In today’s modern business world, the workforce extends well beyond the office walls. In particular with specialized areas such as consultation, web development, customer service and marketing, thousands of jobs are being completed by virtual employees. Just in America, there are more than 44 million professionals working off-site (International Association of Telework and Consulting, 2004).
For companies of all shapes and sizes, a virtual workforce has become an essential and efficient part of the companies. In order to overcome geographical challenges, these four stages are essential to the management of remote workers.
Clearly define your expectations
As soon as you start teleworking arrangements with any employee, make sure to communicate the work settings. You may want to define assignment deadlines or require teleworkers to work a defined number of hours per week. How fast do you expect off-site members to respond to requests? Do they need to be available for specific hours by e-mail, IM or phone? You may want to put these expectations in writing, so you and your employee can refer to it in the future.
Define small goals in a large project
Trust is a key ingredient between the HR manager and the off-site employee. In addition to relaying expectations to handle teleworkers, you may want to define small frequent goals to keep them on track. This is essential for projects that extend over months, especially when a customer requires deadlines and final results. There are also online systems available to help remote workers post work newspapers and share documents, which could help you assess their progress on a project.
Make the effort to touch the base regularly
Often, projects may miss the mark due to a lack of regular communication. While you do not want micromanage, you must keep a solid connection with the teleworker. Also make sure to keep the employees off site in contact with the entire team, so that everyone is on the same page. When planning team meetings, you can ask workers away from calling on the discussion. In this way, all questions can be addressed and the entire group can collaborate better.
Use technology to your advantage
You can use many low-cost tools to connect remote workers with the rest of society. For example, you can use an email, instant messaging, and similar communication tools to keep in touch frequently. For meetings, you can enjoy telephone, web or video teleconferencing systems. As mentioned earlier, you should consider using an online system to share files, work logs, and other important data with remote employees.
The age of information allows companies to accomplish even more. With these crucial management skills, you can make sure to make the most of the management of distant workers. By understanding the essential steps in the management of teleworkers, you can quickly develop the company in more ways than before.
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