By: Noah Rue
In today’s workplace, you’re expected to do as much as you can with a variable amount of resources. How can you keep an in-office, remote, or combination workforce engaged using technology? We recommend four steps: educate, collaborate, monitor, and secure.
Employ Workforce Training and Education
Regardless of your industry, it’s beneficial for you to remain informed about the latest trends in workforce training and education. Instead of hiring a consulting firm to assess your entire existing training program and implement improvements, you can use web-based learning.
Usually self-guided, web-based learning enables employees to move through training modules at their own pace, in designated time slots, or when they have down time. Web-based training typically includes quizzes to ensure your workforce demonstrates comprehension of the materials.
From a simple Google Forms quiz to a complex community-centric medical personnel training program, technology can help you train, assess and troubleshoot innovatively.
Management’s complicated — sometimes your team might be called into question. You can defend their progress and successes by keeping track of their training and quiz results using a free tracking program like Airtable.
Enable Rewarding Remote Collaboration
Whether you have a fully remote workforce or in-office employees who work from home on occasion, remote collaboration requires a suite of innovative tools. Here are some staples of remote office management:
- Asana: This project management software allows you to assign teams, track progress, and convey instructions to your workforce in a workspace.
- Trello: Trello is another web-based project management software option. Like Asana, it allows members to assign tasks to each other so they can advance workflow under your guidance and instructions. It’s popular with organizations working in the Agile framework.
- Slack: Slack is a communications tool for businesses. You can create different channels for departments and projects. Most managers choose to maintain an announcements channel, a fun channel for office-appropriate memes (think gifs of kittens and puppies!) and a channel for urgent team matters, in which anyone may post.
- Skype for Business: Skype for Business is especially relevant for teams using the phone, such as customer service representatives. This program allows you and your team to have instant messaging conversations with one another. It also connects to your Microsoft Outlook accounts. Additionally, you can use Skype to make face-to-face calls with your team.
- 7Shifts: Does your workforce operate on a shift schedule? Eliminate complicated shift-swapping procedures with 7Shifts, a tool that allows your team to sign up for (and switch) shifts.
Innovative managers generally do a weekly check-in with remote team members. This helps to instill a sense of routine and enables your team members to feel empathy for each other. Reading tone in text-only messages isn’t always easy, so hearing and seeing other team members is a massive benefit. Most of these tools also have useful mobile apps, which is one of the most transformational products for modern businesses.
Consider Mobile Employee Engagement and Monitoring
You’ve heard all the stereotypes about remote workplaces and employees—and who doesn’t want to pile in a bit of laundry in the middle of the workday? Remote working requires trust in your employees, but your team should still expect you to require some level of accountability.
There are various options to assist with this task. You can select programs that intermittently take employees’ photos to ensure they’re at the computer, or simply require them to log their time and tasks diligently. Toggl is an example of the latter, making logging in and out relatively painless.
Paycom is an option that allows remote or in-person employees to log in quickly with the press of a button on their smartphone app. Paycom also helps employees onboard without your interference, requesting that they upload the necessary documentation and input the information you will need for finances.
Enforce Security Protocols
When you think about security protocols and keeping your workstation secure, you might initially think about the IT department. As a manager, however, you need to comply with IT’s security protocols, understand the reasons behind them, and have a thorough enough understanding to speak with your team about the importance of security. This is especially important when you have remote employees using their own electronic devices, constant mobile access to corporate email, and shared company laptops for employees to take with them when working remotely or attending conferences.
As a manager, you can create a shared file with general security protocols. This can include:
- Procedure for logging in and out
- Account creation and maintenance procedure
- IT’s contact information
- Password reset procedures
- Information about access limitations (especially if employees can’t access all necessary programs or files when working remotely)
- IT policies, including those governing social media presence and use
In addition to the security surrounding computers, technology for more innovative management helps us solve problems for our analog office issues, too. What happens to all those old files with secure information in them? Innovative management means having a detailed plan for digitizing your files, ensuring they’re stored securely and with backups and getting rid of those old paper files.
With security and collaboration, you have the ability to accommodate a flexible workforce versed in a digital environment or in person at the office.
About the author
Noah Rue is a writer, a digital nomad, an ESL teacher, and an all around good dude, if he doesn’t say so himself.