With COVID changing the business landscape, a lot of companies are now looking to keep their work force remote.
A remote work force has its perks both for the employees and the company. Forbes provides some great insight into this with seven reasons why having a remote work force is beneficial. Almost all seven had to do with some form of cost savings and reducing overhead, which in turn increases cash flow.
However studies show that working from home can have some serious challenges. Forbes also did a study on the negative effects of working from home and found that:
• 40% of employees have experienced mental exhaustion from video calls while working remotely.
• 52 % of employees said background noise and/or poor audio quality disrupted their focus, while 23% said it leads to miscommunication with clients.
Some companies like VOX Network Solutions have embraced the work from home strategy long before COVID hit, and found effective ways to manage a remote work force.
To help you manage employee burnout, VOX is starting a work from home series to provide insight into managing a remote work force.
We start with Ron Kingsford, VP of Sales and Marketing at VOX. Ron has over 20 years of sales and leadership experience in the technology industry. As VP of Sales and Marketing for VOX, he has been instrumental VOX’s tremendous year over year growth.
How do you effectively manage your remote work team?
Ron: You’d think that COVID wouldn’t have changed a lot, since our sales team lives around the country, but now our sales people don’t have as much mobility as they once did. No more lunches, client visits, etc… their ability to stay connected with their customers has definitely changed. For many of our employees, this has led to some burnout.
How do you keep moral high and burnout low with your remote workforce, especially during COVID?
Ron: We are a people-focused organization. Our value proposition is “We Help People Prosper.” It’s a bold statement, and it starts with our employees. If they feel the love, they will pour that love and care into their work and customers.
Taking care of our people is our number one priority. For example, we started having virtual happy hour every Friday to unwind from the work week and just to get some relaxation and team building when lockdown first started, it was a great success.
Since VOX has always been remote, how have you kept a positive company culture, and has COVID impacted it?
Ron: We definitely go through fun days and hard days, opportunities and challenges. Understanding your work force and letting them know that you’re here to help them to grow helps them to feel like their part of a community, and not just a number.
Because if I don’t get to hang out with you for two years, I still have to let you know that I’m here for you and I care about you. It starts at the leadership level, “talk is cheap, and actions speak” is what my dad always said. Again, it’s about leadership.
How do you celebrate wins and successes with a remote workforce? Also, how do you give feedback?
Ron: It’s around onboarding, it’s around giving people the certain tools that they need. Our goal is to help them feel like they’ve been wrapped in a warm blanket.
Regarding feedback, it’s a daily struggle to hold our managers accountable and helping them to push that accountability down to the individual sales reps.
With burn out on the rise, we have to balance feedback with more patience.
We know that our employees are at home with kids, pets, and little contact with the outside world except through video conferencing. But, as Brené Brown says, “Kindness without honesty isn’t kindness.” So we strive to be direct, honest, and kind.
However, no matter how hard you try, there are days when you suddenly you wake up and realize, “Wow, people aren’t even hearing what I’m saying!” It’s something I think about and try to improve on every day.
The VOX Work From Home Best Practices Series
Join us next time as we continue to interview the thought leaders of VOX Network Solutions and provide helpful tips and practices to implement into your work from home strategy.
VOX is a modern technology company that truly wants to make a difference in the world.
We embrace innovation, creativity and think about change in terms of monumental paradigm shifts.