Managing remote employees

* The key to success in managing remote employees

Telework is on the rise, and why not? The technology is there and many companies - and managers - are coming around the fact that it can be a key retention tool as well as a way to increase employee productivity. Yet when many managers send employees home to work they’re left with a “Now what?” feeling. Their employee is now longer within eyesight or earshot, and a single question is lingering in the back of the manager’s head: “How do I know the person is working?”

Merrily Orsini, a remote management expert and president of My Virtual Corporation, says there’s one thing you need to look for with a remote employee - results.

“I don’t think you manage remote employees the way you do in a traditional management setting,” she says. “What you look for in a remote employees are results. The only thing you have when you have an employee that is remote is a deliverable. Either you get it or you don’t. Results are what you’re looking for, you’re not managing how they get to that end result.”

For the smoothest transition, Orsini suggests setting up a trial period for a prospective teleworker. “You have to be really clear up front,” she says.

Part of setting up a new telework is planning and strategy, she adds. You and the employee should have agreed-upon and well-defined outcomes for the results you want. That way if trouble arises, the employee cannot say he or she was unaware of the expectations, timelines or desired results.

“Trust is a huge factor because you are trusting this person is doing whatever they’re supposed to get done,” she says. “But if you don’t have everything up front well-defined, and clear it is hard to know they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing.”

Next week Orsini will enlighten us as to the qualities to look for successful remote employees.

And, on a completely different note, I urge any readers with access to BBC America to check out the  comedy show, The Office. This is old news to our U.K. readers, but for those of us across the pond, this look at everyday office life and hysterically bad management is time well spent. For more about the show, see the editorial links below.

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SMB Networks

The source for small business networks, telework and home networking.

My Virtual Corp

The Office

BBC America

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