More than ever, it's common for workforces to be distributed across many locations. Remote offices across the country are the norm, and having ancillary offices in another country is nothing unusual. Even employees in the same office as you are likely telecommuting at least a couple days a month.
Managing employees in the same building is never simple, but managing this distributed workforce can be a nightmare. Luckily, it isn't quite as tricky as it seems. Following these best practices, can help your remote employees be just as productive as anybody else:
Invest in the Right Technology
Giving all your workforce the right technology is a must, and should help them be in constant communication as easily as if they were at their desks. Think beyond e-mail. True interaction with mobile workers comes from real-time communications and collaboration capabilities. Fortunately, businesses of all sizes can access great tools at without breaking the bank.
If you have a distributed workforce you should empower your organization with:
1.Video conferencing, instant messaging and of course, a good phone system.
2.Collaboration tools like Office 365 that allow teams to work on documents at the same time and share them with anybody from around the world.
3.Dedicated (and centralized) file storage to upload and access vital documents at any time.
Put Extra Effort into Team-Building
A workforce that doesn't interact with each other face-to-face every day can quickly become alienated. As a leader, it's your job to make sure that this doesn't happen. Make sure that your remote workers are treated exactly the same as the ones in your office. Go out of your way to include remote workers into the culture of your office.
Make sure to encourage your managers to build a rapport with their remote workers. Have them engage in small talk and set time aside in every meeting and conference call just to catch-up with them. Familiarity goes a long way to building camaraderie and feeling like part of a true team.
Encourage CollaborationIt's easy for remote workforces to put their heads down, get their work done, and forget about the overall goal. Even remote offices can have a hard time working together towards a unified goal. It's important to make sure your distributed workforce works together as often as possible. Not only does it improve efficiency and productivity, it also brings your mobile workforce together.
Set Specific Expectations
Remote workers can be just as productive as any other worker, and they need to be accountable for that. Make sure that you set clear expectations on productivity, schedule, and anything else that's vital to the success of your business.
Proper guidance and constant feedback are the keys to keeping a mobile workforce accountable. Tracking tools are a great way to make sure everybody is doing what they need to, but your team will have to take it a step further in order to be truly successful. Your managers need to have a clear vision for every employee, with specific projects, deliverables, and metrics. Make sure they're constantly providing feedback, both positive and negative. It helps build a relationship and sets clear expectations at the same time.
Envision Consulting LLC is an IT management and consulting firm located in Old-Town Alexandria. Our mission is to create value for small/mid-sized businesses through modern technology solutions that align with their strategic goals, keep the business running and support all functions of the organization. Our services include: Top level IT management & 24/7 support; technical and strategic consulting; cloud computing solutions; IT security services; VOIP/teleconferencing