Remote working Guide

Remote workforce management

Mayank Bhutoria

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.

Here are the various models of remote work that companies have successfully adopted. 

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.

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.

Challenges of managing a remote workforce

There are certain challenges in remote workforce management. Here are a few of them.


Communication is slightly challenging in remote work. There’s no scope for moving to someone’s desk for a quick chat. Remote workers, have turned communication more intentional. 


Transparency helps build trustworthy relationships between employers and employees. Maintaining transparency is challenging when you have a remote workforce. Employers can maintain transparency, by defining clear boundaries conducting frequent meetings updating employees on company progress, sharing feedback.

Clear expectations

You can find an office employee right away at their desk, but it’s not the same with remote employees. The success of remote work lies in the scope of flexibility it offers. Employees, particularly caregivers and working parents, can better integrate their personal responsibilities with work when working remotely. You may find your employee away from time-time, as they might have to care for someone. So, consider the distractions and flexibility of remote working and then set your employee expectations. 

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. 

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

Read more: Guide for Managing Remote Workforce

Tips for effectively managing remote employees

How to manage a remote workforce?

Here are a few tips to help you manage a remote workforce effectively and efficiently.

Develop a remote work policy

The first and foremost rule of remote work is to build a remote work policy as it helps a remote workforce to understand what is expected of them. Communicate work-from-home rules, communication channels and processes to be used in remote work. Also, mention how productivity will be measured and the work timings for employees, if any. 

Document processes

Create well-documented processes to establish stronger communication and promote ease of work. Document all your communications, write the goals and expectations, create documents for procedures, and share them with your team. For instance, if you have a new project at hand, share a document with all project details with your team so that everyone has access to important information and g everyone remains on the same page.

Promote wellness

Remote work can ofen result in burnout if the workers are overtasked or micromanaged at all times. So, help your remote workforce prioritize their tasks. Encourage them to take short breaks from work. Also, hold monthly meetings where the team members can bond to promote mental well-being. You can also organize online seminars and mental health programs to create a positive work environment.

Identify challenges and help employees overcome them

A remote workforce needs extra care. Even with the best tools, policies, and systems, remote workers may face certain challenges like time management, prioritizing tasks, etc. Conduct one-on-one conversations to identify their roadblocks and help overcome them. Also, be available to help your remote team adjust to different working environments and learn new technology.


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.

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