Remote Workforce Challenges and Opportunities with Office 365

Topics: Office 365

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The American remote workforce is growing every year. The increasing affordability of smartphones and tablets, innovations in mobile technology, and increasing productivity by enhancing communications and business workflows makes working remotely easier than ever before. Although telecommuting has its challenges, it has many benefits to improve productivity as well.

 

According to Business Wire, the U.S. mobile worker population is expected to surpass 105 million by 2020.

“This expectation will be supplemented by new solutions specifically intended to manage the challenges associated with the growing needs of the mobile workforce.”

Microsoft SharePoint Intranet and Office 365 has solutions to the growing trend of mobile workers by providing a robust document management and applications stored on the cloud-based servers. In any case, there are challenges and benefits with your teams telecommuting while producing work from their mobile devices. See our “Top 10 Intranet Features” blog to learn more about the advantages of working with a SharePoint Intranet Portal.

 

 

CHALLENGES

  • Communication
  • Tracking productivity
  • Employee trust
  • Unified company cultures

Traditionally, when you want to have a chat with an employee, you would ask them to come by your office or visit their desk. With remote workers, managers will have to find innovative ways to establish a relationship with their teams. Manager could have weekly status calls to discuss projects and other times instant message with video or email conversation might be the best way to discuss topics. When tracking productivity, the concern is knowing how much work is accomplished each day. Many telecommuters are self-starters and can track their time efficiently while others could take advantage of not having a micromanager boss over their shoulder and slack off.

A flexible mobile workforce is built on trust. That trust goes both ways. Let them know that you're there to help them solve problems, break up workflow obstacles, and give direction as needed. While personality traits and behaviors such as integrity can be assessed during an interview, you never know if teleworking is a good fit until they’re in the situation. At that point, trust is earned over time. Regarding a unified company culture, employees often collaborate best when they have personal connections with each other. Since people are generally social beings, working remotely can cause a disconnect. Companies can either have monthly or quarterly meetings in-person or plan for virtual meetings to connect for a company culture.

BENEFITS:

  • Reduce your overhead costs
  • Greater sense of work-life balance
  • Attracting quality talent to hire
  • Happier employees to keep them around

By offering remote work, companies can reduce overhead costs by saving money on office space and tech equipment while increasing employee productivity. Remote workers can cut down on the time and money spent on the commute to an office five days a week. It’s a win-win for everyone. This gives your employees the freedom to work from anywhere they choose, which provides a greater sense of work-life balance. Discuss setting a work schedule so that at the end of the day they can shut down their laptop and disconnect from work. This will allow employees to mentally unwind and enjoy their downtime versus working sporadic hours so they can start work with a fresh perspective the next day.

This will ultimately attract top notch talent for your team. Many employees view working remotely as a perk. Attracting the best members for your team is critical for your business to succeed. Many job seekers are looking for a decent benefits package, salary and if they can work remotely, it can make the different between a potential hire choosing to work for your company or the competition. At the end of the day, allowing your employees to telecommute keeps them satisfied and a happier employee is not only more productive but they’ll also stick around for the long run.

PERKS OF OFFICE 365 & SHAREPOINT INTRANET:

  • Document collaboration
  • Internal group communication
  • Search and discovery
  • Seamless integration

We utilize the power of Office 365 so that teams can share and discuss documents, as well as the ability to edit and co-author documents directly within your network. Internal groups allow your teams to create a space that's just for them – and joined by invitation only.

Read more: Choosing a SharePoint Intranet to Transform Your Team Productivity

It's a place where they can discuss work, as a team, and tackle projects and initiatives together. The search and discovery features can help your teams find people, information, and groups that are relevant to them, their clients and/or their interests.

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