Author: David Buist
August 31, 2018
The rise of the mobile workforce will come as no surprise to many of us. For years, office-based workers have been swapping their desks for more comfortable, accessible and often more productive; environments. Is it going to suddenly go back to the way it was before? Probably not!
So how can you best manage your team when they’re not in the same room?
Fortunately, because mobile working isn’t new, technology has caught up and supports remote working better than ever. Of course, finding your own path to successful leadership will largely depend on your own personal style, experience, corporate culture and individual team members, but if you’re not sure where to start, which techniques or technologies to use, then these tips could help.
Each of your workers will have their own individual style of working, and may well be different to your own. Rather than forcing them to work in a certain way – which may actually hinder their productivity – focus on the quality of their work, whether deadlines are being met and whether they show good decision-making skills, etc.
When you have team members working remotely, it’s vital you provide them with everything they need to work efficiently. This may include laptops, mobile phones and specific software, etc. You’ll need to make sure that any devices they use are secure, have appropriate access and are password protected. Microsoft Office 365 offers a great way for your workers to access many of the applications they’re used to such as Outlook, Word and Excel, wherever they are in the world.
Many remote workers will, at some point, feel isolated. It’s important to encourage your workers to still work as a team, regardless of where they’re located. Microsoft Office 365 provides some fantastic apps such as SharePoint, OneDrive and Microsoft Teams that can all help your people work together while supporting productivity.
Because you can’t pop over to someone’s desk or grab a cup of coffee in the break room, as a leader you’ll need to take the initiative to establish relationships with your teams. Regular status calls can enable you to discuss and share upcoming projects, news and performance issues, etc. Instant messaging via Skype for Business, video meetings or email conversations can also help you keep in touch.
Remote workers can sometimes feel disconnected. Share the company’s vision and how their role fits into its mission. This can inspire remote teams to work toward a common goal and feel like their part of something important. An engaging intranet can offer a great ways for leaders to communicate with their teams (and the wider company), share company news and updates, financial results and ‘publically’ recognise individual employees.
Offsite workers can sometimes be overlooked when it comes to training, praise or social events and does absolutely nothing for loyalty and morale. You’ll need to try to ensure they have the same opportunities as onsite workers and receive the same, prompt praise for a job well done. If they can’t make social events then perhaps think of other was you could reward them with something that they will appreciate. Even small gestures can go a long way to making them feel appreciated.
As with most things in life, leading by example is an absolute must. By taking a transparent and proactive approach to work, being available and approachable to your team and by communicating regularly and clearly, they’ll see that you can not only be relied on, but also trusted.
For advice on how you can utilise technology to support your remote workers, give us a call on 01284 700015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.