Out Of Sight, But Not Out Of Mind – Ensuring Retention of Workforce In Remote Locations

For any business, big or small, the staff is the pillar that holds it together. Many a times, it is these members who carry out the toughest of tasks. Think about the miners and factory workers who are faced with many-a-risk in their daily jobs. There are other industries, too, where the people have to work in remote areas and unfavourable weather conditions. It takes a robust system of policies and planning to be able to manage these workforces effectively, taking special care of factors such as safety and other basic needs.

Weather conditions

Several areas where industries operate have extreme weather conditions, either cold, hot, dry or humid. Workers that are repeatedly exposed to these are prone to falling sick or being stressed, both of which will affect not just their wellbeing, but their productivity, too. Such places require extra attention as the workforce needs to have a comfortable environment in order to be able to carry out their daily duties. Therefore, organisations need to make sure they are equipped with temperature/humidity control, enough to ensure the workers’ health is not affected by the environmental conditions.

It would also help to have the right tools in place for climates that are bound to interrupt work process if not dealt with. This is especially true for industries which require work to be carried out outdoors. These situations can be dealt with by proofing machinery and transportation for several weather conditions such as rain and snow, since operating surfaces will most likely be affected. The right signs and warnings should also be put around so that people are vigilant and move around with caution, especially in danger-prone areas.

Location-based amenities

Hiring talent in remote areas is useful to businesses as it helps with cutting costs. The employees who are physically present at a location will get a better understanding of the area and its people.

According to a study by OwlLabs, 56% of companies allow remote work, “hybrid companies,” or are a fully remote company. Thus having them on board will be an advantage for a business that it based elsewhere but needs insight into, or manpower in, these remote areas. However, securing these employees is a task, and once secured, retaining them is difficult too.

This can majorly be attributed to the fact that many remote locations lack facilities and adequate benefits such as housing, healthcare, education and childcare. Due to this lack of facilities, employees move out of these areas to other areas that have these facilities within their reach.

Additionally, it is good to keep the workplace equipped with food and water supplies. This is especially helpful when either the weather or the location doesn’t permit workers to go home or elsewhere to get their food.

Employee incentives

When conditions at the workplace take a turn for the worse, it is a good practice to let staff work from their homes till things settle down. This is a good practice to enforce, instead of having employees make an uncomfortable commute to a potentially unproductive (and sometimes even dangerous) work environment. Employees should also be offered flexible work options to rest and recuperate, in order to maintain productivity.

It is a good practice to conduct periodic skill-enhancement sessions as well as community building sessions, so that the workforce is up to speed with the latest in the industry as well as familiarised with colleagues. Having these sessions will also give them a sense of the organisations investment in their growth and development. This, therefore, helps them stay with the company, as opposed to looking for different jobs based on better pay. According to a report by HireRight, employee training programs saw the biggest jump in 2018 with 53 percent of organisations planning to invest in them as opposed to the 24 percent in 2017. Overall, increasing the efficiency of HR processes was the most important initiative (57 percent), followed by creating a positive corporate culture (54 percent), and maximising employee engagement (53 percent).

If an employee has been transferred to a remote area, organisation should always have someone to help them acclimatise before joining the workforce. This enables a smooth transition for the new employee and a feeling of inclusiveness at the new company. Remote locations have varying needs, and companies need to plan accordingly. This, when coupled with severe weather conditions could majorly affect whether someone stays on with them or not. Therefore, companies with employees operating out of remote locations/tumultuous weather conditions need to take special care of these basic needs for their workforce to continue with them in the long run.

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