The challenges of managing your remote workforce - OfficeTeam

The challenges of managing your remote workforce

With many business now operating from home, a remote workforce brings new challenges. From communication and scheduling difficulties to technology and access, new processes may need to be adopted – and fast.  

For procurement teams, challenges could include processes, systems capability and access, as well as keeping control of costs. Here we look at the key challenges facing businesses as many adopt remote working.

1. Communication

Communication is the key to successful remote working, for your team and across the business. Ensure that staff are kept informed, with accurate, timely information flowing through the company. 

While you may be used to chatting face-to-face with colleagues, it’s a shift to keep ‘faceless’ remote workers in the loop. According to one study, 38% of remote workers reported lack of information as one of the biggest obstacles of working from home.

Partly, good communication relies on company culture too. For example, setting core hours when all employees will be online and available helps, with a commitment to respond to each other in a given timeframe.  

There are great tools to ensure that remote workers can reach one another quickly and effectively (without encouraging a mountain of emails).

        >     Try instant messaging through Slack or What’s App, or video calls through Skype or Google Hangouts.

2. Accountability

One risk of moving to remote working is keeping track of productivity. Some employees may find working at home distracting and find it difficult to concentrate, while others could risk burnout due to the lack of structure and boundaries.  

Managers should set clear expectations for each role and have regular catch-ups to ensure accountability. Not only will this help to ensure that work is completed, but also that employees are using their time efficiently.

For some roles, it may simply be a case of tracking progress or completion of projects. Yet for others, it could be more important to ensure that work is completed for a certain period of time per day.

      >     Try time tracking apps such as Toggl or Clockify Slack, or project management tools such as Trello or Asana. Ensure that KPIs are well documented for each role where relevant.

3. Control Ordering & Costs

If your business has multiple departments responsible for ordering you’ll need a contingency plan for online ordering. How will this be managed via a remote workforce? Also, crucially, how will you ensure you keep control of your costs? 

It’s likely that online ordering will be essential, but this may increase the risk of rogue spending. If staff order from online sites such as Amazon (or suppliers that aren’t on your approved supplier list) you could see an influx of staff expenses. 

To ensure that costs don’t spiral ensure that relevant staff have access to an approved online order system. This will ensure that users can log in from home and choose from pre-approved products and prices, protecting your expenditure.

     >      If you’re an OfficeTeam customer, make sure you have a SmartPad account. Your staff can continue to procure with every user being able to log in and get deliveries directly to their home address.

4. Get Prepared

The current situation is unchartered territory for us all. But smart companies can get prepared. Don’t let business supplies become an added headache – or added costs – during a tricky period.

Make ordering supplies part of your contingency plan – the best advice is always be prepared!

OfficeTeam will even deliver products to your home workers’ home. Rest assured, our team are fully employed drivers who are taking all the necessary precautions to prevent contamination and we have stringent rules for any third party deliveries used over this busy time.

New to OfficeTeam?

If you’re not currently an OfficeTeam customer Contact Us to set up your account and order now or call us now on our Home Office Hotline on 0113 203 2100 where we can fast track your order via credit card payment and deliver directly to home offices. 

As well as ensuring continuity of supplies, you’ll also receive all the added benefits of our SmartPad system. These include access to a personalised dashboard, spend reports and all your business intelligence at the click of a button – giving you complete visibility and control over your spend.

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