5 Helpful Ideas For Managing Telecommuters

  • Provide Helpful Resources
  • Leverage Technology
  • Focus On Communication
  • Check In Regularly
  • Treat Them Like Employees

As more and more companies begin outsourcing, allowing employees to telecommute some of the time, or hiring full-time remote workers, managers need to understand the needs of the average telecommuter. Although many aspects of employee management remain the same, there are some unique challenges to managing remote workers. These five tips can help managers adjust to managing this different kind of employee.

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1. Provide Helpful Resources

Telecommuters have a lot of freedom but it comes with drawbacks. For example, distractions can seriously impact productivity. Especially for telecommuters who are not used to working from home, it can be a good gesture to offer resources on how to work from home effectively. Solid ideas include information on how to set up home office spaces, how to establish working hours, and how to set boundaries with any family members who may be present in the home.

2. Leverage Technology

Technological advancements are what make telecommuting possible in the first place. Tech is therefore one of the most important aspects to focus on for managers working with remote workers. It’s also important to ensure telecommuters have the right technology, including devices, programs, and network connections, that allow them to work seamlessly with other remote workers and the main office. Providing ways for telecommuters to troubleshoot any technological issues they are having is also an important role for management.

3. Focus On Communication

Effective communication is essential when working with a team of employees who are not physically present in the same location. Because of this, communication should be the primary focus for a manager of a remote team. Much of this communication will be tech-focused, making it important to find hardware, software, and networking solutions that work best for their organizations. Team-based messaging apps, such as Slack, as well as cloud-based software can be a good idea to implement into regular business operations.

4. Check In Regularly

While it’s important not to be overbearing, it’s also important to check in on a telecommuter from time to time. These check-ins are an opportunity to see if remote employees have any questions, are doing well and are following the necessary procedures correctly. Regularly-scheduled face-to-face meetings (whether digitally or in person) are a good way to bring the team together occasionally and ensure everyone remains on the same page. As outlined by Forbes, this interaction keeps telecommuters engaged and contributing fresh ideas to the organization and any projects they are working on.

5. Treat Them Like Employees

For employees who work remotely all of the time, it can be easy to excuse not treating them the same way as on-site employees are treated. This is a major mistake, however, because telecommuters are just as much an organization’s employees as employees who come to work in the main office every day. They want to be appreciated and contribute to the success of the organization. Managers of remote employees should take steps to show appreciation for the achievements of telecommuting employees, involve them in decision-making, and simply treat them like the individual people that they are. Doing this improves employee retention, prevents costly turnover, and breeds strong loyalty that results in productive, hard-working employees who are willing to go the extra mile.

More managers will find themselves responsible for remote employees at least some of the time in the coming years. These five tips should help any supervisor have a better relationship with a telecommuter they manage.