7 challenges to consider when managing a remote/hybrid workforce and how to address them

There is no doubt that remote/hybrid work is here to stay as a cornerstone of the post-pandemic future of work. According to the research from Gartner the employees have already developed a new sense of awareness and self-worth – they need to perceive they are valued at a company and feel like their role gives them purpose.

As remote and hybrid workforces are much different than in-person teams, business leaders have to make changes to allow employees to work remote/hybrid and manage them effectively. An effective remote/hybrid workplace strategy requires a complex measure of everything in between communication and the right technology. As wonderful as remote/hybrid work sounds it is vital to understand that it is far from perfect and goes with significant challenges that have to be addressed properly.

1. A decrease in the document collection compliance of up to 50% (incl. hiring, annexes, exit checklists with terminations, etc).

Educating employees, communicating the requirements in detail, and explaining the consequences of non-compliance will give them a purpose. Additional regular assessments and automated workflows with compliance technology that integrates warnings and alerts to highlight missing or invalid information would eliminate back-and-forth messaging and time-wasting tasks. In fact, automated document creation will decrease the task time from 30 mins per document (on average) to 5 mins, incl. validation, or >80% efficiency improvement.

2. Delays and mistakes in archiving signed documents in up to 50% of the cases.

Document Management Systems (or Content Management Systems) are the best solution to make the risks of delays and mistakes much easier. Tracking the document collection availability will increase the newly processed records compliance to 100% (excl. exceptional cases such as for example foreigners waiting for documents from the embassy). Additionally introducing a Qualified Electronic Signature will enable remote document signing and will reduce the time-to-sign from 3-4 working days to 0.5 days on average, or >80% efficiency increase.

3. Constant understaffing due to slow response of the hiring efforts to attrition.

Delaying the recruitment process is causing candidates to drop out and could be a reason for chronic understaffing. Whilst the candidates are aware that the hiring process can take time, it is important to keep candidates engaged by keeping open communication throughout the process to ensure you can still attract top talent. It is vital to analyze and streamline and map the process (what works and doesn't, what tasks and communications could be automated, which areas create consistent issues, how many people are involved in the process, etc.). Speed up even more with online interviews and utilization of the recruiter's connections.

4. Lowered initial productivity of 5 to 10 workdays per open position due to slow administration.

Understaffing not only increases an employee's workload, but the additional responsibilities can intensify stress. Heightened stress levels can cause dissension within the organization and decrease productivity.

Most employers have realized the importance of improving cross-functional collaboration in order to ensure process sustainability and continuous improvement. Process revision to eliminate delays in cross-functional cooperation and speed up administration will ensure improvement in end-to-end time requirement of up to 30% (depending on the process).

5. A drop in the ESAT of up to 0.5 points on a scale of 1 to 5 due to lowered administration capabilities and increased complexity.

Employee satisfaction (ESAT) has a direct impact on a company’s health. With more people working from home promoting a positive culture that increases engagement and supports the growth of the teams is crucial. Organizational leaders need to communicate more frequently with their employees and articulate more specific policies and approaches for the future workplace focussed on employee's well-being and productivity rise. Simplifying is better – meet the clear hours expectations, technologies that enable on-site employees to dial in to remote meetings and guidelines for documentation, introduce collaboration tools, and training for those tools as well as micro connectivity policies - from small team events to a listening and response strategy.

6. Lowered facility capacity utilization equal to WAH vs in-office percentage, resulting in overcost.

Remote/hybrid work offers organizations an opportunity to take bold steps to reimagine the office, taking advantage of alternative workplace strategies and making their space more productive and cost-effective. A repurposed office offers significant potential to save money on real estate and facility costs by reducing the amount of space needed and proper seat utilization. On the other hand, remote employees have expenses that need to be covered which increases the risk of overspending. Gaining control of the expenses and budget is key to preventing overcosting. Emphasize communication and approval, place spend limits and track spending and behavior.

7. Significant InfoSec risks related to misuse of company equipment and delays in returning equipment by terminated employees.

Worries about information security risks can slow progress and keep companies from meeting their goals. While working from home is convenient and has many benefits, it also exposes both individuals and businesses to a range of cybersecurity risks such as accessing sensitive data through unsafe Wi-Fi networks, using personal devices for work, ignoring basic physical security practices in public places, using weak passwords, unencrypted file sharing among many others. The company should create a strategy that balances cybersecurity risk with opportunity – one that allows it to grow while safeguarding its sensitive information: clearly define which positions are eligible for remote work; list tools and platforms to be used; provide employees with steps to follow at the first signs of account compromise, etc.