Flexibility in the workplace is becoming increasingly important in today's workforce. With advances in technology coupled with the ability to work remotely, businesses are now able to tap into a more flexible workforce. However, managing a flexible workforce can be challenging. Here are some methods to best leverage a flexible workforce to achieve business success.

Define expectations and set clear goals

One of the most important steps in leveraging a flexible workforce is to define and set clear expectations for each employee. This will help ensure that everyone is working towards the same objectives and that each team member understands their individual goals and responsibilities.

As a manager, it's important to be transparent about what you expect from your employees, including their work hours, communication methods and how they will be evaluated. This will help avoid misunderstandings and create a positive work environment.

Utilize technology

Technology can be a powerful tool for managing a flexible workforce. Tools like project management software, video conferencing, whiteboard apps and digital asset management tools can help keep everyone on the same page and ensure that tasks are completed efficiently. Implement cloud-based solutions, utilize automation and leverage analytics and data tracking in your work.

Using technology can also help you monitor progress and provide feedback in real-time. This can be particularly useful when managing remote workers or teams located in different time zones.

Encourage communication

Communication is key when managing a flexible workforce. Encourage open communication between team members and make sure everyone knows how to reach each other when needed. This can be done through email, instant messaging, chat rooms or video conferencing. These tools provide options for collaborating on projects and solving problems in real time.

Offer flexibility

It's important to remember that flexibility goes both ways. If you want your employees to be flexible, you also need to be flexible with them. This means being open to their needs and accommodating their schedules when possible.

Offering flexible work hours or allowing employees to work remotely can be a great way to attract and retain top talent. This can also help create a more positive work environment and improve employee morale.

Provide training and development opportunities

It's important to invest in training and development for your staff. This can help them stay up to date with the latest trends and technologies and ensure that they are able to perform their jobs to the best of their abilities.

Offering training and development opportunities can also help improve employee retention and create a positive work environment. This can include online courses, webinars, or in-person training sessions. Ultimately, this is an investment in your organization for the long run.

A flexible workforce may consist of a variety of staffing resources. The more flexibility you desire in your team, the more likely you are to employ a variety of team members from remote workers, contractors, offshore workers, to regional employees. It’s important to recognize the different value each type of worker brings to the organization and essential to understand how to effectively manage each type of worker using some of the tools outlined above.

Here are some tips for each:

Remote workers

We all learned a great deal about remote working as we made our way through the pandemic. Remote workers can offer a lot of flexibility and can be a great way to attract and retain top talent. To best leverage remote workers, consider the following:

  • Set clear expectations: Clearly communicate the expectations for work hours, communication methods, and how remote workers will be evaluated.

  • Use technology: Utilize video conferencing apps, project management software and other tools to keep remote workers connected and work organized.

  • Encourage communication: Encourage open communication between remote workers and in-office workers and provide opportunities for in-person meetings when possible.

Contractors (Surge staffing)

Contractors are a valuable asset to a flexible workforce, especially during peak periods of demand. Consider these best practices for leveraging contractors effectively:

  • Plan and forecast demand: This will help you determine when and how many surge workers will be needed. This can help you avoid over- or under-staffing.

  • Set clear expectations: Clearly communicate the contractor’s role and responsibilities, as well as the timing and duration of their work.

  • Provide adequate resources: Ensure that contractors have the necessary resources and tools to complete their work effectively and timely.

Offshore workers 

Offshore workers, those who work in another country, can offer cost savings and can be a valuable addition to a flexible workforce as they may add additional working hours to the department. Here are a few ideas to help you best leverage offshore workers:

  • Establish a point of contact: Set a central point of contact on both sides of these relationships. 

  • Set clear expectations: Clearly communicate the expectations for work hours, communication methods and how offshore workers will be evaluated.

  • Provide training: Training and development opportunities can ensure that offshore workers understand your organization’s processes and work philosophy, and it equips them to perform their jobs effectively.

  • Encourage communication: Promote open communication between offshore workers and the onshore team, and provide opportunities for in-person meetings when possible.

Regional staff

In a global organization, utilizing the skills of regional marketing and creative staff can help to provide a more localized and relevant message to customers in different regions. Here are some ways to best utilize regional marketing and creative staff within a global organization:

  • Understand regional differences: Each region has its own culture, language, customs and preferences. Regional staff can provide valuable insights into these differences, which can be used to tailor marketing messages and creative content that better resonates with the target audience.

  • Empower regional staff: Empowering regional staff to make decisions and take ownership of local campaigns can help ensure that the campaigns are relevant and effective. 

  • Foster collaboration: Encouraging collaboration between global and regional marketing and creative staff can help to facilitate the sharing of ideas, best practices and insights. This can lead to the development of more effective campaigns that can be adapted for use across different regions.

  • Establish clear guidelines: While it is important to empower regional staff, it is also important to establish clear guidelines and standards to ensure that campaigns are consistent with the brand's overall message and values. 

  • Leverage technology: Technology can be a powerful tool for facilitating collaboration and communication between regional staff and the global marketing team.

Leveraging a flexible workforce has the potential to improve business efficiency and attract top talent. By setting clear expectations, utilizing technology, encouraging communication, offering flexibility and providing training and development opportunities you can create a positive work environment and achieve business success.

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Do you need help from an independent resource to develop a flexible staffing model? Contact us for information on how we can help support you with recommendations, implementation and training.