Four Tips for Managing Remote Workers

remote workerThe greatest challenge in managing a remote work force is communicating with those off-site workers according to a new Robert Half Technology survey, which asked more than 2,300 chief information officers (CIOs) about the difficulties they face in managing a worker they cannot see face to face.

Thirty percent listed communications the top challenge, followed by productivity and technology challenges at 22% each.

“As remote work arrangements become increasingly popular, managers are often concerned that camaraderie and collaboration could suffer due to lack of regular, in-person interaction,” John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology, said in news release.  “Even executives in a technology-forward department like IT can feel disconnected from remote teams because of limited face time with staff and lack of visibility into how work is being accomplished.”

The company offered four tips for managing remote workers:

  1. Outline expectations:  Let remote employees know how often you’d like them to check in, and whether that should be by phone or email.  Set clear goals and benchmarks to help those workers stay on task.
  2. Leverage technology tools:  Make sure remote employees have access to the right communication, such as teleconferencing or online meeting tools.  Confirm that all team members can stay in touch and access information quickly through file-sharing.
  3. Create opportunities for face time:  Help remote workers stay connected by requesting that they work on-site when possible, such as attendance for important meetings.  Also, “virtual face time” can be achieved through video conferencing.  This interaction, if a face-to-face e meeting cannot be arranged, is often better that phone or email exchanges.
  4. Check in with remote employees regularly:  What remote work arrangements offer in terms of flexibility they also can take away in terms of balancing work and personal time.  Encourage employees to unplug, which can aid productivity overall.