Leading people who all work in the same location is one thing, but leading people who all work in different locations is another matter entirely. The difficulties that exist in terms of coordinating them, planning tasks and projects and tracking productivity are rife, but there are a number of techniques and best practices that can be used to make life easier and ensure that the quality and efficiency of work being completed does not decrease.
Although it can never be said that it is easy to lead a team when everyone works in one office, it is much simpler than managing remote teams, either working from home or in another branch of the company’s offices. As a leader, the challenges of ensuring that work-rates and results stay high in addition to the team members remaining engaged and enthusiastic about their roles within the organisation can be difficult to conquer.
As hard as it can be to lead or manage a remote team, it is possible to do it successfully. With this in mind, here are some best practices to adopt in order to get the most out of your remote team. Continue reading
You don’t have the ability to always physically oversee and monitor their progress, so measuring effectiveness and keeping open lines of communication is very important. If you introduce a framework and a structure that allows for easy communication and measure output, telecommuters can be just as effective as if you’re in regular physical contact.
What should be measured and how do you do it?
Let’s start with the obvious one – productivity: You can virtually drop into your staff’s office every day – or as often as you like – using a program that will track remote workers’ activity, including typed keystrokes, internet history, emails sent and received, webcam shots in addition to taking periodic screenshots throughout their workday. A variety of activity tracking software exists to accommodate whatever your specific needs are and this can help improve accountability and transparency to your virtual office. This also helps you quantify exactly how much time the workload of each project is taking.
The second – and equally important quantitative measure that both you and your staff need to keep track of – is time management. Using shift scheduling software not only helps employees and managers stay on top of their schedules and payroll, but it also helps define how long employees need to dedicate to a specific task as well as tracking the progress being made or that has to be made for you to reach your goals and accomplish your projects.
If you’re considering telecommuting as an option for your employees or maybe you’re exploring outsourcing to a virtual team, then you could be making a very good business decision. According to research by Gallup, remote workers tend to log more hours per week and are more engaged than those working in an office or onsite. There is also potential for huge savings by diminishing overhead costs such as rented office space and 401k plans.
However, managing remote employees does have its own set of challenges. The out-of-sight element makes it all too easy to put it out-of-mind that remote employees have specific needs, too. This two-part series of articles about managing remote employees will explore tactics that will help you oversee and support those who work from home as effectively as the staff who work in an office in order to maximize efficiency and minimize operational issues.