4 Secrets to Successful Virtual Management
Having some of your employees work from home or another remote location has many advantages in terms of flexibility and savings; however, to make the best use of this practice you need to be aware that it requires a whole new leadership style to achieve effective virtual management. The remote worker has a lot more distractions than an employee sitting at a desk in an office. While it’s true that two of the biggest productivity killers in an ordinary workplace are the poorly managed meetings and inevitable cubicle sidebar conversations between employees, nonetheless, having all your workers in one place at one time ensures accountability for getting the job done.
Establish Rules That Must Be Followed
A virtual employee needs to be disciplined and self-motivated to achieve the same degree of accomplishment as someone who spends every day in the office. To assist with virtual management, you should set some specific ground rules that your remote employees must follow. First, expect them to have some space set aside, probably in their home, that is dedicated to work. Your workers should have set working hours in which they must be reachable by phone or email. It’s always a good idea to include the rules for your absentee workers in your employee handbook, so that virtual management has some codification that everyone can access and review.
Out of Sight Should Not Be Out of Mind
Top down leadership methods do not work when your interactions with remote workers are inevitably one on one, so you need to relax and adapt to a more informal means of exchange. Interpersonal relationships are a key element in the success of any workplace, so regardless of the fact that some of your employees are not in the office, you need to give them some ïface time.ï If these workers are local, have them come to headquarters occasionally for meetings or informal gatherings like office parties. If they live out of the area altogether, conduct meetings via webcam. Don’t forget that up to 80 percent of all communication is non-verbal, so if you don’t reach out to your virtual employees with webcam and phone calls, you will miss much of the information they are trying to convey via email or other written correspondence. Remember, the whole point of the evolution of emoticons was to help include the context of mood and tone into electronic messages, since people have such a difficult time interpreting communication correctly without these interpersonal cues. Virtual management is not just a matter of getting products and reports delivered, it’s about maintaining work relationships.
Keeping Track of What You Don’t Oversee
The next challenge for virtual management is recordkeeping and accountability. Obviously a supervisor cannot casually pass by the cubicles to see if the workers are just surfing the internet or actively engaged, when they work outside of the office. While the majority of workers are happier and more productive if they are not micro-managed, you still need to track time use and completion of tasks to know whether your workers are meeting your requirements. You can use any of a variety of production management tools to do this, and many applications even have free versions you can use if your company is small and you don’t need a lot of complexity. This technology allows workers to swap files and documents, input hours and record specific tasks accomplished.
Keep Everyone Included in Company Culture
Team-building is largely a face to face activity, and you need to incorporate this into the lives of your virtual employees. Consider having all your employees meet at least once a year for a corporate retreat or training series, so that everyone can interact informally and learn more about each other’s habits and points of view. This helps managers learn about how to better motivate remote workers, and employees feel a stronger bond to the company. Without this aspect of virtual management, many people lose an emotional connection with their employer, and are more likely to slack in quality of work or start to look elsewhere for more engaging job opportunities.
New technology is making the everywhere worker a more common phenomenon, and the practice has many economic advantages, especially for small business. Now is a great time to start learning the tips to succeed using this unique employment style, before the trend becomes a necessity and not just a convenience. Visit Mighty Recruiter to discover more tools and resources for growing your business using an out of office workforce.