Unifying Your Distributed Workforce: Best Practices

Strategies for promoting productivity, collaboration and satisfaction among onsite and remote employees.

COVID-19 has changed the traditional definition of a distributed workforce, as many businesses have adapted processes, systems and technology to keep teams connected. 

A distributed workforce refers to employees that are scattered throughout a region, country, or multiple countries and are not housed together in a conventional office space. To navigate the current realities of greater remote work, it’s important to understand best practices for managing distributed teams and generating employee engagement.

The New Distributed Workforce

According to the Capital One 2020 Work Environment Survey of full-time working professionals across the country, 86% of respondents report the coronavirus pandemic has created a positive view of remote work, and 78% say that working from home can be as effective as working in the office. Among full-time office employees who’ve been working from home:

  • 46% report feeling satisfied working from home and would prefer to remain working from home.
  • 22% are satisfied but would prefer to return to the office full-time.
  • 25% are satisfied working from home but would prefer to return to the office part-time.
  • Only 5% are unsatisfied working from home.

In addition to employee attitudes, many employers are realizing other benefits of remote work, including reduced business expenses, better retention and access to a larger talent pool. For successful long-term management of your distributed workforce, here are 3 key strategies and what to consider when implementing them. 

Invest in Workplace Technology to Sustain Productive Collaboration 

Investing in the right technologies enables remote employee productivity and seamless collaboration with onsite colleagues. Consider:

  • Reliable remote access tools that connect to your systems and server(s) 
  • Conference calling services, video conference software and screen-sharing applications
  • Cloud-based collaborative project management tools, office applications and document storage
  • A business communication program with a searchable, centralized database
  • A cloud-based customer relationship management system

Preserve Corporate Culture in the Workplace  

How can you ensure everyone feels like part of the team and remains an equal contributor when some of your staff is distributed? Frequent communication across multiple platforms is critical. 

That includes everything from regularly scheduled video meetings and collaborative document management, to lighthearted email chains where employees can share updates and photos from their personal lives. 

Regularly recognizing employees for their excellent work in shared communications and offering virtual happy hours, trivia contests and other social opportunities can also boost engagement. 

Ensure Equitable Opportunities and Career Tracks, Independent of Location

No matter where your employees are working, they all should have equitable access to training and professional development, networking and career growth opportunities. Being clear about these opportunities and potential promotions can keep remote staff more engaged. 

Schedule regular calls and video check-ins with management to clarify progress on a career track. And remember to share announcements via video or email to ensure remote employees are not out of the loop when it comes to webinars and other development resources. 

Taking the time to invest in essential technology—and in the lives of your employees—will benefit your whole workforce, no matter where they are located. 

Embracing the current way of working may even reveal new opportunities to boost productivity and enhance engagement. 

About the Survey

The Capital One Work Environment Survey was conducted by Morning Consult among 4,603 office professionals who are employed full-time in an office setting in the United States. The survey includes 1,000 national respondents: 500 from Chicago; 500 from Dallas; 500 from Washington DC; 500 from New York City; 500 from Boston; 473 from San Francisco; 130 from Richmond; and 500 tech employees. The survey was conducted from an online panel from August 24 – September 8, 2020. The margin of error for national respondents is +/-3% and +/-4% for each of the city DMA results (+/-9% in Richmond and +/-5 in San Francisco).

For Informational Purposes Only

The information contained herein is shared for educational purposes only and it does not provide a comprehensive list of considerations or best practices. This information does not represent any opinion, guidance or recommendation, whether formal or informal, of Capital One, National Association, or any of its officers, directors, employees, advisors, attorneys, consultants, affiliates or subsidiaries (collectively, “Capital One”). Nothing contained herein shall give rise to, or be construed to give rise to, any obligations or liability whatsoever on the part of Capital One.

Products and services are offered by Capital One, N.A., Member FDIC.  © 2021 Capital One.

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