Productivity Hacks for Managing a Remote Workforce

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Productivity Hacks for Managing a Remote Workforce

     Managing a Remote Workforce- Part Two

The past few years have seen an explosion in flexible remote work opportunities, with the recent pandemic accelerating this. Of course, long-term telecommuting is different from the crisis-related working-from-home that’s now widespread. However, businesses are quickly recognizing the benefits and opportunities for telework. Employees are embracing the life-work balance that is associated with remote work options, and employers are experiencing a widespread demand for flexible options, all increasing the likelihood that telework will remain the new normal.

Along with the implementation of a remote workforce comes the challenges of managing them. One potential problem can be productivity. While studies have shown that remote workers tend to be more productive than their co-located peers, consistency in productivity can suffer if not appropriately managed.

 

Combining Structured and Unstructured Working Hours

Set Expectations for Remote Employees Contrary to the prevalent ideology that strictly structured task management equals productivity, more modern managers have realized that blending structured office hours and unstructured time can increase productivity and ingenuity.

Leaders should schedule set office hours for employees to be available to work on day-to-day tasks like checking emails, attending meetings, and other typical job-related activities. Take into consideration time zones and schedule these mandatory office hours to best suit the entire team. This type of scheduling facilitates productivity by allowing time for collaboration, having clear expectations for work times, and encourage team behaviors and bonding.

In addition to structured work hours, managers should allow remote workers time to explore new ideas and work on special projects. While it can be difficult at first to get used to the idea of allowing free time, and in fact, can strike you as counterproductive, unstructured work increases creative problem solving, ingenuity, and can inspire mutual trust and loyalty.

 

Communication and Clear Expectations

Communication for Remote EmployeesAnother challenge to productivity is balancing communication- too much, and team members can feel micro-managed as if they are not trusted. Too little communication can make them feel alienated and unimportant. Managers should establish a daily team check to pass on important information, discuss priorities, assess progress on group projects, and a weekly individual check-in to provide feedback, one-on-one support, and evaluate progress on individually assigned tasks.

Communicating realistic productivity standards and expectations is key to achieving optimal productivity in your remote workers. After all, even the best employees can’t read minds, and it is impossible to be in constant contact with every member of your team, no matter if they are teleworking or collocated with you. Productivity goals should be communicated and assessed frequently to ensure employees have enough work to be engaged but not so much that they are overwhelmed.

 

Encourage Breaks and Adherence to Quitting Times

Encourage Breaks for Remote Employees         Employee burnout can be another barrier to consistent productivity. Workers in an office environment have more structure than their remote coworkers and typically take their breaks and have time to socialize with their coworkers, and when it is quitting time, they clock out and go home. When you work from home, your office is where you live, there is a lack of fundamental social interactions, and the lines between work and home life can blur.

Remote workers frequently report that they forget to take breaks and have trouble compartmentalizing life and work. Managers should encourage their remote workers to develop healthy boundaries between work and home life. Some ways to support this include:

  • Modeling behavior – Many remote team managers work remotely themselves, at least some of the time. Managers should practice the behaviors they want to boost in their employees. Be sure you are imposing work-life boundaries on your own day as well. If your employees see that you are sending emails after the established working hours, they may feel like it is okay and even necessary to be “always on call” as well.
  • Use time-tracking programs – Time tracking programs can increase productivity by not only letting you know what your employees are doing and when, but it can also help employees understand when to quit working. The act of clocking out can assist in reinforcing that work-life barrier.

 

Outsourcing for your remote teams with Liberty Source gives your business the benefits of teleworking while also ensuring skilled leaders manage that team. Liberty Source has a track record for efficiently managing remote teams and increasing productivity.

Liberty Source has a unique workforce consisting of military spouses who experience frequent moves. Liberty Source has long utilized teleworking to retain and hire the best-qualified employees, giving us the expertise needed to maintain productivity during the recent pandemic and beyond.

Leveraging Automation + Machine Learning for Data Extraction

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Leveraging Automation + Machine Learning for Data Extraction

Despite the recent growth and popularity, automation and machine learning are not new concepts. In fact, they have been around for decades. The 1990s marks a time of significant advancement in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and business process automation. Long before the new wave of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) term was coined, computer programmers wrote and utilized their fair share of automation scripts. As technology advanced and continues to evolve, process automation and machine learning is no longer reserved for ‘only’ the computer programmers within an organization. New and easy-to-use software tools that support task and process automation now allow organizations to more widely unlock the full business benefits of this advanced technology such as recognizing patterns, extracting pertinent data, and making informed decisions.

The volume of data, both structured and unstructured, currently collected by businesses is so massive that many already struggle to extract and make sense of such vast information efficiently.

Leveraging automation and machine learning for data extraction allows your business to efficiently isolate the vital information or the indicator within the chaos needed for a competitive advantage in today’s marketplace.

