights and suggest adaptations. Additionally, staying abreast of evolving technologies and industry best practices enables HR to introduce innovative solutions.

    Best tools for remote workforce management

    Before we give you the best tips to manage a remote workforce, here’s a list of a few productivity tools that are necessary for remote work.

    • TeamViewer - A remote access productivity tool, TeamViewer makes it easy for you to train remote workers and assist them with their work. It helps you manage, monitor, and access devices remotely without a VPN. 
    • Clockify - A remote worker can use this productivity tool to manage their time efficiently. It helps remote workers track time for each task. They can also create timesheets and weekly reports and create custom fields for additional data.
    • Google Meet - Google Meet is a well-known video conferencing app that you can access via your Gmail account. It offers video calling and in-app chat features to make meetings easier and hassle-free.
    • Onedrive - A cloud storage and file-sharing tool, Onedrive helps manage a remote workforce efficiently by making it easy and simple to share documents, notes, receipts, and other important files with your team.

    To learn more about different productivity tools for remote work, read this blog

    Common myths around remote work

    Myth #1. A remote workforce is less productive 

    Studies show just the opposite. A remote workforce put in more hours at work. It’s well-documented and proven that companies supporting remote work have increased productivity and employee satisfaction. Working remotely, collaborating over enterprise-wide media and instant messaging is as productive for the employees as it is for the organization.

    Myth #2. A remote workforce requires special equipment and tech support

    Wrong. Most remote workers just use their computers and a reasonable internet connection. For their comfort and health, an ergonomic workspace is useful.

    Myth #3. Staying connected can be difficult

    Yes, coffee-machine gossip and chitchat are challenging to achieve, but it’s a myth that remote workers are unreachable. A chunk of almost all work involves using various ways to network – there are email, IM, and video-chat facilities, irrespective of location and time zone.

    Myth #4. Camaraderie between colleagues can be difficult to cultivate

    While this is somewhat true, software tools like video conferences and virtual town halls bring employees together in a virtual set-up. Technology can never replace the human touch, but it can do a close enough job.

    Myth #5. All jobs are not suitable for remote working

    Sure, some jobs require folks to be onsite, but many others can be performed remotely. Those can be restructured suitably for a remote workforce, helping employees to go hybrid.

    Myth #6. Remote workforce doesn’t work

    Wrong. Remote operations can be orchestrated in various ways– hybrid, flex, contractors, and distributed. Within their scopes, employees work hard, as seen by performance indices. In the last two years, when a remote workforce operated worldwide, company performances retained their growth trajectories or even surpassed them. 

    Undeniably, all careers will have a remote working component over time, and evolving attitudes and technological advances will expedite that shift. 

    Myth #7. Remote work engenders isolation

    This was true to some extent a few years ago. However, powerful collaborative tools have made interactions more seamless. Employers find managing a remote workforce easier today. Virtual social activities have become a hit among remote employees. 

    “Loneliness of the long-distance (worker)” isn’t a bad thing. It can be immensely beneficial for productivity. 

    Myth #8. Lack of accountability

    The remote workforce is just as accountable. Deliverables and dates don’t change, and goals and productivity can be measured, ensuring companies focus on results rather than hours or physical presence in the office.


    The past years have proved that remote work is viable and more sustainable. However, to ensure effective remote workforce management, you must look into certain aspects like onboarding, effective communication, transparency, employee wellness, and more.

    Though the myths about working from home persist, the truth is that remote work is helping people do jobs they love and balance other aspects of life successfully. That itself makes it a viable model. 

    If you are still in doubt about hiring remotely and running a remote workforce, get in touch with us and start your journey to creating the ideal remote workforce.

    Ready to take your hiring global? Let’s talk.
    Our experts have got you covered. 

    Join our monthly newsletter

    Stay informed with the latest insights on managing global teams, delivered straight to your inbox.

    Download free ebook now

    Gain exclusive access to expert-driven strategies and insights for effective global hiring.

    Enter a valid work email address!
    Thank you! Your submission has been received!
    Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

    Thank you for downloading!

    Enjoy discovering new insights in your expert guide to global hiring!

    Closing in 5 sec