Remote work is becoming the new norm due to its advantages like better flexibility, work-life balance, improved well-being, etc. At the same time, the organization’s ability to access a diverse and top talent pool from across geographical boundaries has made it an even more feasible choice.
According to a survey,
30% of the respondents said they were more productive and engaged working from home.
However, managing a remote team is often difficult. Since employees are physically distant, it can cause communication challenges, difficulty tracking performance, and proper work scheduling. It will, in turn, affect the performance and productivity of employees.
Therefore, one of the proven ways to utilize the remote workforce and enhance team productivity is by implementing resource management.
This article emphasizes how dedicated resource management software can help you achieve the same.
Before delving into the topic, let’s first understand its significance in brief;
Why is it Important to Improve Remote Team Productivity?
In a remote work setup, managers can no longer walk over to employers’ workstations and monitor them regularly. Therefore, productivity becomes a significant concern for every employer. However, they can assure the efficiency of their remote staff by using the right tools and methods.
Productive employees mean greater efficiency and more profit for the businesses. It also helps reduce operational costs since employees would take less time to accomplish more work. For instance, remote employees can have a quick virtual meeting and have more time to get the other jobs done instead of commuting for in-office meetings, thus increasing productivity.
Furthermore, when these remote workers are at their productive best, they utilize their competencies to their maximum potential. As a result, one can also observe increased employee engagement, morale and reduced absenteeism in the workplace. Thus, it is clear that high productivity in remote teams will ensure business profitability and employee retention, making your business more sustainable.
Given the benefits remote team productivity brings to organizations, managers must adopt some effective practices coupled with a resource management tool to maintain efficiency.
Let’s discuss this in detail in the following section:
How to Improve Remote team Productivity using RM Software?
Despite the complexities of managing a remote team, there are plenty of ways resource management solutions can help you ensure a positive and productive remote workplace.
1. Ensure competent allocation using enterprising-wide visibility
One of the significant challenges of remote work is identifying appropriate and cost-effective resources for a project.[SY2] The 360-degree visibility of the resource management software enables managers to access the skillsets, availability, demand, capacity, and other attributes of resources on a unified platform. This allows them to access employee activities even when they are physically distant.
Managers can view the project demands and allocate the best fit resources based on their availability using the tool. Furthermore, they can track the utilization of the resources without constant communication and ensure that none of the resources are under/over-allocated. Moreover, since managers provide a uniform distribution of workload and align tasks with competencies, employees will be stress-free and remain productive.
2. Forecast and maximize productive utilization
Proper communication is necessary to maintain a productive workforce during remote work. However, constantly checking in on resources regarding their work status and progress will make them feel micromanaged, which will lead to mental stress. The forecasting feature of resource management software helps managers foresee the utilization of resources and make suitable decisions to maximize productivity.
For instance, if resources are doing non-billable work, managers can mobilize them to billable and strategic activities to maximize profitable utilization. Moreover, managers can also forecast who will get rolled off from projects and, thus, proactively find suitable work to engage them, thus facilitating effective bench management. Hence, when resources work on value-driven projects and utilize their skills appropriately with minimal bench time, it naturally enhances their work rate.
3. Track resource metrics in real-time to improve performance
Business Intelligence (BI) is another tool integrated into resource management software that procures real-time data-driven reports. These reports include utilization, availability, forecast v/s actual, bench reports, demand v/s capacity, etc. The information from these reports can act as actionable insights and help in quick data-driven decision-making.
For example, managers can assess if the resources are taking more or less time than forecasted during Planning using the forecast vs. actual utilization report. Accordingly, they can take course corrective measures ahead of the curve. Similarly, the demand vs. capacity report offers insights into shortfall or excess resources and allows managers to optimize the workforce by bridging the gap in advance. In short, all these real-time reports facilitate managers to tap into the maximum potential of their workforce, thus enhancing their productivity.
4. Optimize resource schedules to prevent over/underutilization
Over/underutilization of resources drastically affect their productivity. While underutilization leads to productivity loss and affects billability, overutilization results in employee burnout, poor work-life balance, work stress, etc. Therefore, it is necessary to optimize the resource schedules to eliminate this issue. The resource management tool helps track the utilization levels of resources by providing a color-coded utilization heatmap.
Based on this data, managers can identify underutilized or overutilized resources. Accordingly, they can distribute the workload to resources that have excess capacity. Additionally, resource managers can coordinate with the project managers to implement optimization techniques such as resource leveling or smoothing to maintain workload uniformity. This will keep projects on track and eradicate any chances of under/overutilization, thus boosting productivity.
5. Empower resources to take their projects
One of the strategies that can improve remote team productivity is by allowing the resources to choose projects of their interest. Using the resource management tool, managers can publish open positions mentioning specific details such as skillset, qualifications, experience, cost, etc. These positions are notified to all relevant resources across the organization. The resource manager considers the interest along with the skill sets of suitable candidates during allocation.
Giving resources the work suiting their competency and interest enhances task ownership and helps them stay productive. It also boosts accountability and reduces the need to monitor the resources’ performance frequently. Therefore, it benefits both the manager and the resources and increases overall productivity.
6. Promote employees to take cross-functional projects
Working on the same tasks and projects leads to mundaneness, disinterest, and disengagement. Providing employees different opportunities helps them hone their skills and diversify the portfolio while keeping up the motivational levels. In addition, the 360-degree visibility of all the resource profiles the advanced filter of the tool enables managers to pick the best resources and create a cross-functional team for a project.
In addition, managers can also assess utilization reports before distributing work to resources as this will help in preventing over or under-utilization. If resources lack the skill set for the pipeline projects, managers can initiate reskilling or upskilling programs and provide on-the-job training to bridge the skill gaps. It allows them to work on cross-functional projects, diversify their portfolio and remain productive.
Maximizing and maintaining the workforce’s productivity can be difficult during remote work. However, implementing the above-mentioned strategies with modern resource management software will help combat the remote team management challenges and elevate productivity and performance.
What strategies do you follow to enhance remote team productivity?