Has your organization hired any remote employees lately? If not, you may find yourself moving in that direction soon. According to research, 37 percent of all U.S. workers say they have worked remotely (or telecommuted) at least once in their professional careers. Indeed, the trend of telecommuting has been steadily growing over the past decade and has nearly quadrupled since 1995. As the number of remote employees continues to grow, companies and organizations face a new challenge of managing this new kind of workforce.
When it comes to effective management, traditionally, companies used techniques and tactics that rely on people working together under one roof. However, with the remote workforce steadily increasing, modern organizations will need to learn new ways of effectively managing employees at a distance.
Without the ability to see employees at their desks throughout the workweek, managers will need to focus more on building trust and providing greater clarity in terms of goals and performance expectations. Rather than focusing on the hours employees spend at the office, many companies have already transitioned to objective-based management styles.
But what if your organization has both remote and in-office team members? In this case, it is important to ensure that both in-office and at-home workers are treated equally. Both types of employees should be allowed the same level of authority and responsibility, and both should participate in regular meetings, performance reviews and be commended for achieving or exceeding objectives.
To be successful in this changing work environment, managers must know how to effectively use a variety of virtual collaboration platforms, including IM, web conferencing and other similar software.
In return, organizations that learn how to manage their remote workforce can enjoy a number of benefits, including significantly increased employee retention and satisfaction, a wider human resources pool (since commute becomes irrelevant) and greater operational flexibility.
The number of people working from home on a regular basis has more than doubled since 2005 and is expected to grow even more in the coming years. So, whether or not your organization already has remote employees, it is important to start acquiring remote management skills today. With half of U.S. workers holding remote-compatible jobs, chances are, someone on your team will be working from home in the near future.
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