It’s been more than two years since the global workforce was sent into quarantine. The immediacy of the move created an excess of complexities that many managers had to work through, not least of which was how to manage remote employees and still meet customer needs.
Funny thing happened on the way to adapting to a remote workforce model. Many organizations realized that remote work gave them something they hadn’t expected – more productive employees. It seems working from home gave businesses more from their workers than they were able to glean in an office setting.
Good thing, too. A Prudential Pulse of the American Worker Survey revealed that employees are demanding more choice: 87% of workers who have been working remotely during the pandemic want that to continue at least one day a week. Likewise, 68% of workers would be happier if offered a hybrid workplace model.
Given the ongoing hiring crunch and lack of qualified workers, particularly within the insurance industry, that kind of data should incentivize agency managers and insurance organizations to rework how they view their workplace offerings. It’s a big ask, but currently the finance and insurance sector is short by 313,000 employees, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. With many employees looking for flexible work arrangements, employers should be working on how they manage these remote workers.
Having operated WAHVE as a fully remote organization since our beginnings, we have built a successful management process specifically for the remote workforce.
Rethink 9-to-5: Allowing your workers to produce during their best
hours just makes sense. When your worker can focus fully, productivity soars. The old way – requiring an eight-hour day or certain work hours – could be hampering your employee’s best work.
It’s a thought that’s been proven out: Microsoft Japan tested a four-day workweek. The result: employee productivity jumped by 40%. Sales-per-employee figures rose 39.9%. An added bonus: Utility costs and printing costs dropped 23.1% and 58.7%, respectively.
Measure success differently: Did it ever make sense to measure an employee’s value by how many hours they put in? We at WAHVE have a process that includes regular meetings with individual employees to discuss productivity, challenges, and employee needs. We also measure employee success by benchmarks met and deadlines achieved.
We also recommend creating a shared folder that contains notes on your conversations with your employee. Plus, encourage them to reach out at any time – and give them the tools with which to do so. Each employee’s productivity should be a shared goal between management and the employee.
Create collaborative cultures: Weekly team meetings that are short and purpose-driven should also allow for feedback and discussion. Employees should drive the meetings, and problems should be brainstormed as a group, not within each department. Sharing ideas across the organization can help each other feel connected and working toward a common goal.
Have fun: Even workers who are not face-to-face should celebrate and have fun together. We hold virtual parties, cocktail hours, and game events. The more people can communicate outside of work, the stronger your team’s bonds to each other.
To achieve a more successful remote management process, prioritize communication. The more you and your employees are talking constructively, the better positioned your team is to be its most productive and most engaged.