Remote employee management refers to the methods of managing remote workers. Whether they are seasoned in-field professionals or office workers newly adjusting to working from home, the approaches may be different but the data collection and analysis will be similar.
In these fraught times, especially, managers must take special care to account for their employees’ mental states.
Obviously, when employees are physically distant, managers can’t see how well they are working to offer immediate help or feedback. They also cannot always rely on employees to accurately report their working hours or to come to them with problems, which impacts their work and the work of everyone else in the company.
Field workers, especially, tend to try to fix their problems by themselves. However, if they cannot find a solution (or can’t find a solution quickly), they can hurt their productivity. New employees, in particular, already nervous and anxious to impress, fall into this tendency.
Finally, in these times of pandemic, quarantines, lockdown orders, and tanking economies, people feel extremely stressed and isolated. Managing employee output includes managing employee mental and emotional states, even though many workers do not come forward about it. However, artificial intelligence analysis can address or predict emotional crises for managers.
A good remote employee management system relies on employee data—and more than the usual kind. To start, of course, managers need employees’ baseline KPI data to ensure they are at least reaching their pre-pandemic levels of productivity. Getting this information from new employees can be difficult or, in some cases, impossible, but if managers see any deviations from that baseline, they will know to investigate the cause. The solution may be to reduce the number of meetings scheduled, offer advice for creating a dedicated workplace in the home, or refer an employee to a doctor.
Above all, managers and supervisors should use KPI-measuring software that employees directly engage with rather than spyware. Even if employees are aware that supervisors are tracking their keystrokes or using dash cameras to take pictures of their faces every five seconds their truck is running, these solutions make employees feel mistrusted and resentful, which negatively impacts their work and the company overall.
Essential external data for a remote employee management system includes organizational psychology data, news data, and geospatial and IoT data. Essentially, organizational psychology analyzes workplace behavior to increase employee satisfaction, retainment, and productivity. Meanwhile, news data, especially lately, provides key information about employee stressors and local lockdown requirements. And for employees in the field, GPS data, IoT capability, and remote diagnostics are absolutely essential.
Finally, of course, artificial intelligence that can analyze employee communications and workflows, both individually and as a group, can analyze productivity and alert management to any potential burnout.
Additional data may include clinical psychology, gamified employee engagement metrics, and training materials. With these, managers can identify warning signs of depression, engage employees in work in a more fun, positive way, and help them take on more tasks while preparing for the future.
Such a focus on the future can improve employee outlook. Meanwhile, training materials become especially important when many employees are taking on new or additional tasks that used to be done by other employees that had to be let go.
Some companies can even provide customers with wearable devices to measure how much they work. However, most industries couldn’t use this data even if they could get employees to wear the trackers happily.
There are many challenges to remote employee management, even aside from the struggles of a pandemic, a poor economy, and the difficulties of being forced to move to a work-from-home model unexpectedly. Employees don’t reach out for assistance as often when working remotely. New employees may not understand their new workplace’s hierarchy. Internal fraud increases when employees report they worked more hours than they really did. Employee work suffers from distractions from children, pets, and so on. Additionally, some solutions to these issues, like spyware, can backfire on managers.
Capgemini also found that new joiners feel disengaged in a remote set-up and limited support left 54% of new joiners feeling confused and lost during their initial days with their company; 52% weren’t even aware of their organization’s values and benefits. These difficulties extended to existing employees where 38% found it harder to collaborate virtually with new joiners.
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