09 Apr How to Manage Your Teleworking Staff
Managing a staff remotely presents a number of challenges, some of which are completely unexpected. When a business first goes to a telecommuting or teleworking structure, it naturally undergoes some growing pains to adjust to the new dynamic. Although it is ostensibly more beneficial, cutting down on some expenses, and providing more convenience to staff who no longer have to commute, there are still some issues which can arise. So, it’s best to know what to expect.
The Upsides of Telecommuting for Small Businesses
There are a number of advantages to remote work situations. It gives team members more flexibility with their schedules. Also, it cuts down, if not nearly eliminates, office politics. Additionally, another benefit is that it can reduce operating costs, having to rely less on a dedicated, physical location.
Particularly for small businesses, telecommuting seems an effective strategy for maximizing a workforce while still keeping costs low. You don’t need to pay for a centralized office space or deal with a drive to work, but you do have to contend with YouTube, Facebook and myriad other online distractions. —American Express
But, it also means having to wrangle with coordination efforts, relying on different forms of communication, along with various other things to work out. With just a bit of tweaking here and there, it’s possible to make it work and even to reach a point where pretty much everything flows seamlessly.
Ways to Manage Your Teleworking Staff
Of course getting from Point A to Point B requires a combination of ingenuity, cooperation, and some out of the box thinking. To effectively manage a remote staff, you’ll need to do the following:
- Clarify roles. Each team member must clearly understand his or her role within the organization to eliminate duplication of effort, gaps in productivity, and more troublesome issues. Every person should have a defined, central role, as well as alternative responsibilities, just in case there is a need.
- Set expectations. In addition to defining everyone’s role, you’ll also need to clearly delineate your expectations. Otherwise, people won’t know exactly what you want out of them, and that’s a recipe for disaster.
- Develop procedures. It’s pretty straightforward to set up and explain and demonstrate procedures in a face-to-face environment, but presents quite a challenge with remote staff. This is where most of the initial communication will be necessary, in order to coordinate how things should be done.
- Set Regularly Scheduled Conference Calls. Regular communication is key with your staff in order to develop relationships and high trust cultures with accountability. Have a set time and day with a set agenda on key performance metrics and results, project updates, review current challenges and opportunities and collaborate openly so that there is a sense of community. Use a video conference application like ZOOM or GoToMeeting.com or other for more effective communication.
- Understand security issues. With remote work comes the risk of work-product being compromised. You need to learn about and address any potential issues by being proactive as possible.
- Reach out for help when needed. Lastly, if things just don’t seem to work, you should seek help with the right people. you might need to consult or hire a technical professional in order to get everything you need in order for the system to be fully functional.
What other suggestions do you have? Please, share your thoughts and experiences by commenting!
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