More people than ever before in history are working remotely rather than on the physical jobsite. Latest figures from Global Workplace Analytics place this number at 3 million professionals who work from home at least once per week.
Telecommuting in general provides outstanding benefits to both the business and the employee. However, managers need to find effective methods for monitoring these workers to ensure the business’s goals are not lost in the mix. It may be easier than you think to manage a remote workforce.
Put the Right Technology in Place
One of the first, and sometimes the best, options is to use the right type of technology. The use of hardware such as mobile devices is a good place to start. Web-based software programs can help ensure work tasks are being managed properly. You will also find webinars, video conferencing products, document-sharing tools and numerous office communication services available to magnify the success of your out-of-the-office team.
Utilize Good Communication
The biggest problem many telecommuting managers deal with is a lack of communication between team members. Since you don’t have that face-to-face interaction you normally have to maintain constant communication and to monitor body language, you need to up the other options for communication to ensure you stay in the loop. This means using email to communicate daily. Have a weekly conference call with the team. Host webinars to educate and train them on new concepts.
Also important is the ability for remote employees to maintain accountability. Oftentimes, employees start to become isolated when they are not all in the same room working together. This can cause a shift in productivity in many instances.
To avoid this, supervisors need to develop an effective system of accountability for the team. It should focus on the tasks that need to be completed and the methods for tracking progress. There are web-based time clocks and project management systems you can use, for example, to find out how much time your employees are actually working.
Most importantly, business managers who have telecommuting employees or workers need to focus on setting the tone from the start. This means ensuring regular check-ins are happening. This should begin from day-one on the job. It also means scheduling deadlines and interacting with staff on a regular basis for management support and troubleshooting. Doing these things will increase productivity and make the job of managing a growing remote workforce more efficient.
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