Machine learning utilizes algorithms and neural network models to assist computer systems in progressively improving their performance. Some of the ways leveraging automated machine learning give your business an advantage are:

Eliminating Manual Data Extraction and Entry – The amount of time it would take to extract data from a database, or any unstructured environment manually then structure it in a format that is suitable to your specific needs in and of itself would be extensive. You also run the risk of data entry errors. Thus, automating data extraction and data entry avoids mistakes and saves valuable staff-hours. Inaccurate data is one of the most significant problems faced by businesses today. Machine learning makes these processes better by using the discovered data to take specific actions while also suggesting new insights and actions. 

Customer Lifetime Value Prediction – Customer lifetime value is the metric that leading companies use to understand their customers’ purchasing habits. Machine learning can assist businesses in accurately predicting customer behaviors, purchasing patterns, and help in making smart marketing decisions based on customer data like browsing and purchasing histories. This reduces the cost and the amount of time invested in managing customer relationships while reducing customer churn.

Competitive advantage – Data curation and analytics are changing the way businesses compete. Leading companies take advantage of insights hidden in their data to reach consumers quickly with a product or service the consumer desires. By leveraging machine learning their decision making is more accurate and timely. Businesses that are not on the cutting edge of this technology will be at a distinct disadvantage in today’s data driven markets.

Companies looking to gain an advantage through automation and machine learning but don’t have an advanced data analytics process in place should consider outsourcing their data extraction needs with Liberty Source as a partner. Liberty Source has the infrastructure and experience needed to leverage automated machine learning to help your business stay ahead. We will tailor a solution to meet your specific needs – harmonizing our workforce with the right technology. Our highly skilled staff is eager to help you get the most out of the data your business holds.

Top 3 Benefits of Outsourcing with a Social Impact Firm

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Top 3 Benefits of Outsourcing with a Social Impact Firm

While outsourcing is a multi-billion dollar industry, the Impact Sourcing (IS) industry accounts for only 12% of the overall outsourcing market, according to the Everest Group.

Impact sourcing is a socially responsible alternative to traditional outsourcing. It is a business process delivery model that seeks to employ high potential, yet socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals. Companies who deploy impact sourcing intentionally hire and provide career development to individuals with fewer opportunities due to social status, geographic location or something more. While many organizations take note of IS, few understand the value it can bring to their organization or understand how to engage with an IS partner.

The benefits of IS are vast. Here are the top three reasons to engage with an IS partner:

Consistently high quality
IS firms focus on quality and customer service first. They typically experience lower attrition and have a more motivated workforce than traditional outsourcing firms.

Cost savings
Due to factors like geographic location and intentional process improvements, IS firms can offer more meaningful long-term savings than traditional outsourcing organizations. This allows your organization to focus on its core business operations. By engaging with a firm that focuses on operational excellence and quality delivery, you can confidently move forward with your strategic plan knowing that the non-essential business processes and services are being taken care of.

Social Impact
We were all taught as children to leave the world a better place than we found it. IS allows us to leave the world in a better place through employment, training and ultimately economic advancement to those who need it most. Additionally, IS can have a positive impact on revenue as consumers report that they are more likely to work with and purchase from companies who are socially responsible.

At Liberty Source, we have chosen to tap into the pool of over 700,000 talented, educated, culturally aligned, and committed military spouses. In fact, according to the Department of Defense’s Military Spouse Employment Partnership, 24% of military spouses are unemployed and is the top obstacle for financial security among military families.

Spouses of men and women in the military don’t have the flexibility to pursue their own careers. They move often, and not always to locations where jobs in their career field are plentiful. This contributes to patchy resumes and feelings of discontent. Many employers struggle to structure a work environment that suits the needs of a military family, particularly during deployment. Additionally, spouses with professional licenses (legal, health care, education) must pursue, and oftentimes sit for exams, in each state the military moves them to. Constantly preparing for new exams, without actually practicing in their chosen profession, further delays and complicates their professional growth. With their career aspirations hindered, spouses may pursue graduate education in lieu of finding a job, only to end up “overqualified” when they are back in the job market.

There are variances in the types of impact workers that outsourcing firms choose to focus on, but the goal remains the same for organizations that engage in IS. It is the opportunity to fulfill Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), portfolio diversity, and cost-parity all while freeing the internal teams up to focus on core business activities.

What’s your corporate social responsibility mission? Are you leaving the world in a better place?

About Liberty Source:
Liberty Source is a top-tier onshore managed business services provider with a social mission to provide sustainable careers to military spouses and veterans. Liberty Source provides organizations with high-quality, cost-effective solutions by utilizing digital innovation along with cognitive services which are essential to enabling accurate and meaningful business decisions. We serve as a direct extension of our client’s business operations, providing lower-cost, assured accuracy, and scaled deployment through culturally-aligned expertise.

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