How to Manage a Remote Workforce

As Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer forces telecommuters back into the office, nine out of 10 workers feel managers need to accept flexible working more, according to a new study from Regus, a provider of flexible workplaces.

According to the company's report, 75% of workers believe flexible working is more productive than five days in a row of fixed office working, and more than 50% of managers who create flexible work environments are rewarded or recognized for their innovation within their company.

But that doesn't making managing a remote workforce easy. To help, Regus offers five tips on managing remote workforces, which self-made billionaire Richard Branson insists is the future—"in 30 years time, people are going to look back and wonder why offices ever existed," he is quoted as saying.

1. Establish Goals.

Write down plans and create a vision for your new workplace initiative that incorporates objectives and benefits to the individual, the team and the organization.  Implement a results-based management program that will allow managers to easily set and measure goals and objectives for their virtual workforce. 

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2. Maintain Regular Communication.

Keep on top of projects by checking in regularly and understanding the nature of the work employees are engaged in. Lead by example; schedule meetings in person and using video-conferencing to create as much face-to-face interaction as possible. 

3. Have On-demand Space Available.

Offer those employees working remotely or from home access to professional workplaces when they need it.  Workers need to be assured they can tap into professional services and support when required.   The ability to collaborate and network is key personal and corporate growth.

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4. Promote Corporate Culture.

Encourage corporate camaraderie by creating opportunities for your employees to formally and informally socialize, as well as form networks with other professionals.  These connections can reinforce your corporate culture and identity.  Include remote workers in corporate events such as holiday parties and corporate outings.

5. Encourage Feedback.

Empathize with employees and listen to their concerns regarding working remotely to help secure their buy-in. Employee input could help improve the execution of the virtual working program.        

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Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Regus is the world’s largest provider of flexible workplaces, with products and services ranging from fully equipped offices to professional meeting rooms, business lounges and the world’s largest network of video communication studios. Regus enables people to work their way, whether it’s from home, on the road or from an office. Customers such as Google, GlaxoSmithKline, and Nokia join... more

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