Different Types of Remote Workers and How to Manage Them

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Priyanka Prashob
Priyanka Prashob is an organizational psychologist with 6+ years of experience in the field of Content and Psychology. She is a passionate writer and has authored 2 books. She has designed content for corporate training programs, worked on organizational behavior reports and numerous individual personality assessment reports. Several research articles written by her are published on platforms like Academia and Research Gate. The articles have gained recognition and appreciation from universities, academicians, and researchers across the world.

Your employees are the source code of your company’s success. However, today with the remote work trends on the rise –  how a team operates and where it operates from, has changed significantly. Employees working remotely have varied needs. They may be traveling, working in multiple locations or moving across time zones. Moreover, no employee’s work pattern is the same. There are different types of remote workers and it’s important for you to understand how each one of them operates. Because this will help you support and manage them better, especially when it comes to making technology decisions.

In fact, according to Gallup being able to accommodate the needs of different types of remote workers will help improve your company’s productivity and quality of work. 

In this post, we will be discussing

  • Common remote worker challenges
  • Different types of remote workers, and 
  • Tools to help your remote workers work efficiently and productively

Key remote worker challenges:

1. Access

Since people today are working from different, remote locations – access to the information they need to work productively is a major remote work challenge. As a solution to this, the majority of the organizations have already embraced Cloud services to help their remote workforce to gain access to the information they need, no matter where they are.

2. Flexibility 

Flexibility is another great challenge when it comes to working remotely. To provide the flexibility their employees need, enterprises today have embraced tools and devices like video conferencing tools, other collaboration, and productivity tools, etc. 

3. Connectivity 

To bridge this challenge, the organizations across have resorted to the help of various communication and work management tools to help employees to communicate with coworkers and receive seamless updates online. Thereby, significantly improving your remote team’s productivity and efficiency. 

4. Built-in-security

Security has been and is one of the major challenges of working remotely. This requires you to choose the tools with built-in-security mechanisms along with setting the best practices for file access and sharing.

Next, let’s look into the different types of remote workers and tools that can help them work as efficiently as possible.

 

Different Types of Remote Workers

1.  The independent worker

This is the worker that takes absolute responsibility for his/her work. And he/she doesn’t have to be reminded to complete the work. However, he/she expects certain levels of autonomy and flexibility while doing his/her work. This applies to communication as well. 

The independent worker knows your company inside-out. This is the type of worker that most industries are after. They are the ones with the valuable expertise you need in order for your organization to stay ahead in the market.

So, it doesn’t matter what time zone they’re in, provide the autonomy and the flexibility these subject-matter experts need to do their jobs efficiently and effectively. This will give your independent workers a message that you understand them and care for them.

Tools to Consider

  • SharePoint enables your company to share only the files, data, and apps necessary for experts to do their jobs while keeping your sensitive data under wraps
  • OneDrive enables experts to feel in control and connected. Thereby, allowing them to share and collaborate with team members on their own time

 

2. The traveler

The great thing about today’s workplace is that borders are no longer barriers to productivity, collaboration, and communication. It’s clear: Physical borders aren’t barriers to instant communication and collaboration anymore. Some employees spend a good part of every working day on shuttles, buses, or trains. The ability to get work done during that time is very important to them and good for your business. These employees prefer to remain connected, whether on the way to work or working from home.

So, to help them work productively, you need to provide them the secure and flexible access to the resources they need to get their work done. This access might either be online or offline, on mobile phones, or on tablets and laptops.

Tools to Consider

  • Microsoft Teams lets the traveler stay in touch with their colleagues. It lets them see notifications and conversations on any device, allows them to send messages to their colleagues and even join a meeting while traveling  
  • SharePoint and OneDrive help the traveler have access to all the latest company files, with real-time co-authoring capabilities. And the best part is, it is available on any device at any time
  • Mobile device management helps secure each device the traveler needs to stay connected, whether it’s a laptop, tablet, or personal mobile device
  • Office mobile apps store the commuter’s files in the cloud, making it easy for them to securely log in with any device and work while commuting. Once back in the office on their desktop device, they can pick up right where they left off
  • Office 365: Whether at home, on a bus, or picking up the kids from soccer practice, travelers can use Office 365 to securely access files and communicate with everyone at the office as though they were in the same room

 

3. The flexible worker

The flexible worker sets their own work schedule. Some prefer to work in the morning and some in the late night. This means you need to give them the network access without the time constraint factor so that they can get their work done. 

As a leader, try to understand why they prefer to work at certain times and give the flexibility they need to work productively. For instance, some may have children or the elderly at home to be taken care of. They might have to juggle between work and having to take care of them. Thus, enabling flex-timers to work securely from anywhere at times that are best for them helps to keep them productive.

 Tools to Consider

  • Using Microsoft Teams will help the flexible workers to stay in contact with their co-workers during business hours with a record of the discussion they can use while working on it later on. 
  • Tools like SharePoint and OneDrive also help flexible workers to have access to the files and data they need at any point in time. In other words, both OneDrive and SharePoint can be accessed from any device, at any time, and all they need is just a decent Internet connection
  • Outlook integrates their business email, calendar, and contacts. The flex-timer can also set office hours in Outlook, which lets their co-workers know when they’re available and when they are not
  • Mobile device management helps to protect your flexible worker’s devices, for secure access to files and other information

 

4. The road warrior

The Road Warrior is your salesperson or marketing professional who is constantly on the go. Since they are always traveling from one client meeting to another – they may miss out on some important work-related discussions. However, mobile productivity tools can bridge this gap by providing them a platform to stay up-to-date on the recent happenings and most importantly – stay in touch with their colleagues. 

Tools to Consider

  • Microsoft Teams allows road warriors to use any mobile device to get quick updates in their spare seconds between meetings and conferences
  • OneNote lets them review, add notes to files and share them from their mobile devices
  • OneDrive is yet another useful tool for your road warrior. The best part is, it works even when road warriors are out of range. Thereby, ensuring productivity doesn’t suffer in any manner. 

 

5. The jet setter

Jet Setters spend lots of time in airports, with weak Wi-Fi signals and low device batteries. Thus, they often rely on mobile devices to access the information they need to get the work done.  Since these types of remote workers have less access to a proper internet connection, they need tools that can enable accessibility and security, regardless of where they are, whether or not they have Internet, and no matter what device they’re using.

Tools to Consider

  • Since SharePoint along with Office 365 suite works across any device – jet setters can use their tablet or mobile phone to access the information they need, when they have no access to their laptops
  • OneDrive lets them work on files offline, in case the Wi-Fi signal is weak or unavailable. And the changes they made to the document offline, will automatically get updated once they are back online
  • Microsoft Teams allows them to view notifications and conversation tags on their mobile devices. Not just that, but it also lets them join a meeting in high definition – the same way it would appear on a desktop

In Conclusion,

No doubt, remote working creates an opportunity for secure collaboration and workplace efficiency. The key is to understand your remote workers well and get the right technology in place to help your team do their best work. 

Also Read: 10 Leadership Hacks For Remote Work Management

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