More employees are working remotely than ever before. Some estimates claim as many as 70 percent of all workers around the world work remotely at least once a week.
This has become a trend in large part because of advances in technology, making it easier to communicate and share information.
There are several advantages to having employees work remotely. One is that it helps companies recruit the best talent, no matter where they are located. Studies have also shown that people who work remotely are more productive than those who do not.
But managing remote teams presents unique challenges as well as opportunities. Here are a few tips on how to handle the challenges.
- Be clear about what is expected.
Managers need to set clear guidelines for remote workers. This should cover areas such as when the person should be accessible, working hours, when the employee needs to check in and in what type of communication.
Performance expectations should be set, as well as productivity goals and deadlines. The focus should be on the goals.
Remote workers also need to participate in the same meetings as other workers. For example, if a department has a daily planning session, remote workers should be expected to participate.
Having remote workers participate in the same routines as those who work in the office ensures that everyone is working together. It also helps create stronger bonds between the remote workers and their managers.
- Communicate frequently.
Managers should make it a point to have regular conversations with their remote workers individually. Communication with remote employees is especially important, whether it be casual conversation or planned meetings for feedback.
Contacting remote workers informally every day, in addition to scheduled meetings, also is wise. Some companies use video technology to stay in touch.
- Use the right technology.
You need to provide your telecommuters with the technology capable of allowing them to work together, to communicate easily and share information among all team members. There are many different software platforms available for this kind of service, ones that offer frameworks for team collaboration and the resources to solve complex problems.
The software should let teams organize their work and synchronize their goals. The tech tools used should be able to show clearly what individual responsibilities are and help managers see what each person is working on. The technology should also help employees to see how their work fits into the overall project and allow the team to respond nimbly to internal and external changes.
- Provide professional development opportunities.
Telecommuters should have the chance to train for new skills and grow in their careers, both in structured environments as well as informal settings. Managers should work with remote workers to set individual professional development goals.
- Resist micromanaging.
Bringing many different teams together in various locations demands a high degree of organization and coordination. But managers should resist the temptation to orchestrate this collaboration from above, but rather allow teams to work out processes and procedures on their own and to take responsibility for their work.
Give team members the autonomy to exercise their professional judgment and decision making, but hold them accountable. Allowing them to put together their own organizational frameworks also increases employee engagement.
Looking for remote workers for your Southern California company? Contact Helpmates. We can source, vet and even provide preliminary interviews for skilled and talented candidates. Call the Helpmates branch nearest you for more information.