To adapt to recent changes in the work environment, workplaces are now adopting a two-tiered workforce. This means having some completely remote workers and some that are entirely on-site. This is different from a hybrid work plan where your workers work a couple of days remotely and the remaining days on-site.
With a two-tiered workforce, the employer would define the job descriptions and define those that a remote talent can do and those that require physical presence at the office location. For instance, you could decide to have the customer service and marketing team work remotely so long as they deliver on their targets and KPIs. On the other hand, the logistics department may need to be entirely on-site to ensure that orders are correctly packaged and sent out for delivery.
It may not always take this form, though. For instance, even within a department, one or two roles could be remote, while the others would be on-site. The implication is that you could have people work together for months without physically meeting.
Why a two-tier workforce?
The global talent pool has many more options for you as an employer and could give you the ability to get some of the best talents in a role outside your physical location. So, while you can have the on-site team doing their part, it is okay to tap from some outstanding talents outside your location. Remote work allows organizations to access a diverse talent pool, breaking geographical barriers and fostering a more inclusive hiring process.
Since this offers the employer flexibility to tap into a wealthy global talent pool, it comes with challenges. Mainly, it can create a sense of division and isolation between team members if there is no proper structure or culture to manage the situation. There could be a breakdown in communication, collaboration, and overall team cohesion.
Conversely, many remote workers report higher productivity levels, citing fewer distractions and a more comfortable work environment as contributing factors. Also, the on-site team may experience increased productivity due to a focused work environment and immediate access to resources.
Challenges you can expect with a Two-tier workforce
- Communication Disparities:
The absence of casual, in-person interactions that typically characterize an on-site team will be missing in a two-tier workforce, impacting team building and camaraderie. Also, occasional breakdowns in effective communication can lead to misunderstandings, missed information, and a lack of cohesion.
2. Cultural and Team Dynamics:
Team dynamics may differ between remote and on-site teams, potentially leading to feelings of exclusion or a lack of understanding. This way, establishing a unified organizational culture transcending physical locations becomes crucial to maintaining a cohesive workforce.
How to get the best of a Two-tier workforce
- Make use of Unified Communication Platforms: The use of robust communication tools can facilitate seamless collaboration and real-time interaction for both remote and on-site teams. Also, the management will need to include regular video meetings into the schedule, plus some other virtual team-building activities that can help bridge the communication gap and build some camaraderie.
- Equal Access to Opportunities: Ensure remote and on-site employees have equal access to career development opportunities, promotions, and recognition programs. Implement transparent performance evaluation processes to mitigate bias and ensure fairness.
- Cultural Integration Initiatives: Establish initiatives that foster a sense of unity and shared identity among all employees, regardless of their physical location. Come up with fun projects that get team members across departments to collaborate and work together.