One of the biggest struggles in successfully managing remote employees is making sure out of sight doesn't mean out of mind, new research shows.
Nearly one-third of chief information officers (CIOs) said not having enough face time is their greatest challenge in managing a remote workforce, according to a study by Robert Half Technology. Other difficulties executives face in overseeing teleworkers include having a lack of insight into how much work their employees are actually accomplishing and ensuring their remote staff has access to all of the information they need.
"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," said John Reed, senior executive director at Robert Half Technology.
Robert Half Technology offers executives four tips for managing remote teams effectively:
Tell remote employees how often you'd like them to check in by phone or email. Let them know you expect them to be reachable during office hours. Also, set clear goals and benchmarks to help mobile workers stay on track with objectives.
Leverage technology tools
Make sure remote employees have access to the right communication tools. Teleconferencing, online-meeting and file-sharing services foster collaboration among remote teams. Confirm that everyone can stay in touch easily and access the information they need quickly and securely.
Create opportunities for face time
To help remote workers stay connected, request that they work on-site a few times a month, if possible. Encourage them to attend important events and meetings in person, as appropriate. Also, use videoconferencing tools to promote virtual face-to-face interaction with off-site staff.
Check in with remote employees regularly
Remote work arrangements afford flexibility but can blur the lines between work and personal life. Some employees who work from home have trouble "unplugging." Encourage them to create balance, which ultimately aids productivity in the long term.
The study was based on surveys of 2,300 CIOs from a random sample of U.S. companies in 23 major metro areas with 100 or more employees.
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