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Managing remote workers: getting the most from your team

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There is more than one reason for employing remote workers, but to make such an approach work, you need a plan.

Remote workers need motivating:  they need to feel part of the team, they need clear direction and there needs to be monitoring.

Communication is essential

Employ workers away from the office and they may feel isolated, a lesser part of the company, less loyal, and less committed. Overcoming this requires communication. You need to talk, literally talk and not just rely on communication via email and other text communication methods.

It may be worth setting up regular telephone conversations, or better still, communication involving video. Make sure interactions are not all work and no play: robots may just want instructions, but a loyal work force wants to feel valued, and that partially means taking an interest.

Build relationships!

However, remote communication is not enough. Meet face to face occasionally and encourage remote workers to attend the office and interact with non-remote workers from time to time.

When you do connect via email or other forms of textual contact, try and avoid being too formal, too inflexible and too prescriptive. Take the time to listen to remote workers and try to build on their strengths.

Properly brief your remote workers

It is also vital that what you require is made clear: written briefs, even video based instructions can be useful. Ensure remote workers understand what you ask of them. Don’t just send instructions and expect compliance without follow-up.

Provide contact details

Also, ensure remote workers know when and how to contact you. Clearly outline your expectations on how they can communicate with you on a day to day basis.

Monitor and feedback

You need to monitor the productivity of remote workers and set out in advance how you determine if they are meeting expectations. Converse with them, so that they fully understand when, how and what they must do to meet objectives and how this will be determined.

Remote management tools

Also, make optimal use of remote management tools. It is important to use tools such as Skype and Google Hangout to support interaction.

Employ tools for sharing documents, such as Google docs where more than one person can work on a document remotely, with changes made by any one person displayed in real time.

There is plenty of technology to help you manage remoter workers, but don’t lose sight of more human skills. Technology can enhance management techniques; it cannot replace them.

 

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Tags: Business, Workforce Transformation