How to Efficiently Lead a Scattered Workforce

Today’s startups are exceedingly scattered operations. Instead of a centralized work environment such as an office, managers and employees are functioning remotely, using the web as a means to share and communicate. In many cases it’s ideal way to begin a business, as the talent pool is greatly expanded, payroll reduced, and the overhead associated with “brick and mortar” practically eliminated.

The academic world has been slow to catch up with this change, leaving many business majors unsure of how to go about leading a scattered workforce. While all situations are different and therefore require an individually crafted approach, the following suggestions for efficiently managing remote workers are sure to come in handy in all cases:

Utilize multipurpose management software

It’s hard enough for business leaders to keep track of operations in an office where everything is under their watchful eye, let alone when workers are across the map. There’s no shame in depending on comprehensive, multipurpose management software to get the job done. Some, such as Asure Software, include a human capital management platform. This gives business leaders access to detailed data about employee productivity.

Stick to one regular weekly e-meeting

Meetings remain an important component of any business operation dependent on a team effort, even when there’s no meeting room for staff to enter. Video conferencing is the go-to way to keep a scattered workforce on the same page – though it’s important not to overdo it. E-meetings ought to be kept to one per week at a maximum; otherwise, they lose impact and managers appear to be meddling rather than guiding and advising. Abide by a specific time of the week and stick to it, in order to generate a routine.

Schedule monthly one on ones via video

The weekly meeting ought to be supplemented with once a month video conferences with individual staff members. This gives managers of a remote workforce the opportunity to get to know workers on a familiar level, which is otherwise difficult to accomplish. It also allows for details to get ironed out – particularly ones that are ill-suited to be mentioned in a meeting involving the entire team.

Arrange biannual meetups

Even the best video for business resources don’t account for the nuances of a true face to face encounters with staff. However, this is not ordinarily an easy feat both logistically and financially when the team is part of a shoestring budget startup. At the very least, two meetups ought to occur every year. This allows for enough time to pass without meetups feeling unnecessary, while also preventing separated team members from becoming strangers to each other. Furthermore, it gives managers a regular chance to assess certain aspects of employee character difficult to adequately observe via email or even video.

Work on writing skills

Lastly, it’s vital for business leaders to be effective communicators via email. This requires the ability to write clear and concise statements. If using a pronoun, make sure a specific name was mentioned prior. If providing instructions, read back what you wrote and imagine being the person on the other end. Familiar terminology to you can easily become a foreign language to someone else. Always finish an email by offering to better explain any aspects if needed. When further details are requested, take it as a lesson for better communication in the future. Over time, better writing will lead to a more efficient transfer of information throughout the operation.

New businesses are increasingly working in a virtual office setting. It saves money and opens up opportunities for recruiting the best talent from around the world. Keeping a scattered team organized and working effectively, however, can prove to be a challenge. While every enterprise is different, nearly all which depend on a remote workforce can benefit from the aforementioned advice.


Mike Martin is a freelance writer and consultant specializing in workplace wellness and conflict resolution. He is the author of Change the Things You Can (Dealing with Difficult People). For more information about Mike please visit: Change the Things You Can


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