Remote work practices have revolutionized the labour market. Nearly 25% of the US workforce has experienced working remotely, even if it’s just part-time. Millennials now form the majority of the global population and they’re fully embracing digital tools and remote work that gives more freedom of movement and task completion. Since 2014, there has been a 4% increase in the Millennial remote workforce, from 38% to 42%!
However, both managers and employees benefit from remote work opportunities as it improves both their professional and personal lives.
While some companies recognized the benefits of working remotely early on, others were surprised by the negative impact of the COVID19 pandemic on the in-office work practices. The truth is that remote work is not a recent phenomenon. The Early Industrial Age was flooded with home-based businesses. At the beginning of the womens’ rights movement, many housewives took on sales jobs at home so that they could continue taking care of their families without interruption.
In contrast, modern remote work practices that reflect the use of IoT devices and numerous digital tools is often considered to be a more recent concept. But is it? Many Fortune 100 companies started experimenting with remote working in the early 1980's! Yes that was so long ago! At that time, IBM installed its first remote terminals and by 2009, 40% of its global employees were working remotely. Thus, the the concept of remote work is not that new. However, it is certainly a new practice for the majority of businesses worldwide.
No matter if you’re a pioneer in this space or you’re only starting to explore the trend now, all remote workers face the same support management challenges! Running a large support department has always been a challenge, and remote support management brings additional issues!
To learn more about remote support work and its best practices, scroll down to the next headline!
A. What is remote support management?
Simply put, remote support management is a practice of managing your support team from any place except an office. For any remote support operation to be successful it is necessary to have a secure helpdesk that maximizes the efficiency and security of its customer data. Using a helpdesk is the only way to enable a streamlined support process that you can track on a user-friendly CRM platform.
This single interface allows you to track your team’s progress with respect to customer tickets or tasks, define tasks and assign them to each support rep, offer assistance to your team members and answer their queries. Moreover, all of these benefits occur in real time with the help of a top-notch trigger and notification system.
B. Why do managers love remote support work?
Here are the reasons why managers love remote support work:
- Cut office space costs: There is no longer a need to pay massive rental fees.
- Higher employee productivity: Remote support workers are 13% more productive and they even work 9.5 hours more per month than their in-office counterparts.
- Time saving: Now you need far less time to supervise your employees. One click is enough to see all they have done.
- PComfortable workspace: Managers can do their jobs from their favorite house sofa too!
- Family life: We all know how busy managers are and how many responsibilities their job involves; therefore they tend to spend more time in the office. Well, now they can enjoy a balance between professional and family time.
The price for remote work is simply terrific! You cut costs and have better work performance due to tech developments. For instance, in 2009 IBM reported that remote work enabled the company to cut its office space by 79 million square feet, thereby managing to save 100 million every year! Sounds amazing, right? Well, with a secure helpdesk software you can save money too! There is no doubt that the support department is the largest one in each company. Imagine how many square meters you could cut!
C. Why do support reps enjoy working remotely?
Remote workers don’t miss the office at all! Yes, remote work is new and exciting but it is more than that!
- Setting up a preferred work environment: Now you can put a pineapple on your work table without anyone judging you, work from a beach, or get things done during a flight. As long as your activities don’t disrupt your work performance then they are a great choice!
- Work-life balance: Both moms and dads have more time now to watch their kids grow and spend more quality time with each other.
- Commuting is a thing of the past: Who wants to spend hours stuck in stinky traffic while in a hurry to get to the office? Nobody!
- Freedom of work: This may be the most favorable remote work benefit: less unnecessary supervision.
D. Remote support management challenges
All management need to overcome challenges to truly enjoy the benefits of remote support management!
1. Lack of supervision
While your remote superstars may flourish working on their own, others who are not self-starters may need constant instruction and will likely struggle due to lack of supervision. Distractions such as scrolling through Instagram or staying on top of the latest Netflix TV show may easily pull them away from their work.
The challenge here is that you may not be able to easily see this issue or invest the amount of time it would take to scan all of their completed tasks. Don’t worry! A helpdesk will allow you to quickly analyze productivity based on the amount of completed tasks and inactivity time. Problem solved!
3. Communication breakdown
In the office you could simply grab a pen and explain a new project or privacy rule on a task board to all your support reps. Now, you need to schedule a meeting or webinar, which as have already discussed can be quite complicated. If your projects require regular collaboration instead of one-time instruction, this new way of working can result in serious communication gaps. Again, urgent metings and remote work don’t get along very well.
4. Absence of company culture
Creating a long-lasting company culture has always been a challenge due to employee turnover, market saturation, and a rapidly changing business environment. This task has only gotten harder to achieve with remote work as your employees may be coming from completely different cultures such as those in India or Argentina. Thus it’s recommended to set up meeting topics, webinars and training sessions that tackle issues such as these to help your employees feel closer to each other!
5. Lost sense of community
Team building can be a tough remote task! Your reps don’t see each other face-to-face regularly and they most often don’t discuss their personal issues unless asked. Therefore, a complete lack of communal feeling is immanent. To strengthen and build and unbreakable rapport, involve friendly activities where your employees can create chat groups to discuss everything else but work. Many companies call this chat section “Watercooler”, but feel free to name it whatever you (or your employees) want!
6. Varied time zones
Planning to have a team that is spread out across the globe? Picking a geographically diverse talent pool is extremely beneficial; however, working with different time zones can be quite challenging. First and foremost, trying to schedule a meeting with your employees from the US, Asia and Europe can be a waste of time. While the time difference of 6-8 hours between the EU countries and the US can be easily overcome, the deals with Asia may face an uphill battle. It will be impossible to find a suitable time slot for all, so some topics may remain uncovered. Similarly, if you have an emergency in Australia but your rep is from Brazil, the issue may not be addressed in a timely manner. Of course, you can try to wake them up but the risk is too high!
7. Task tracking
The lack of an adequate task manager can turn this remote support management practice into a nightmare! To track the progress of your reps you need their updates on a regular basis. Without a helpdesk, you can’t get an accurate ticket status so you'll spend too much time figuring it out and may even lose your customer.
8. Security concerns
The privacy of customer data is extremely important these days as cybercrime spikes have occurred around major company operations. The pandemic hasn't made it any easier for companies to execute security procedures at all! It’s unfortunate that credential stuffing, or stealing your employees’ login details, is one of the most commonly used hacker instruments. When you have employees dispersed around the globe, it may seem impossible to ensure that they keep your valuable company information confidential. That task can seem like a mission impossible! Luckily, there is a support helpdesk that will enforce the highest data privacy and security standards for your company while taking care of your data compliance - Helpy!