Managing the Unseen Worker

More employees are working remotely than ever before. Some estimates claim as many as 70 percent of all workers around the world work remotely at least once a week.

This has become a trend in large part because of advances in technology, making it easier to communicate and share information.

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There are several advantages to having employees work remotely. One is that it helps companies recruit the best talent, no matter where they are located. Studies have also shown that people who work remotely are more productive than those who do not.

But managing remote teams presents unique challenges as well as opportunities. Here are a few tips on how to handle the challenges.

  1. Be clear about what is expected.

Managers need to set clear guidelines for remote workers. This should cover areas such as when the person should be accessible, working hours, when the employee needs to check in and in what type of communication.

Performance expectations should be set, as well as productivity goals and deadlines. The focus should be on the goals.

Remote workers also need to participate in the same meetings as other workers. For example, if a department has a daily planning session, remote workers should be expected to participate.

Having remote workers participate in the same routines as those who work in the office ensures that everyone is working together. It also helps create stronger bonds between the remote workers and their managers.

  1. Communicate frequently.

Managers should make it a point to have regular conversations with their remote workers individually. Communication with remote employees is especially important, whether it be casual conversation or planned meetings for feedback.

Contacting remote workers informally every day, in addition to scheduled meetings, also is wise. Some companies use video technology to stay in touch.

  1. Use the right technology.

You need to provide your telecommuters with the technology capable of allowing them to work together, to communicate easily and share information among all team members. There are many different software platforms available for this kind of service, ones that offer frameworks for team collaboration and the resources to solve complex problems.

The software should let teams organize their work and synchronize their goals. The tech tools used should be able to show clearly what individual responsibilities are and help managers see what each person is working on. The technology should also help employees to see how their work fits into the overall project and allow the team to respond nimbly to internal and external changes.

  1. Provide professional development opportunities.

Telecommuters should have the chance to train for new skills and grow in their careers, both in structured environments as well as informal settings. Managers should work with remote workers to set individual professional development goals.

  1. Resist micromanaging.

Bringing many different teams together in various locations demands a high degree of organization and coordination. But managers should resist the temptation to orchestrate this collaboration from above, but rather allow teams to work out processes and procedures on their own and to take responsibility for their work.

Give team members the autonomy to exercise their professional judgment and decision making, but hold them accountable. Allowing them to put together their own organizational frameworks also increases employee engagement.

Looking for remote workers for your Southern California company? Contact Helpmates. We can source, vet and even provide preliminary interviews for skilled and talented candidates. Call the Helpmates branch nearest you for more information.

Getting Ready for Generation Z

Talkin’ ‘bout their generation…and we don’t mean millennials.  Now it’s time to discuss Generation Z, those born between about 1995 and 2010. These young adults – the oldest of whom will turn 24 this year – are coming to your workplace. Are you ready for them?

They are, in fact, probably already working for you:

In addition, due to high levels of student loan debt, many members of Gen Z are opting out of going to college: they’ll be knocking at your company’s door right after high school. (Which means now, by the way.)

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Here are some important statistics regarding Generation Z:

  • There about 61 million members of this generation in the U.S., more than Gen X (but fewer than millennials, which numbered 71 million in 2016).
  • They may be a bit more difficult to train and manage since they don’t have the social interaction skills of older generations.
  • They pretty much can’t remember life without smartphone and the Internet. They also don’t have personal memories of 9/11.
  • Studies show that this generation wants to learn and work hard. They’re also seekers of truth, value individual expression and tend to avoid labels.
  • They are eager to improve the world and solve conflicts.
  • They’ve seen their parents and grandparents struggle through the Great Recession and have seen a good portion of older brothers and sisters (or themselves) struggle with student loan debt. So it’s expected that this generation will try to stay away from debt. In fact, a survey by the Center for Generational Kinetics recently found that this generation plans to start saving for retirement in their 20s. Some have already started putting money away in their teens.

What This Could Mean for Your Workplace and Recruiting Strategies

Understand that this generation could make up as much as 20 percent of the labor force by 2021 (just two years away), so it’s probably wise to think ahead and discover how  to make  this generation feel valued and welcome at your company.

  • Make sure your company stays on top of the latest technology: your Gen Z new hires will expect it. Remember, they are true digital natives – even more so than younger millennials. If your company isn’t on top of all things tech, these savvy young adults will move on to companies that do.
  • Provide work space that allows for cooperation (open workspaces) as well as privacy. Members of Gen Z don’t mind working alone (and often prefer it) and so a quiet space that gives them the opportunity to work by themselves when needed is a plus. But open space that encourages collaborative work also helps them learn to work in teams.
  • Gen Z’s job candidates expect a really good candidate experience. They are not as willing to put up with a poor one as older generations are. Make your application process as effortless and efficient as possible.
  • This generation is very attracted to inclusion and diversity. (It is, after all, the most diverse generation workforce ever.) An inclusive and diverse company will have a leg up over companies that are less so when it comes to attracting this generation.
  • Gen Z’s members want to do a variety of things, even in just “one” job. So if you can offer shadowing, learning and other development opportunities, you have a better chance of becoming this generation’s employer of choice.

Need some help recruiting Generation Z to your company? Contact the Helpmates branch nearest you to learn more about how we can help source, vet and place these young workers in your temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire job opportunities.

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